Category Archives for "Happiness"
January 29, 2018
Location: sitting at the desk in our villa in Playa Encuentro, Dominican Republic watching the rain over the palm trees
Life has been an absolute dream come true for me over the last few years. Today, I wanted to write about why I believe spending money on experiences makes us happier than buying stuff does.
Why am I writing about this? Well, I often find myself having conversations with people and they tell me they would love to live my life and go do the stuff I have done.
The good news is that now they can. Click here to learn more about turning your “bucket list” into your “liv’d list”.
One major reason for me writing this right now is that it’s raining outside, and it has been for the last 4 days. WHERE IS THE SUN!?!? We’re in the Caribbean, it’s supposed to be sunshine and beaches all day, right?
Well, life doesn’t always turn out that way. If it did, we wouldn’t appreciate the sunny days as much.
So here are…
If you weren’t aware yet, the millennial generation is now the largest age demographic. Some people are probably bothered by this, because it seems like each generation has something against the other generations, for whatever reason.
Millennials “aren’t spending our money on cars, TVs and watches,” Taylor Smith, CEO and co-founder of Blueboard, told CNBC. “We’re renting scooters and touring Vietnam, rocking out at music festivals, or hiking Machu Picchu.”
Want to see something kind of funny? This is actually the scooter I have in the Dominican Republic right now…
While I would rather be driving around in a Tesla, this type of transportation works so much better for the life I live. I’ve had a scooter as my main transportation in Bali, Thailand and now the Dominican Republic. It works so well for the minimalist beach lifestyle.
It’s 0-60 time… well, honestly I don’t think this little Yamaha Jog can get to 60mph :-p
Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, believes in the Easterlin Paradox, which states that after our basic needs have been met, money will only increase happiness to a certain point for the following reasons:
Spending money makes us happy, we can all agree on that. Especially those of us who were raised in the USA. All the advertisements make us want to BUY ALL THE THINGS!
It’s honestly kind of crazy, but the point of advertising is to get us to want things so badly that we have to buy them. I’m in advertising and love the fact that this is true, it allows me to live this life. However, the problems arise when we realize that the things we buy, that feeling we get, it only lasts for a little while.The new iPhone, the new car, the new _______ (fill in the blank). Once we have the item and we’ve had it for a little while, it loses its appeal. It just is part of our “stuff”.Experiences on the other hand… like traveling, running with the bulls, diving with sharks, visiting waterfalls, or doing other items on our Liv List… these things stay with us. They become a part of our identity, which brings us greater satisfaction long term.Those experiences will always be with us. We’ll look back when we’re old and wrinkly and get that dumb grin on our face thinking about how cool it was that we did it.
We can all agree that everything we do in life should be based around our purpose and our passions, and not just because we want certain material possessions.Yes, yes… I know, it isn’t always that easy and straightforward. But, can we at least agree that our life SHOULD be based around our purpose and passions?Think of it like this… if you’re a sports fan, you have all the t-shirts, the autographs, you watch all the games… do any of those top going to the arena and watching the team play live? Of course not! I actually still think about the time I went to see the Duke Men’s Basketball team play in Cameron Indoor Stadium, standing in the student’s section with my face painted… the energy was just incredible.That right there, that single experience is better than all the shirts, hoodies, anything I could buy… and I went to that game in 2010.
“We consume experiences directly with other people,” says Gilovich. “And after they’re gone, they’re part of the stories that we tell to one another.”My girlfriend and I went to Machu Picchu with the Under30Experiences tour group a few years ago, and we still to this day talk to the people we had that experience with. We actually met up with one in Austin a few months back and went kayaking on the river around the city. (More experiences)
I’ve gotta say that having experiences like these are much better than the temporary feeling of just buying something.
While experiences tend to only last for a short period of time, they provide an incredibly high level of memorability because of anticipation.Think about some experience you’ve had. Maybe it was a concert, or show or whatever. You hear that the performer is coming to town, you anticipate buying the tickets, you anticipate attending the show once you bought the tickets, you get excited simply going in the car to get to the event… and then the event actually happens. BOOM. The whole experience is full of excitement, anticipation and memories are cemented in your brain because of that.It’s not just the couple hours of showtime that you remember. You remember the little things leading up to it as well, and how you felt before, during and after it.
Growing up in upstate New York, I had a very different perspective of the world as I have now. I had a terrific childhood and wouldn’t change it for the world. It helped shape me into the dude I am today.Random, but did you know you can get ordained as a Dudeist priest? haha no lie. I am ordained as one.
See that, a new experience you might not have known about!Over the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to live all over the world and see just how differently people’s upbringings can be. Each of these new places opens my mind up to what life could have been like. Each time it makes me think about how great of a childhood I had.I never would have known this if I didn’t travel. Sure, I could see it on the Discovery channel or something, but when you see it in person, when you interact with people, when you’re there… that makes an enormous difference.
