Happiness & Money: the Chicken & Egg Nemesis of Getting What You Want​

Money doesn’t buy happiness, but happiness is an essential part of being in life if you are going to make money.

Happiness is a state. Making money is a condition in life.

Life is a process of experiences and those experiences are influenced by how we perceive. How we perceive what is happening at any given moment vs what is actually happening.

Our perception is the product of many things and to simplify it for now, two key sources of our perception in life come from internal influences and external influences. You’ll find these referred to in most literature as intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

External influences are other people and the physical things all of which are outside of you and the domain you control. The things that motivate you as you desire them or aspire to them. Money, possessions, social standing, and visible accomplishments are external influences. Leveraging others is an external influence, respectively receiving reinforcement or praise from others.

Internal influences are those ethereal things which inspire us to take action at some level. Avoid getting stuck on the word inspiration here. Inspiration doesn’t need to have as a result some great and immediately visible hugely impactful result. See it as the source that it is. The source within you that is nothing and from which everything is possible.

Internal influences are forces within you like, satisfaction, how interesting is the task, belief in your mission or a mission you are a part of, gratitude, understanding, compassion, enjoyment of peers.

Both internal and external influences serve their purpose. External influences give you the images and experiences that appear to make life happen for your internal influences.

We start out thinking that the external influences are leading. That they create, or create the circumstances for, our desires like health, success, abundance, creativity, confidence, love, self-love et al. Most people start out thinking this way and finish in the same place with the same thinking.

The issue here is that external influences are trailing edge. They are the result of and dependant on the internal, ethereal forces before they are experienced. What I mean by these extrinsic motivators being trailing edge is, in terms of space and time, external influences are delayed. They come to you, sometimes, after many, many years. Sometimes sooner depending on the magnitude of the experience that is the external influence.

Think about this. How much you have makes no difference when what you don’t have amounts to so much more. This will mean different things to different people and different things to the same person at different times. So just try it on and let it sit for a bit before letting that voice in your head react with some default response.

Internal influences are always now. Whenever they are there they are there now. They are the building blocks of the process of experiences that is life. You have internal influences all the time and you can transform them in a moment without effort and at will.

Professionally if what you do is driven primarily by extrinsic motivators, you sure as hell better have some of the intrinsic motivators because if you don’t, you’ll never hang in there long enough ‘make it’, to achieve the external influences you have in your mind that you desire. Personally, same thing.

Enjoyment in what you do is key. You have to be passionate about whatever it is you are doing or getting yourself into if you want to be able to sustain it for whatever length of time your relate to the idea of having it or being it.

There is a an innate connection between internal influences and high performance and a high correlation between high performance and the achieving a very high level of success in the related area of the performance.

I’m not saying don’t focus at all on the external influences. By all means focus but only dabble there and dwell in the internal influences.

In terms of your professional life, whatever business you chose to do, make sure you have enough internal influences that you enjoy the journey as you work toward the destination (the exit). If you don’t you won’t have the staying power to achieve your full potential either personally or professionally in that business.

Another thing will also happen when you have intrinsic motivators. After the exit as you reflect you’ll find you actually enjoy the journey more than the exit itself, no matter what the payout, and you will look forward to the next journey more than the joy you experienced over the exit just passed. This has been my experience and I’ve had five big exits in my life as well as a bunch of smaller ones, in addition to the crash and burn victims of business that we chalk up to research and development in the entrepreneurial space.

It's easier to measure external influences. That’s part of their external nature, they are measurable. You can contrast them against each other. You can hold them up against something else and measure them in some way. Internal influences, only you know. I know whether somebody leads a wealthy lifestyle. We can see it and measure it. Everyone can and everyone will have their own take on what they see and what it means.

Only I know how much I enjoy a task. I can communicate that to someone but they don’t see how much I enjoy it. They only get to experience my outward expression of how much I enjoy it; but the way I express it may not resonate with them in the same way as it has meaning to me.  So only I can answer the question of how much I enjoy something. No one else can tell me the answer to that.

Take ownership of how you be in life. Look inside yourself in both your personal and professional life and let the internal influences drive your thinking and subsequently your actions. Leave the external influences as images of possibilities to be experienced as a result that you give no meaning to and you can detach from as quickly as you have perceived it respectively experienced it.