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Sam Diener

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Money, Happiness, and The Importance of Letting Go

Some Life Lessons

Web 2.0 Magazine on Ulitzer

I learned a very important lesson a few days ago.

I was discussing my new website with Matt Cheuvront, my web designer. He and I were talking through what I wanted my website design to look like and even my personal mission for the site. It was quite important that I figured out where I wanted Stuff For Success to go. For those of you that don’t know, it has become quite large. Despite what my e-mail subscriber count says, the website following has become successful enough that it needs to have a purpose or it WILL fall apart, so thank you all SO much for your support.

Then I came up with the same purpose that is drilled into our heads day after day in our corporate jobs, by the mass media, by society in general. I told Matt, “The purpose of my web site is to make money.”

Now, I want to note that the past seven months since I was let go from Enterprise have been the most successful and happiest seven months of my entire life. As great as these seven months have been though, the most troubling were the few days that followed this meeting I had with Matt.

If you haven’t had a chance to watch the video I posted, “Lemonade,” I hope you will take the time now and go and watch it. It’s a brilliant 30 minute film. If you don’t have the time right now, just know that a hidden message was the importance of finding something that makes you truly happy in your life.

As I mentioned, I thought that all I wanted was money. I figured “If I find a way to make a bunch of it, and the rest of my life will fall into place.” I fought with myself for the past few days about how I could make it happen and the more upset I became. My life was thrown into a tailspin that I haven’t felt since being a part of the rat race. The same bitter emotions that usually accompany working a job one despises began to plague me – and I didn’t even have a job.

Then, I made two very important realizations, and I immediately felt better:

  1. Money and happiness are ever evasive. Try to go after money and it becomes harder to get. Go after happiness and THAT becomes harder to find.

  2. Stop looking for both and they both find you. Do what you love and the money will follow.

There is a corollary which will apply to some of you:

It is possible to go after money if the ACT of going after money makes you happy. Thus, the we have the entrepreneurs and the hustlers. They won’t stop, regardless of how rich they become, because they love the challenge and it makes them happy.

Money and Happiness are fickle just like many other things in life.

My mother says “A watched pot never boils.” If you sit there and wait and watch it on the stove, it seems like it will take forever to come to the boiling point. But if you walk away from it for a few minutes and do something else, you’ll be surprised to come back and find that it’s boiling. Money and happiness are the water in the pot.

The greatest things in life happen to ybig smileou when you aren’t looking for them. These are the things that make you happier. Things like an unexpected call from and old friend or finding a parking meter with an extra hour left over from the last person. In fact there is a website with 1000 of these things: 1000 Awesome Things.

Now many of you will be thinking, “Well, how do I stop looking for happiness or money.” My response is: “let go of things that aren’t making you happy…”

If you have a job that is making you unhappy, no amount of money, whether it’s just enough to pay your bills or millions of dollars a year is going to fix that for you. That isn’t a way to live. And you know it.

Of course this is a tall statement for those of you with families. I certainly am in no position to tell you how to handle your responsibilities. Only you can do that for yourself. I am trying to help you get to the place where you can make your own realizations.

If you have no idea what makes you happy, think about what is NOT doing it for you, and then figure out a creative way to work around it. Sometimes it takes silencing the mind. Learning yoga worked for me…

My job was the factor keeping me from figuring out what made me happy. Once that was gone, I figured out that I loved being creative and developing innovative new ways to develop and market products and services. I have utilized my technical abilities and sales background to become a very influential internet marketer. And I found a love for writing…. sometimes. Because I found happiness in what I was doing, I was able to pick up technical skills that usually take others many years. It took me six months.

As a result of the successes I have enjoyed through what I have been doing, from my website and networking, people have started to contact me to consult for their companies. It’s not enough to be completely sufficient yet, but it’s a start. More importantly though, I am happy and I love what I am doing.

More Stories By Sam Diener

Sam Diener blogs and consults from Philadelphia, PA, US. He started Stuff For Success, The Sam Diener Blog. In five months, his interesting and humorous take on Business and Social Skill Advice has built an audience of nearly 100,000 readers, and has guest blogged for major US sites such as Under30CEO and the Personal Branding Blog. By the way, he knows his web design on his site stinks, he finally hired someone to redo it.

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