Every time you try to out-do your neighbor, it’ll just lead to more and more… stuff.Why would you be competing with your neighbor anyway? Who cares what they have or don’t have? Sure, the new car will be nice… for the next month or so… but what then? You’ll see the new version and want another.
“The tendency of keeping up with the Joneses tends to be more pronounced for material goods than for experiential purchases,” says Gilovich. This is because, according to research from Ryan Howell and Graham Hill, it’s easier to feature-compare material goods than experiences.“It certainly bothers us if we’re on a vacation and see people staying in a better hotel or flying first class. But it doesn’t produce as much envy as when we’re outgunned on material goods.”What this basically means is that spending money on experiences, rather than stuff… can decrease envious behavior, which means you’ll be happier and healthier in the end.In other words, spending money on experiences can decrease this envious behavior, which means that we’ll be healthier and happier in the end.
Now is the time where I leave you with something extremely wise, and an action step so you can start spending your time and money on experiences instead of stuff.
** Inserts wise words here**
You already know what to do. Now it’s just time to do it.
Playa Encuentro, Dominican Republic
11:59 am on a Saturday
Jan 27, 2018
Did you know that you can figure out exactly what you want out of life by asking yourself 3 simple questions?
It’s crazy to think about to be honest… That everything you’ve ever wanted can be broken down into 3 questions.
– This is like when you were a kid and someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up… and you said an astronaut, or a pro athlete, or a unicorn trainer.
– Think about what you would love to be able to answer when someone asked you that question.
– That is where your attention should go.
– By far one of the greatest things about being alive in today’s day and age is that an airplane can get us anywhere we want in the world, in 48 hours or less. Yeah, I know that it’s not that easy…
– But shut that part of your brain down for a minute and bear with me.
– It is entirely possible for you to go to an airport and fly somewhere right now, and figure it all out. This wasn’t always possible. Hell, right now you can drive someplace and get there in 24 hours. You can drive from NY to Florida in less than 24 hours. (I’ve done it)
– Now this is the tough part. Not many people know this, because they have never taken the time to actually ask themselves.
– So, right now think about what you would do if money was no object to you. (the link there goes to an incredible video about what you would do if money was no issue)
– Think about the stuff you would do every day. Would you work inside? How about outside? Would you do something that required your mind or your body like working with animals?
– Seriously, think about this stuff. There’s jobs and businesses that already pay people to do these things. You can get paid to do pretty much anything you can imagine.
I came across this letter this morning and absolutely had to share it. Not just for myself, but as a reminder that each day is a gift.
I did not know Holly Butcher, but I believe this letter was meant to be shared, which is why I am sharing it here. Holly posted this on January 3, 2018 and died the next day. Cancer got the best of her, yet she still chose to share this list of life lessons on Facebook 24 hours before she lost her fight with Ewing’ sarcoma – a rare bone cancer.
She was 27 years old…
“It’s a strange thing to realize and accept your mortality at 26 years young. It’s just one of those things you ignore. The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming; Until the unexpected happens. I always imagined myself growing old, wrinkled and grey- most likely caused by the beautiful family I planned on building with the love of my life. I’ve wanted that so bad it hurts.
That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.
I’m 27 now. I don’t want to go. I love my life. I’m happy. I owe that to my loved ones. But the control is out of my hands.
I haven’t started this ‘note before I die’ so that death is feared – I like the fact that we are mostly ignorant to it’s inevitability. Except when I want to talk about it and it is treated like a ‘taboo’ topic that will never happen to any of us. That’s been a bit tough. I just want people to stop worrying so much about the small, meaningless stresses in life and try to remember that we all have the same fate after it all so do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great, minus the bullshit.
I have dropped lots of my thoughts below as I have had a lot of time to ponder life these last few months. Of course it’s the middle of the night when these random things pop in my head most!
Those times you are whinging about ridiculous things (something I have noticed so much these past few months), just think about someone who is really facing a problem. Be grateful for your minor issue and get over it. It’s okay to acknowledge that something is annoying but try not to carry on about it and negatively effect other people’s days.
Once you do that, get out there and take a freaking big breath of that fresh Aussie air deep in your lungs, look at how blue the sky is and how green the trees are; It is so beautiful. Think how lucky you are to be able to do just that – breathe.
You might have got caught in bad traffic today, or had a bad sleep because your beautiful babies kept you awake, or your hairdresser cut your hair too short. Your new fake nails might have got a chip, your boobs are too small, or you have cellulite on your arse and your belly is wobbling.
