Once upon a time, I was a kid fresh out of school looking for a job. I was interviewing for internships when the owner of a boutique ad agency asked me what I wanted to be in five years and, apparently, I said “happy”. And he told me years later that this was ultimately the answer that encouraged him to take me on as a summer intern.
Happiness was clearly very important to my first real boss as years later he wrote a book called “Why Being Happy Matters”. In a nutshell, this book is a collection of interviews of people that manage to sustain a happy life despite the inevitable curve balls life throws at them.
I’ve often passively reflected on the concept of happiness and what it means. And reading this book, it really helped me articulate a concept about what I believe might be the “key” to happiness.
I believe the way that everyone and anyone can be happy is to define their “just enough”. By knowing what you want and need out of life will help carve out a clear path on how an individual can attain and sustain their own happiness. And to be clear: each person’s “just enough” is different. There’s no rule for what “just enough” is. It’s all dependent on what, as an individual, you want out of life.
They say that money can’t buy happiness and that’s true – but I think defining personally how much money is needed in one’s life to mitigate stress and ensure both needs and wants are met is a key differentiator because it not only creates a goal that needs a plan to attain it but it also ensures there is an end game.
It’s important to know that defining your “just enough” will not only be unique to each person but also that your “just enough” will change over time. My “just enough” was vastly different when I was fresh out of school then it is today. And it has changed several times over the course of my career and personal life. And it will likely keep changing. This isn’t because I got greedy or bored. This is because my needs changed when I decided new life decisions like: buying my first car, moving out on my own, getting married, buying our first house, buying our second house, and the list goes on. And likely – my needs and wants will change during other life changes and adventures.
And that means a new plan. And accomplishing new goals. I truly believe that defining your “just enough” isn’t about being complacent. In fact, I think it’s the inverse. I think adapting your life plan to constantly achieve your evolving “just enough” keeps you nimble yet ambitious, strong yet always striving, calm while being courageous to push yourself to achieve new goals. And being happy benefits everything around you: family, friends, business and work. We constantly build plans to build business and execute strategies. Why wouldn’t we do that for our own life?
This idea might not be the key to happiness for you or for anyone. But it is a guiding principle through which I’ve carved out my life. And I like my life. A lot. So, if it helps others figure out a plan to make their happiness a real priority then that makes me happy, too.