Money & Happiness (Part 1)

The purpose of this article is to clearly define money and happiness in the way that most successful people understand them. I will demonstrate how they are the same and how they are different. But beware, you may have never thought about money and happiness in this way before.

Studies consistently show that low income levels are correlated to high stress levels, but does more money really make you happier?

Too much stress can be a killer. The long-term health effects of stress not handled properly are devastating.

The cool part is that it is true: getting out of that low-income zone makes life less stressful, and improves your life and general sense of well-being.

However, after a certain point of attained affluence, after your basic needs are met and you’re not freaking out every day about where you food and shelter are going to come from tomorrow, studies do show that more money does not necessarily make you more happy.

Personally, I love money. I don’t believe the bullshit that the love of money is the root of all evil. I’m not sure what the root of all evil is, but I’m convinced that money itself is not it. Here’s why:

Money is the result of one person doing something nice for someone else. Money is the certificate saying that John raked Joe’s yard, and it represents the energy that was put in to the work.

Money is energy, once removed. It represents energy. It represents influence and value. John can now trade this certificate of energy with his other neighbor Sally, who makes the tastiest apple pies you’ve ever put in your mouth. John would rather have the apple pie, and Sally would rather have the money, because she wants to trade these certificates (saying she’s done something nice for someone else) for a new red party dress.

More money creates more abundance. When John rakes Joe’s yard, not only does it free up Joe to spend time doing something nice for someone else, something that Joe himself is really good at, but his yard looks nicer, he’s happier, and John is happier, too, because he spent his time in his craft being creative, productive and exercising his mental abilities. Essentially, people are trading their expertise of the expertise of others.

Everybody is doing things they like to do, providing value for everyone else, and abundance is flourishing. People who provide value to others are rewarded for their efforts, people who do not provide value to others are not rewarded. Virtue is rewarded, vice is not. This is what money does when it is traded freely and not corrupted through the use of force. It is awesome.

I’ve never worked for a poor man before. My employers and/or business owners I’ve contracted with have always had plenty of money from the value that they created for others. Because of their situation of having plenty of money, they were willing and able to bring me in to create even more value for their customers, which, of course, results in more money.

The value that you create for others is generally going to be proportionate to the money that you get in return.

Happiness is a lot like money. It’s the result of actions and effort. High levels of happiness, just like high amounts of money, are rarely an accident. Deep fulfillment is usually the result of much effort, mental and physical.

If you just sit around all day or lie on the sofa all day, your body will rot and you will be unhappy. You must get up and move around. For sustained, long-term health, you must exert yourself physically often and consistently. You must balance your nutrition and avoid products that harm you like chemicals, pesticides, artificial sweeteners, etc.

If you aren’t providing value to the people around you, not only will you be broke, but soon you will have no friends (read: lower happiness). People generally flock towards value and flee from neediness. Maybe someone will see your need and try to fill it, however, they will be expecting value in return for that. People want a return on their investment, and if they know they can get a better return somewhere else, they will go there.

There are many forms of value. Maybe you are broke, but you are hilarious and fun and relaxing to hang out with. You will probably still have friends because they enjoy (read: get value from) hearing your jokes and rejuvenating themselves around your calming energy.

Happiness or peace or fulfillment or whatever you want to call that good feeling inside is what happens when you do things that fuel you. Happiness is success. Your version of what makes you successful is different from my version. I like to write blog posts, for example, maybe you like to watch football. And, of course, there are many other things we could name that make us happy.

Again, value can come in many forms.

The point of this first article in this series is incredibly important to understand: Money and Happiness are similar because they are both RESULTS. They are not gained directly, but are secondary products of specific actions. They are both values which are generally measurable in proportion to the value those actions provide.

The biggest difference between money and happiness is this:

Money is an exchangeable value and is NOT an end unto itself. Money REPRESENTS value. Happiness is not exchangeable, and it IS an end unto itself. Happiness is itself valuable.

The Truth About Why People Pretend To Be Socially Awkward

Why do people so often act  socially inhibited and stilted at the beginning of the night in the club?

It’s because they’re afraid of two things: success and failure.

If they allow themselves to feel all of the excitement and/or nervousness that they feel in the moment, they may be ridiculed.

On the other hand, if they allow themselves to feel their own excitement and/or nervousness, they may discover a massive energy that propels them into an ecstatic state. Then what will they do with all this attention? If they attract attention to themselves, they have a bigger risk of looking weird or looking cool.

