Does Money Buy Happiness?

The quick answer is—yes, it does.

But it doesn’t buy happiness in the way you would think.

Money, in itself, is a tool used to pursue happiness. There’s no use in not having it, so why abstain? Our world, it revolves around money after all.

There’s a reason most artists keep their day jobs. At least, until they know they’ve made it. Bills need to be payed. Food needs to be put on the table. It’s damn difficult creating art when you’re homeless and hungry.

A common mistake many starting entrepreneurs make is that they suddenly have their next greatest idea and they jump headfirst into their creative endeavors. They quit their day job and invest their money in all the gear, supplies, and stock needed to supplement their business. And before long they come to their realization, that things may not be working out the way they planned.

Most businesses operate in the red on their first year, and the same goes for artists, vloggers, musicians, and writers. There’s always some sort of initial investment that comes with starting. A camera, a canvas, instruments, or even a cover design. And if it’s not an investment of money, then it will certainly be an investment of your time. Time which could have been used making money. Though between paid time and the investment of time, that’s a different topic, and one for another day.

Just know this when starting your creative endeavor. To get to the green, you’ll have to go through all of the red. To make money in your pursuit, you will have to spend it first. Your day job can help you fund that. You’ll spend a thousand dollars before you make even one. And yes, this can be scaled to size.

Money has always made you into a better, richer version of yourself. That’s because it’s like sustenance, it feeds you and it feeds your passion. Don’t be afraid to use money, but at the same time, be afraid of using too much of it. Gluttony and starvation go hand in hand. There’s a middle ground, and a swol, sexy one at that.

Turn your day job into your temporary passion, knowing that it’s a jump start into the funds of your endeavor. But at the same time, know when to start, and when to toss aside your day job altogether for your passion. Quitting your day job too soon is like cutting your supply short, and you don’t go into a war without supplies. Looking at it this way, you’ll assure yourself that you’ve already started, and at the same time, you know you’re making progress in some way to where you want to be, to where you actually want to be.


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There Is No Overnight Success

Everything is now.

There is no such thing as a long term investment anymore, especially when we’ve been wired to want results now.

Consider the world around you. Every billboard. Every advertisement. They all share one thing, and that’s this sense of urgency. The latest iPhone is out. The newest, most updated smart watch. A loan on this year’s model car. So many options to spend your cash on—and you want to spend it now!

Urgency is a basic fundamental to marketing. Because without urgency, the consumer is given time for thought, and when he’s given time for thought, then he’ll start to have second thoughts.

Buy our products now, you’ll be kicking yourself later. Don’t fall into the trap of company manipulation. You’re better than that.

Instant gratification is defined as a minimal investment of time which can be traded for results without delay. Earning a paycheck at the end of the week. Watching an hour of television. You’re paid. You’re entertained. You see the results, and you see your results now. You see your results more frequently, but this usually leads to you having many smaller results in the long run. Small victories which wouldn’t compare to striking rich.

Commitment is gone, and the concept has long been replaced by convenience. Everything is convenient, and everything is readily available.

We don’t understand the buildup anymore. We’ve only been taught to understand the gratification that comes after it. And don’t let it catch you by surprise, the longest grind that comes before newly found success.

Many awhile, a friend of yours starts a business, and a week has gone by and they realize that things may not be working out for them. For simplicity’s sake, it’s another T-shirt business.

They’ve been running Facebook ads, and while they’ve had a few engagements and website clicks, they haven’t sold a T-shirt yet.

Now a week passed, and the same trend continues. Your friend is a hundred dollars in the hole and they’re starting to think—what a waste of time this is.

They take down their website and call it quits. This T-Shirt business doesn’t work, it’s over.

Your friend wasn’t in it for the long run. When they didn’t see their results as soon as they had hoped, they jumped ships, and it was on to the next.

This is a lack of commitment, when you give up on your project before you catch even a glimpse of the underlying success. With instant gratification, the ordeal is made a dozen times easier. Your paycheck at the end of the week is guaranteed, and you surely know when you’re going to be getting it. Because if you don’t, we have a problem. Whereas this T-shirt business. You could be hacking away at it for five years before you see your first dollar.

