Would you rather be rich or happy?

11 10 2011

Here is an interesting article on the relationship between wealth and happiness, by the Happiness Institute (you can read more of their articles on www.thehappinessinstitute.com). It is written by Dr. Timothy Sharp, who is certainly well-qualified to write about such a subject: he has three degrees in psychology (including a Ph.D.) and an impressive record as an academic, clinician and coach.  He set up one of Sydney’s largest clinical psychology practices (www.makingchanges.com.au), a highly regarded Executive Coaching practice (www.positiveld.com), and is the founder of Australia’s first organisation devoted solely to enhancing happiness in individuals, families and organisations. Have a read, and let it make you think!

–          Quinton

 

Would you rather be rich or happy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Money and wealth or happiness and health? Do you really need to choose? Are they dichotomous or mutually exclusive constructs? I’ve written before and I’m sure I’ll write again about the relationship between money and happiness. Why? Because people keep asking me about it and there are still many myths and misconceptions out there on this topic that are crying out to be busted!

Today, however, I want to focus on just one aspect of this interesting (and necessary) debate…and that’s the ridiculous and false dichotomy that’s often created or assumed within this discussion. To what am I referring? Well, the belief that seems to be held by some that this is an “either – or” decision…that is, I need to choose either money OR happiness!

But even just a few minutes thought should allow anyone to realise this is not a real issue; it’s a false choice and an unhelpful, even absurd question. Because the reality is we can have both, or neither, or a bit of each…

You see money and happiness are barely related. They are related for those at the very lowest end of the socio-economic spectrum. That is, for those struggling to pay their bills and/or put food on the table, for those (for want of a better phrase) who’re below the “poverty” line, then more money will ease their stress and worries and allow for more happiness.

Above and beyond this, however, the relationship becomes minimal. It is there; there is some relationship; and that is that more money doesn’t hurt and may even allow for access to opportunities and health care and education and more, all of which can be good for our health and well being. But the “return on investment” gained from pursuing more and more wealth, once we have “enough” is minimal. And yet we know that so much more can be gained if we pursue or seek other variables such as good quality relationships or physical flourishing (just to cite two examples).

But this is not what many who ask the aforementioned question are thinking. What they seem to be thinking is I must make a choice! Well, yes, we all need to make choices in life and many of these choices are fundamentally important for our happiness and health but the choice is not really between being rich OR being happy! We can have both…if we want. But the point I want to try to make here is that chosing happiness is a separate and different choice altogether…it may or may not lead to or be associated with wealth. It will probably have nothing to do with it because financial choices will require completely different decisions.

So let’s not get these two issues confused; they’re both important issues but they’re both separate issues so let’s give them both the respect they deserve without forcing ourselves to miss out on either. What do you think?

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Are YOU a craftsman?

2 12 2010

Here is an excellent article by Josh Kaufman over at The Personal MBA. Joshua’s groundbreaking new book on how to master the art of business (without spending $100k on a formal education) is due for release this month – pre-order it at Amazon.com. Enjoy.

– Quinton

I’ve been thinking a lot about identity recently. Who we think we are, and how we think we fit into the world has a massive impact on how we behave. Clanning and Convergence / Divergence are two of the greatest influences on our behavior, whether we realize it or not.

One of the reasons people perceive credentials as valuable is that they impart a sense of identity: “who I am.” Notice how people who have attended top business schools describe themselves: “I’m a Harvard MBA” or “I’m a Stanford MBA.” It’s not a statement of skill – it’s a statement of identity. Getting the certificate is a confirmation of group identity, which has a powerful influence on behavior. Enroll in business school, and you “become” an MBA.

As it turns out, education is not who we are; it’s what we do in the pursuit of something far more important. It’s a means to an end, not an end itself. It’s not really about what most businesspeople say they want: getting more money, getting promoted, becoming famous, etc. Sure, studying business can lead to these things, but that’s not really why we do it. Our studies are about something deeper: the joy of developing yourself and mastering new skills that you can use to live a productive and satisfying life. Perfecting the art, and improving the quality of your life as you pursue it, in an end in itself. In short, we’re craftsmen.

