Clicky

Search:

Friend Compounding

December 2, 2016 by  
Filed under blog

 

This week, I would like to put forth a few more thoughts on the subject of friends, that all important part of our lives that I focused on in last week’s blog. Good friends really are golden and that hit me hard when I had such a super enthusiastic response from so many of my friends on that post. It got me to thinking about how much of our lives revolve around our friends.

We love our old friends and it is so fulfilling to share our lives with them. And new friends can enhance it even more and lead you to new and exciting avenues and experiences in your life. Sometimes, however, it’s kind of awkward and difficult to approach new people, especially if you are a bit shy.

If you want an easy way to meet and make new friends you might want to try this simple method. Let’s call it “Easy Friend Networking” or “Friend Compounding”. All you need to do is plan a simple party for your friends. Then ask those friends if they could please reach out and bring, say, 2 of their best friends with them to the party or maybe even have then bring 4 or 5 of their friends. This is somewhat like the concept that made 32-year-old Mark Zuckerberg a multi billionaire—he introduced the world to friend networking through Facebook. Both ideas are similar to compounding your money only it’s a compounding of friends. Of course, the real compounding would be if the friend of the friend was to invite his or her friends.

If you invited just 10 friends to your party and they followed through by bringing an average of 4 of their friends then you would meet 40 new people in one evening. You could then decide which ones you want to get to know better and to truly become your friend. I must say that I think Facebook is great but this face to face stuff is even better.

I have a good friend, who just so happens to be my wife, share with me a great quote from the magazine, Women’s World, about the value of friends. It said, “If it’s been awhile since you’ve spent time with friends, send out an invitation to get together now. Not only will reconnecting with pals lift your spirits, it’ll raise your odds of living a long, healthy life an astounding 50%.” That statistic comes from research at both the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Brigham Young University. The article goes on to say the reason it extends your life is that it reduces stress during tough times and gives more meaning to your life plus it raises your self-esteem. And I would add that having more and closer friends can add so much fun and excitement to your life as well!

Since 2017 is right around the corner, it’s probably a good time to start thinking about what we intend to accomplish and experience in the coming year, whether it is to grow our circle of good friends, increase our health, or create more wealth. In the next couple of weeks, I want to put forth some ideas of just how to set those resolutions and the different categories which would be wise to concentrate on. I’ll also talk about how to motivate yourself to follow through and get the job done. In the meantime, enjoy your friends and compound them by planning a get together or two. It is the perfect time of year to do that since saying it is for the holidays is the only explanation you need.

Money Can’t Buy Happiness—or Can it?

November 28, 2015 by  
Filed under blog

We’ve all heard the old saying “money can’t buy happiness”, but like many enduring myths, this one is proving not to be true.  Harvard business professor Michael Norton says that money can and does, in fact, buy happiness in many cases.  And quite frankly my personal experience has proved his point over and over again. But really, it’s what you spend the money on that determines if that money actually brings you happiness.

As we’ve just finished the giving of ‘thanks’ on Thanksgiving Day and as we approach Christmas time and the possible gifts we can pass on to others, it’s a good idea to really think through what possible gifts would bring the most lasting happiness and satisfaction. I don’t think giving just ‘stuff’ is the answer as I think professor Norton proves.

Many years ago, I figured this ‘money myth’ really was just that—a myth. I learned it during those years when my family traveled the world. We went everywhere in Europe and had some very interesting and thrilling drives in the family station wagon through the middle eastern countries of Turkey, Syria, Jordon, Lebanon and Egypt. Later in life I even did a ’round the world’ trip. I have often found myself thinking over the grand memories of these wonderful excursions and when I compared the money spent on travel with money spent on a big screen TV or a new fancy car, the experience of the travel won every time.

Discovering that money really can buy happiness was a huge wake up call for me and motivated me in my younger years to figure out the secrets of making millions so I could really lift my happiness level and keep it up there at a high level most of the time.

When it comes to bringing lasting happiness, Professor Norton’s studies show that experience trumps the acquisition of ‘stuff’ almost all the time. That includes all kinds travel and vacations as well as a trip to the beach, mountains or an amusement park with a ride on the roller coaster.

Think about your own life and experiences.  If you are like me, you get tons of pleasure for several days even before you go on your exotic trip simply by thinking about the great things you may encounter and experience. Then you get more happiness and fulfillment during the trip or vacation.  As an extra bonus after you return home, you often live and relive that trip over and over again, sometimes for many, many years after. Compare that with how you think about the ‘stuff’ you have.  The newness of things quickly wears out and doesn’t thrill you much after a short while.

So again, think about the gifts that you may give this Christmas and maybe throw in a plane ticket or two for you kids or grandkids to some place they’ve never been. And yes, keep on earning and investing wisely to build your estate, without guilt, and give others experience rather than just stuff.

The Difference Between Pleasure and Happiness

February 18, 2011 by  
Filed under blog

If what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says in “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” is true, the key to happiness is being involved in every detail of our lives and taking action with intention. It all comes down to our focus, both in being mindful of what we do as well as keeping our attention on the condition of our life. This is never easy. As mentioned last week, we have built-in desires and tendencies that disrupt our focus and distract us from our intended actions.

Personally I think a huge part of this is that we mistake pleasure for happiness. Things that are pleasurable, that fulfill our immediate desires, do not necessarily bring happiness as they are really two different things.

Consider what you think of as ‘pleasurable’–food, relaxation, physical contact with others, etc.–then think about the things that actually make you happy and feel fulfilled–recognition for your hard work, winning a competition, learning something new, etc. An action can feel pleasurable, enough to continue doing it, but you may not enjoy it in the end (heavy drugs or alcohol use quite often result in this seemingly contradictive state). Yet you can do things that are painful but give you great contentment, like pushing yourself to finish a marathon or living frugally because you put all your money into your new business. What makes you happy, and breeds contentment, are those things that challenge you and add complexity to your life, not the sensations of a momentary pleasure.

If you understand this and can recognize the difference, the battle over “self” that I talked about last week will be much easier. If you let your mind be constantly diverted from your plans and intentions by activities that are fleetingly pleasurable such as excessive eating, television, recreational drug use, drinking too much alcohol, etc. you will not enjoy your life. They just can’t provide you with the lasting contentment that comes from facing difficult challenges and accomplishing long term plans.

Pleasurable, healthy diversions do not have to be a disruption. If you plan for them they can become part of the order and progress that your happiness is built on. That is how you achieve focus and flow, with intentions fulfilled and distractions under control. The key here is recognizing what is a distraction and what will, in the end, provide you with the happiness and contentment you are after.