The truth is this—that there is no such thing as an overnight success.

You want there to be, but the cold reality is that it doesn’t exist. When you look around yourself, you see all of the successful people that you want to be. You see them now, but you haven’t seen them before their breakthrough. Look up any of their stories and you’ll find that they’ve been working years into their respective businesses before you’ve even saw them.

I’ve encountered this too many times on the internet—a claim of an overnight success, and with that, their three hundred dollar course on how you can be just like them. Marketing is one thing, and the truth is usually a long way’s past that spectrum.

Never forget about the build up. Never forget about the months of ploughing dirt that come long before a harvest. A city isn’t built overnight, and never quit before you’ve even placed your first brick. Success is never guaranteed, but it can come pretty close to guaranteed if you keep working at it.


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Lack of Purpose, Lack of Life

Ask yourself this—what gets you out of bed in the morning?

You’re always late, you sleep in frequently, or you’re just plain not motivated to do things. Your morning is a long slog repeated everyday, yet everyday you still don’t know how you manage to get through it.

A common factor to this is that you lack a purpose, or you just haven’t clearly defined one yet. If you think you have one—good, great, write it down on a piece of paper and tape it onto you bathroom mirror. Leave it as a reminder to yourself of what you’ve been working for. That’ll get you up in the morning. But for those of you who feel you don’t have a purpose, that’s fine—just keep reading.

The reality for our labor force is that we only have one broad, and very distant end goal. That’s retirement.

Two out of every three Americans save for retirement. Working throughout their early years, they save just enough money to pay the bills now and to live out their most feeble years without working at all later. And that concept in itself doesn’t age well. Because when you don’t have meaningful work, then you don’t have a purpose, and this work isn’t to be confused with your day job.

Consider this when you’re waiting for what money you have left to dry, and it’s either that or waiting to die.

Retirement is no end goal, it’s just a backup plan, and one that you should never have to fall back on.

A common problem with our retired elderly population is that they have a tendency to fall into depression. After having worked all their lives, when retirement dawns on them, they realize they don’t have a reason to get out of bed in the morning anymore. They haven’t defined a goal beyond what was already their end goal. They were already at the end.

But this can be combated, not matter what stage you are in your life. Purpose isn’t easy to find, but the fact of the matter is that it comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They come numerously and you can pick up and try different hobbies, crafts, and jobs. You aren’t set to just one, so there’s no commitment.

Applied purpose is finding work that you find meaningful, enjoyable, and one that provides value to others (If you don’t think it does, think again, because there usually is a way to stretch this that you haven’t thought of yet).

Again, this isn’t to be confused with your day job. However, if you find that it is, then that’s all the better. But for most of the labor force, meaningful work is found as a project you’re working on outside of your work hours. Whether you’re working on a book or writing a song, whether you’re sketching art or starting up a new blog. Find some way to give value to society, because when you’re giving back to others, you’ll find that you’ll have a lot more purpose then when you’re just giving to yourself.

The gist is to never stop having a purpose, no matter what stage of life you’re in. Your lifetime is too short and negligible to live without one, because if you lack purpose, then you lack a reason to live.


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How to Find Your Passion

Raising the stakes, raising the urgency. 

Passion comes when you find yourself really, really caring about something.

Your children are starving, or you have a history exam tomorrow and you have to cram into your head the thirteen colonies and the Revolutionary War. You suddenly find yourself becoming passionate about those things and you’re ripping your hair out, you’re so stressed.

Passion, in context, is a strong and uncontrollable emotion. Bringing to mind the history exam, stakes are what evoke your passion. You’re so passionate about your history exam. You study all night for it, because if you don’t, you’ll fail. And the same goes for your job. You’re working, so tirelessly working, because if you aren’t then your children starve.

But what if we were to use this emotion elsewhere?

What if we were to apply passion in context to your business?

Since we used art in last week’s post, we’ll use business as an example for this one. Entrepreneurship, to be exact. Though, know that this article applies to both creative and businesslike endeavors.

So let’s say you were to start a T-Shirt business. You invested your entire paycheck into the design, a heat press, logos, marketing, and a whole lot of T-Shirts. Leading up to the launch of your website, you’ve been building up your warehouse and stock right in the comfort of your own garage.