Let all that shit go.. I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go. It is all SO insignificant when you look at life as a whole. I’m watching my body waste away right before my eyes with nothing I can do about it and all I wish for now is that I could have just one more Birthday or Christmas with my family, or just one more day with my partner and dog. Just one more.
I hear people complaining about how terrible work is or about how hard it is to exercise – Be grateful you are physically able to. Work and exercise may seem like such trivial things … until your body doesn’t allow you to do either of them.
I tried to live a healthy life, in fact, that was probably my major passion. Appreciate your good health and functioning body- even if it isn’t your ideal size. Look after it and embrace how amazing it is. Move it and nourish it with fresh food. Don’t obsess over it.
Remember there are more aspects to good health than the physical body… work just as hard on finding your mental, emotional and spiritual happiness too. That way you might realise just how insignificant and unimportant having this stupidly portrayed perfect social media body really is. While on this topic, delete any account that pops up on your news feeds that gives you any sense of feeling shit about yourself. Friend or not. Be ruthless for your own well-being.
Be grateful for each day you don’t have pain and even the days where you are unwell with man flu, a sore back or a sprained ankle, accept it is shit but be thankful it isn’t life threatening and will go away.
Whinge less, people! .. And help each other more.
Give, give, give. It is true that you gain more happiness doing things for others than doing them for yourself. I wish I did this more. Since I have been sick, I have met the most incredibly giving and kind people and been the receiver of the most thoughtful and loving words and support from my family, friends and strangers; More than I could I ever give in return. I will never forget this and will be forever grateful to all of these people.
It is a weird thing having money to spend at the end.. when you’re dying. It’s not a time you go out and buy material things that you usually would, like a new dress. It makes you think how silly it is that we think it is worth spending so much money on new clothes and ‘things’ in our lives.
Buy your friend something kind instead of another dress, beauty product or jewellery for that next wedding. 1. No-one cares if you wear the same thing twice 2. It feels good. Take them out for a meal, or better yet, cook them a meal. Shout their coffee. Give/ buy them a plant, a massage or a candle and tell them you love them when you give it to them.
Value other people’s time. Don’t keep them waiting because you are shit at being on time. Get ready earlier if you are one of those people and appreciate that your friends want to share their time with you, not sit by themselves, waiting on a mate. You will gain respect too! Amen sister.
This year, our family agreed to do no presents and despite the tree looking rather sad and empty (I nearly cracked Christmas Eve!), it was so nice because people didn’t have the pressure of shopping and the effort went into writing a nice card for each other. Plus imagine my family trying to buy me a present knowing they would probably end up with it themselves.. strange! It might seem lame but those cards mean more to me than any impulse purchase could. Mind you, it was also easier to do in our house because we had no little kiddies there. Anyway, moral of the story- presents are not needed for a meaningful Christmas. Moving on.
Use your money on experiences.. Or at least don’t miss out on experiences because you spent all your money on material shit.
Put in the effort to do that day trip to the beach you keep putting off. Dip your feet in the water and dig your toes in the sand. Wet your face with salt water.
Get amongst nature.
Try just enjoying and being in moments rather than capturing them through the screen of your phone. Life isn’t meant to be lived through a screen nor is it about getting the perfect photo.. enjoy the bloody moment, people! Stop trying to capture it for everyone else.
Random rhetorical question. Are those several hours you spend doing your hair and make up each day or to go out for one night really worth it? I’ve never understood this about females .
Get up early sometimes and listen to the birds while you watch the beautiful colours the sun makes as it rises.
Listen to music.. really listen. Music is therapy. Old is best.
Cuddle your dog. Far out, I will miss that.
Talk to your friends. Put down your phone. Are they doing okay?
Travel if it’s your desire, don’t if it’s not.
Work to live, don’t live to work.
Seriously, do what makes your heart feel happy.
Eat the cake. Zero guilt.
Say no to things you really don’t want to do.
Don’t feel pressured to do what other people might think is a fulfilling life.. you might want a mediocre life and that is so okay.
Tell your loved ones you love them every time you get the chance and love them with everything you have.
Also, remember if something is making you miserable, you do have the power to change it – in work or love or whatever it may be. Have the guts to change. You don’t know how much time you’ve got on this earth so don’t waste it being miserable. I know that is said all the time but it couldn’t be more true.
Anyway, that’s just this one young gals life advice. Take it or leave it, I don’t mind!
Oh and one last thing, if you can, do a good deed for humanity (and myself) and start regularly donating blood. It will make you feel good with the added bonus of saving lives. I feel like it is something that is so overlooked considering every donation can save 3 lives! That is a massive impact each person can have and the process really is so simple.
Blood donation (more bags than I could keep up with counting) helped keep me alive for an extra year – a year I will be forever grateful that I got to spend it here on Earth with my family, friends and dog. A year I had some of the greatest times of my life.