Our crafts may be very different – programming, engineering, design, marketing, sales, financial analysis, systems design, writing, manufacture, or teaching. Even so, we’re all on the same path: doing everything we can to perfect our craft, using every tool at our disposal. We are craftsmen.

I put together a statement of my personal philosophy, to better define for myself what I’m after. It ended up being a very clear statement of what craftsmanship is all about, so I’d like to share it with you:

The Craftsman’s Creed 

I am a craftsman. I am dedicated to perfecting the art and science of my craft, which I have chosen freely.

I am constantly, relentlessly searching for ways to improve my craft. I am dedicated to learning from the masters who have preceded me in every way I am able.

I create valuable things that other people want or need. I generously offer my work as a gift when it is wise, but my purpose is to help those who value my work enough to pay for what I have to offer. No one has an unlimited claim on my craft, knowledge, or the fruits of my effort. I work for people who value and support me.

I honestly promote what I have to offer, consistently and to the limit of my capabilities. I make no apologies for promoting my craft. I am proud of my work, and it is my duty and responsibility to reach people who may benefit from my craft. I can help them no other way.

I do my best to ensure that every single person who trusts me with their time, attention, or money is happy with their investment. If they are not, I will do whatever is in my power to do right by them without delay.

Skills are a craftsman’s credentials. I care more about a person’s character, what they know, and what they can do than where they grew up, where they went to school, or how many letters they have after their name. I choose to work with other craftsmen: people who are skilled, not simply schooled.

I respect other craftsmen, and I generously assist them however I’m able. I have no respect for the fool who searches for a way to enjoy the fruits of labor without effort, or the scoundrel who seeks to enrich himself by deluding others. Value, not wealth or fame, is the true measure of every craftsman.

I take good care of myself. My mind and body are the tools I use to advance my craft, so I take care of them. Rest and recovery are essential to my life: a worn-down tool is of no use at all.

I never stop pushing my limits. I am constantly testing and experimenting with new ways to expand my capabilities. It is my way of life.

I refuse to waste precious time and energy on trivial matters, trivial problems, and trivial people. I choose to focus only on the most important of demands: those that help me advance my craft or take care of the people who depend on me.

The world is an uncertain place, which I can not fully predict or control. Regardless, I will do everything in my power to prepare for every challenge and weather every storm. Nothing in this world is powerful enough to stop me from continuing to practice my craft.

Anything that I can do to improve my craft, I will do. This will keep me busy until the end of my days: a challenge I gladly accept. I am a craftsman, and always shall be.


Are you a Craftsman? If you’re not – if your goal is to amass some type of hedonistic pleasure using every shortcut available to you, you won’t find what you seek.





SUCCESS – A Simple Life Well Lived

30 09 2010

The businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while.

The businessman then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The businessman then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time? The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos; I have a full and busy life, señor.”

The businessman scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats; eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor and eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?” To which the businessman replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then, señor?” The businessman laughed and said, “That’s the best part! When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.” “Millions, señor? Then what?” The businessman said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “Isn’t that what I’m doing right now?”

-Author Unknown





A short film: Mankind Is No Island

22 02 2010

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrDxe9gK8Gk





A Father’s Thoughts

9 02 2010

From the book The Druid Of Shannara By Terry Brooks

The daylight faded into darkness

and still he sat, waiting patiently for her to wake.

He studied the line of her body as she lay sleeping,

the curve of her hip and shoulder,

the soft rounding of her back.

She was such a tiny thing,

just a little bit of flesh and bone beneath the coverings,

the smallest spark of life.

He marveled at the texture of her skin,

at the coloring,

the absence of flaws.

She might have been molded by some great artist

whose reflection and skill

had created a once-and-only masterpiece…..





Do you believe in miracles?

18 01 2010

There are only two ways to live your life.

1. As though nothing is a miracle.

2. As if everything is a miracle.

– Albert Einstein





Are you busy?

21 12 2009

“Are you busy?” This is the standard work question I hear people asking one another. Or, to reverse it, the standard work answer to the question “How’s it going?” is “Busy”.

But it’s not enough to be busy. So are ants, bees, and snails. The important questions are: What are you busy about? Who are you busy being?

– Richard Sauerman