Choosing Happiness Is More Powerful Than Financial Freedom
- Learn how to experience greater happiness in your life – immediately.
- Discover how happiness and financial freedom are tied together.
- How I put this idea into action after my car got smashed.
Today I'm deviating from the usual finance and investment expert stuff.
I've been experimenting in my own life with a simple, little idea that’s producing tremendous results, and I wanted to share it with you.
Let me illustrate the idea by sharing what happened the other night…
I was out for a “date night” with my 9 year old daughter having a great time. It was her classroom open house night where the kids show the parents all the work they’re doing and the cool stuff they’re learning.
We like to turn it into something more special by going out for dinner beforehand, making it a whole evening out on the town together.
So just imagine this. We’re enjoying a special evening together when this guy backs his SUV right into the front of my parked car while talking on his cell phone.
Because his bumper was higher than mine, he smashed right through the grill and crumpled the hood – serious damage.
My car went from looking perfectly fine to looking like a wreck in the blink of an eye while I sat there helplessly watching the whole thing unfold. It was a bizarre experience.
The offending driver hung up his phone, climbed out of his car, and immediately owned responsibility for the whole thing.
As it turned out, I even knew him.
He provided his insurance information, and because it occurred on private property, there was no need or practical reason for a police report so we were pretty much done as soon as it started.
The cars were both smashed and fortunately, nobody was hurt.
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At this point I faced a choice: what am I going to do with the rest of my evening?
I could justifiably get angry and go victim to the other driver's carelessness. After all, it was a classic, stupid mistake to talk on the cell phone and not pay attention to driving.
My car was smashed. Now I have the hassle of auto-body estimates and shuttling the car to and from the shop. Not to mention, a repaired vehicle is never as good as the original. I had every reason to justify letting my anger run wild.
But fortunately, I took a different path…
You Can Choose Happiness In Any Situation
I’ve been playing with some ideas about happiness lately – more specifically, one very powerful idea I want to share with you today.
Here it is: you can choose happiness in any situation.
I'm not kidding – read on. This little sentence sounds deceptively simple on the surface, but if you actually live the idea it can produce amazing results. Even in the middle of an auto accident.
Stated another way, your happiness, or lack thereof, is a choice you make every minute of every day in every situation – even the sucky ones.
You can choose happiness in any situation. Try putting it into practice and you might just be amazed.
Getting back to the accident story, I stood there looking at the crumpled nose of my car and thought, “Wow, this should put that happiness #^#@! to the test tonight.”
So the first thing I did was play with some gratitude ideas. I decided I was thankful nobody got hurt. I was thankful the guy had insurance and owned responsibility for the problem, meaning there was nothing to argue about and no blame game to play.
I was thankful the car was still drivable (surprisingly, a frame section had bent but it still protected the radiator) so we could continue our evening.
All these thoughts of gratitude were completely true for me. I wasn't contriving anything.
My happy thoughts were every bit as valid as the automatic-response victim thoughts that played through my head: “Why me?” and, “Why didn't that jerk just look where he was going and pay attention to his driving rather than talk on the cell phone?”
I could have judged him negatively, and I would have been 100% correct.
But here’s the important point: my grateful thoughts made me feel better. My victim thoughts raised my anxiety and anger level.
Which would you prefer?
Each set of thoughts causes different stress levels and hormones to be released. Choosing to be happy lowers my stress and introduces healthy hormones into my blood; choosing auto-pilot anger with victim thoughts increases my stress and unhealthy hormones.
I am literally choosing whether to harm myself or help myself when I choose between being angry or happy. Amazing!
So anyway, back to the crash scene. I'm standing there with my daughter in the middle of our special evening out looking at the crumpled front of my car, and I have a choice to make.
I can either get angry and choose to let this accident destroy our evening, which serves absolutely nobody (least of all my daughter), or I can choose happiness. Again, this is very simple stuff, but it’s remarkably powerful.
I thought about it some more and decided “what's done is done.” There was nothing more I could do with the car that night, so I may as well choose happiness.
I can't fix the car with anger or complaining so I may as well choose to focus my attention on having fun with my daughter – and that’s exactly what we did!
We had a great evening out that was hardly affected by the accident. In fact, the next morning when I loaded the kids into the car to take them to school, she was surprised by the damage and said she had forgotten the whole thing.
I share this not to be holier than thou or to put myself up on a pedestal. Believe me, a year or two ago I probably would have ripped the other driver a new one and destroyed the entire evening over this stupid event.
I would probably have turned the evening into something my daughter never would forget – unfortunately.
Believe me, I am not an inherently advanced soul. I've had to work hard at this stuff.
Instead, I wanted to share with you how this incredibly simple, yet powerful thought process can make a real difference in your life by using my experience as an example.
It’s a surprisingly effective tool for creating greater happiness in your daily life. I can't believe I never learned it before because it’s so obvious once you get it.
You can choose happiness in any situation in life. It doesn't get any simpler than that. Why would you choose anything different?
Your happiness (or lack thereof) is a choice. If you want to be happy (and who wouldn't want that!) then make the happy choice.
I know it sounds cheesy, but really, just try it. It actually works.
In fact, I’ve published a cheat-sheet of ideas I've compiled from the books shown to the left (plus others not listed) that have helped me produce these results so you can do the same.
The Irony Of This Story Is…
Now here’s the really funny part. I had to laugh at myself for just learning this lesson at this point in life after spending two decades dedicated to learning the lessons of financial freedom.
Related: 5 Financial Planning Mistakes That Cost You Big-Time (and what to do instead!) Explained in 5 Free Video Lessons
Think about the irony of this situation… the real goal of financial freedom is greater happiness.
Sure, you can use it to buy conveniences, nice things, interesting experiences, make contributions, etc., etc. I'm not arguing with all that. However, at the end of the day, all these things are really about what makes you happy.
The irony is after two decades of mastering the financial freedom game, I get introduced to this simple little idea that costs nothing, takes no time to learn, and yet probably makes a greater contribution to my personal happiness than all the money combined.
Oh well, better late than never.
Let me be clear – I am in no way knocking financial independence because it’s important and well worth the effort.
The lesson for those on this path, however, is that it makes no sense to focus on money and ignore your happiness along the way.
Instead, you should work on both at the same time because your real goal is happiness, and both are just different tools to reach the same destination.
So anyway, please share below where you could apply these principles in your life. What difference would it make? Why bother? Let me know in the comments section below…
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John DeFlumeri Jr
Thanks for that great suggestion, that we could choose happiness in any situation. It does make it easier to think rationally!
Have a great Thanksgiving!
John DeFlumeri Jr
Thanks for the great reminder Todd, and for the link to “Happiness Is a Choice”. It definitely looks like a book worth reading.