Looking weird is scary because no one wants to NOT be accepted for who they are. Also, they don’t want to have to put in the energy to change, if they aren’t who they thought they were. They don’t want to let themselves down for not being as cool as their ego wants to think that they are.

Looking cool is scary because then after gaining attention they might lose it all and fail even harder by screwing it up somehow.

Did you know that your brain is thinking all of this and way more every time you go into an unfamiliar social gathering?

It all comes down to responsibility and fear of discovering that we are imperfect.

Most people do not want more responsibility. They are unwilling to take leadership, accepting and owning the consequences of their actions. Small, socially acceptable actions are “safe” because then they can take small responsibility. They don’t have to face possible ridicule or more attention than they’re used to having.

What happens if you start to do what you want though? To really be excited and talk as much as you want and allow your life energy to permeate your being and influence those around you?

Well, first of all, in order to do this, you must be open. You must be honest about the way that you are feeling in general. Whatever your emotions are, you’ve got to stop resisting them and whether or not you like them, you must accept them. Otherwise, people will see right through you.

Most people aren’t skilled enough to lie about their emotions for more than a few seconds. It takes too damn much energy.

What do I mean by this? What does it mean to “lie” about your emotions?

It means that you know you feel a certain way, but you are unwilling to accept that feeling. You do not acknowledge that feeling. You resist it.

However, as the Taoists say, “What you resist, persists.”

Proportionately to how much you are resisting an emotion, you will attract that energy. People hate to be lied to, and people can see right through your bullshit. YOU are the only one who is choosing to accept your own lies.

Other people will rarely accept you when you are lying to them, and only the people who are attempting to believe the same lies as you will be your truest friends. But these relationships are unstable since they are based on lies. Relationships founded on shared TRUTHS will last much longer.

In some rare cases, someone may feel sorry for you and try to help you because they see the truth about you even when you don’t. They believe that you are a good person who is confused. That kind of person is rare and is taking a huge risk to be your friend since most people will push others away when their beliefs are fucked with. It is possible that your belief in your own lies may be so strong that you may end up pushing away the person who is trying to help you.

People of about the same self-esteem level will feel the most comfortable with each other. How honest you are in every area of your life is often a good reflection of your self-esteem.

So what do you do with all this information? Can it even possibly apply to you?

Probably.

Even the most “honest” among us can stand to be more honest about our deepest beliefs, our habits, our loves and hates. Have we ever even taken an explicit look at what those are?

I hope so.

The truth really will set you free.

But first you have to realize that you’re trapped. You have to be humble enough to examine your beliefs and courageous enough to feel your emotions.

When you know who you are, you accept who you are, you take responsibility for who you are, you are assertive about who you are and what you stand for, what you purpose is, and you live with integrity, this is when you are free.

It takes courage to live free.

And all of it takes practice.

So practice!

And enjoy the process. You’re going to be doing this for the rest of your life.

You’ll Never Be Done!

Retirement is a myth. It’s a lie told to you by people who try to appeal to your monkey brain wish that one day you’ll be done.

The truth is, that as long as you are alive, you are not done.

Life takes energy.

Life takes effort.

Life takes MONEY (read energy).

Now you might say, “Come on, Aaron! You know that there is such a thing as retirement! One day, I’m going to retire.”

Well, let me ask you something. Then what? What will you do with your time?

Maybe you’ll even have saved up enough money to be able to live extravagantly well. However, you’re still going to have to brush your teeth if you want to keep them clean. You’ll still have to take out the trash if you want to keep your house smelling good. You’ll still have to work out conflicts and misunderstandings in your relationships if you want to grow in them.

There is no such thing as maintenance. You can not maintain your optimal circumstances at all times.

You’re either growing, or you’re dying.

So accept the fact that you’ll never be done until you die. Start taking even better care of your health, your goals, your relationships, your self… live as if you”ll have something special to give back to people for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

Cuz, son, you ain’t done ’til you die.

Love & Peace,

Aaron

Stop Trying To Make It And Start Having Fun

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A few nights ago out at the club I was talking to these two adorable half filipina girls. We were having a great time joking around, laughing and getting to know each other.

Enter the little ginger.

You could just see it on his face. He was pissed. He wanted to be “the man” in the conversation, and he kept on weirdly trying to tell me, “you’re so cool, man, you’re so cool.” Apparently he had read the book The Game and he was trying to “AMOG” me…

I’ve actually never read The Game, although it’s kind of funny I haven’t after all the other crazy shit I’ve read and done. However, I’m familiar with the lingo and the “techniques” in the book, and it was obvious he was trying to use this one on me in order to look cooler and steal the girls from me.