..’Til we meet again.
Ever thought about Fear and what it actually means when you are “fearful” of something?
Honestly, if you live in the United States of America or another first world country, we’ve had it pretty easy. Think about this for just a moment. You could have been born in Cambodia during the Cambodian genocide, between 1975 and 1979, in which an estimated 1.5 to 3 million Cambodians died or were killed by the regime.
Could have been just a few years after that in Zimbabwe. The Gukurahundi was a series of massacres of Ndebele civilians carried out by the Zimbabwe National Army from early 1983 to late 1987.
I was born in the USA in 1987, but if my family happened to have lived in Zimbabwe during that time period there is a chance I wouldn’t even be here…
That’s just the truth of how it is. I’ve been extremely blessed to have lived my life the way I have.
Right there are two separate instances where the meaning of FEAR would have been a lot more different to me if I happened to have been in either of those areas.
So for those of us who were lucky enough to have the opportunities in our lives, I put together this video that talks about overcoming fear.
In the video, you’ll see that I spoke about 2 instances where I addressed my fear head on.
One of them was when I did a cage free shark-dive in the Bahamas to address my fear of sharks. You can watch that video below or read more about it in this post about the Stuart’s Cove Shark Dive:
and the other was recently when I decided to run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Both of those experiences were things that I was fairly terrified of. They were things that I thought “oh man that would be so cool to do“, and I committed to doing them.
The thing is, I could have easily backed out each time… and you would have had no idea I even cared to do these things.
I did them not because I wanted to brag about them, but let’s be honest, I do brag about them… to me it’s so damn cool that I did these things and I’m super proud of them. I did them because they scared me… and when things scare me, it’s usually a sign that I needed to face my fear head on.
What I’d love for you to do now (you don’t need to tell anyone) is to think about something you have been scared to do, but something that has always been of interest to you.
Write it down. Yes, I know. You’re probably on your phone or reading this on your laptop… but I want this to actually help you.
Take out that piece of paper and a pen and write down something you’re scared to do and take a look at it. Have people done it before safely? Is it an irrational fear that you are sure is irrational? Is it something you’ve been fearful of for as long as you can remember?
(that last one was me and sharks… I mean… JAWS.)
But now that it’s written down. It still might be scary. But think about it this way, it’s just writing on a piece of paper at this stage. It’s not like a shark suddenly appeared as soon as you wrote that down and is biting your head off. Right now in your hand, you hold your fear.
That means you’ve already conquered it in one way. You’ve addressed that it is there, and that you can see it and kind of feel it.
Yeah yeah, it isn’t actually happening but bear with me for a minute.
Now that you see this activity or whatever it is, you can hop onto google and type it in to look up some stats. Maybe its that you’re scared of flying? You could look up how many people fly each year. That number is incredible. Maybe its moving to a new city (I’ve done this more times than I can count). Maybe it’s getting on the phone to make a call to someone you lost contact with over the years. We all have different things.
The simple fact that you wrote it down is awesome by the way. Most people don’t do it… that’s why most people never live to their full potential, but I know you’re different.
The next thing, if you’re crazy enough to give it a try, is to look up how you can do whatever it is you are scared of. If it’s flying, hop onto a travel site and plan a trip. Go through the process of picking a destination, a date and thinking what it will be like at this new place. Going through the website doesn’t mean you have to board the plane. You don’t even have to buy the ticket!
Going through the motions of setting up and planning to do the thing will make a shift happen in your mind. You’ll probably have that “oh shit” moment, where it becomes real. Stay with that feeling, get comfortable with it. I know you’ve seen that picture where it shows your comfort zone and how you’re supposed to do stuff outside of your comfort zone…
this feeling you’re having right now… that’s what it’s like outside of your comfort zone. It feels a little weird, doesn’t it? The good news is you’ll get more comfortable with the feeling the more you do these things… and you didn’t have to leave the house to do it!
Okay so now that you’ve done this… you have done it, right?
Once you’re good and ready and feeling all nervous… it’s time TO DO THE THING. Set a plan to do something towards it within the next 30 days.
Even scarier, right?
Don’t worry, it’ll be fine. You’ve got this. You are now someone who is comfortable in the uncomfortable. You’re a boss.
The next step is to simply do the thing. Yep, just like Nike says. Just Do It.
There are a few simple things that I like to do in order to “stack my wins” up each day.
One of them for me is to get my coffee prepared the night before. I’ve found that the more “wins” I can get in a day, the better my overall day goes… so why not try to simplify as many of these wins as possible.
That way, I increase my chance of having a kick-ass day. What kind of daily wins do you have?
This short video shows you why I love building these “little wins” into my day, to make sure I come out on top.