This may seem far out, so just go with me on this one.

I noticed how ridiculous he was being, and I sincerely tried to be nice to him and his friend. It was just so sad though because you could see how obsessed he was with his goal of looking cool and being “the man” that he couldn’t even see me or the girls as people. We were only objects to him.

He was trying so hard to “make it” that it came off as desperate and weird, and not at all cool!

Anyway, the girls and I just ignored him and continued to have a good time and fun conversation. I wasn’t trying to make it. I was just trying to connect with people and have fun.

It made me think of all the times in life when we can take success too seriously. It’s easy to forget that we’re all going to die soon, and there really is no such thing as security or lasting comfort.

There will never be “no worries for the rest of your days.” Sorry to break it to ya, but Hakuna Mattata is a fucking joke.

Ha ha.

But it’s ok. It’s a funny joke. As long as you get it. And you let go of your attachment, as the Buddhists recommend, to your desire to live forever.

Steve Jobs, in his famous commencement speech at Stanford University said that death is life’s most important gift because it reminds us that our time is limited and it forces us to use it well.

I couldn’t agree more.

Sure, I’m still sad about death. I don’t want to die.

But when we remember that all of it, and I mean ALL of it, is a gift, life becomes full of gratitude, fun, and fulfillment.

So as you are pushing towards your goals, as you’re working out every day, eating healthy foods, sleeping properly, practicing your stupid little drills you might do for whatever craft you’ve chosen, knocking on doors, making phone calls, meeting new people, doing your laundry… as you are putting in all this effort to “make it”…

Remember to have fun.

Because you only live once!

Love,

Aaron

 

Actively Relax!

We all get “days off” here in the United States. However, we never get days off of our LIVES. Once we realize that it is all our LIFE, we start to design all of our activities to make us happier.

I’ve probably said it before: Success is what happens when we do those things which energize us.

Going hiking in a cool place is just one of many different ways to “actively relax.”

Other examples could be yoga, meditation, reading, walking, or even going to a cool concert…

Let’s pay attention to how we relax, and let’s do even that in the best possible way for the best possible life!

Peace and love,

Aaron

P.S. I’ve got a LOT of work to do with the quality of my vlogs, but here’s a start, b/c you gotta start somewhere!

Gratitude

If you’re not doing a daily gratitude practice, where the fuck have you been!?

Aside from the fact that every religion extols the virtues of gratitude, recent studies have shown that a daily gratitude practice even for just 5 minutes can increase your happiness levels 25%.

If you’re eating healthy, working out, associating with positive people who challenge you, getting out of your comfort zone and a million other things all the time, but NOT doing this, you’re missing out!

It’s super simple.

Take 5 minutes and out-loud say what you’re grateful for. I like to mention something from each of the four categories of People, Opportunities, Experiences, and Things (POET). I’m not sure where that’s from, but it’s what I’ve been using for a while.

Or do it with a friend! That’s even better. It’s almost like an instant mood change, and it’s fun.

Remember that getting where you want to go takes energy, and you’re either moving forward or backwards, all the time.

This is one thing that can keep moving you forward.

So on that note, I’m grateful for this awesome platform, my blog here and the internet, as an opportunity to share positivity and inspiration.

What are you grateful for?

The Balance Between Yes and No

It’s tough to find that balance. Balance is where the juice is.

Where do you draw the line between compassion and strict boundaries?

For example, when someone asks you to do something for them, what makes you choose to do the favor or not?

On the one hand, you could decide, “At this time, I’ve got XYZ going on, which is more important than what you’ve asked me to do for you.”

On the other hand, you could decide that the thing that the other person has asked your help for is more important.

Simple, yet this type of scenario comes up for people time and time again. Most people never analyze it. They might say, “Oh, you’re over-thinking it!”

But then these same people who accuse you over over-thinking are often torn between saying yes or no to someone because don’t know what their own boundaries are! They don’t know and it’s going to stress them out to try to come up with their boundaries on the spot, under pressure.

That’s why you take time to figure out your priorities and your values. You list them and write them down. You order them from most important to less important. And you review them often.

Your values and priorities are like rules of the game. The clearer you are on them, the simpler the game will be. You get to use your willpower for other things.

Knowing and understanding your values is also called maturity. Knowing and keeping your boundaries is what I call being “cool.” “Cool people” know their values, their priorities, too, and they aren’t afraid of sticking to them.

So know thyself. Know thy values. Know the game.

Now who’s ready to play?