It’s the day before your website’s launch and you’re nervous. You want to succeed. You really, really want to succeed because you put all of this time and money into the project, and if you fail you’ll be set back an entire month’s rent.

You’re passionate aren’t you? And you’re most definitely filled with motivation. Right now, there’s no such thing as procrastination. That’s just not an option. The stakes, they’re there. You dread the thought of not selling a T-Shirt, but you go through with it anyways, and no one is forcing you to do this besides yourself. You seem like you’re the only person in the world who cares, and you are, because no one knows you exist.

This example is simple, but it gets the message through to you. You know you’re passionate about something when you begin to dread it, but even when you dread it, you continue to work at it. You work tirelessly, and you don’t stop until it’s perfect.

Now after a year, your T-Shirt business succeeds and you make your first dollar in profit. Finally, those Facebook ads are turning a reasonable return on investment and you begin reaping your reward. You’ve unknowingly built yourself a brand and now you’re gaining organic traffic. You went through the entire year throwing money, paycheck after paycheck, at this behemoth of a monster you made, not knowing when it’ll stop eating your hard earned cash. New designs, new ads, new audiences. Your home, it’s empty. All besides a couch in the middle of the living room, you sold all your belongings to keep this T-Shirt business running. And at the end of the day, you sit on your couch and you realize this—you finally made it. Your passion, it persevered.


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The Answer to Life

And it’s not 42.

Nothing compares to the feeling of coming home after a long work day. You’re tired, and all you want to do is sit on the couch and watch Netflix. You’ve earned it after all. You’ve been working all day, and what’s left of it is yours to keep. This free time is yours, so spend it as you will—that’s at least until you have to clock back into work the next day. Why else do you think you’ve been working? Because this is what you’ve been working for.

This is what you’ve been working for…

Is this all you’ve been working for? This moment of peace?

There has to be something more, right? That can’t be all there is to life. Day in and day out, working, restlessly working. It’s a vicious cycle, a tiring one, an endless one in that. You ask yourself, when does it end?

When you retire? Because that’s your entire life right there. If it isn’t for work, what else is there? You need money after all, and you need to live. Mortgages and rent don’t pay for themselves. Food especially doesn’t. With all these in mind, is there another way to provide?

The answer is…unclear.

Especially when discipline, determination, and tolerance vary from person to person. A person can only tolerate so much before they break, and what they tolerate differs as well.

Risk, it makes your heart pound. Day trading, starting your own business, writing your own book, creating lovely works of art. All of it costs money, and if not money, then time. Nobody likes risk and nobody likes risk as much as their dead-end job. If it weren’t for the money, then it would certainly be for passion. But passion, however, doesn’t pay bills.

So when the question is asked, and the question being, is there more to life? The answer to that is hazy. Everyone wants to pursue their passion after all, but at the same time, not everyone succeeds. That’s the hard reality. Not everyone can be winners, but the people who are winners tend to have the loud, rallying voices. They’re the winners, and they say that you can too if you buy their one hundred dollar course on how to be them. Their one hundred dollar course on how you can be just like them. Except, you aren’t, and they most certainly don’t want you to be them either. They just want to sell you a product.

The real answer to life is simple, and it’s not 42.

The answer, really, is that there are no answers. You could go your entire life not knowing how to go about your passion. The answer to happiness doesn’t come easy, but understanding that you are unhappy does.

Pursuing your passion is the easy part. The hard part is pursuing your passion and getting paid doing just that. Let’s say you’re a painter, a potter, an entrepreneur, or even a writer. Creating form is difficult, sure, but it’s plenty easier than trying to sell it.

So when it comes to what you want to do with your life, know that you’re making the choice between you passion and your job, risk and stability. There are no right answers, as both are right answers. It’s just the question as to which is right for you, and you can’t let anyone answer that for you. Because you, after all, know yourself the best.

Whichever route you choose, go through your life knowing that you should leave your mark on the world in some way. Whether it be small or large, knowing that you touched someone in some way meant that your life had some meaning beyond your day to day.


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Justsume’s Vision

A briefing of our company.

Season’s greetings, though we’re long past the New Year’s. It’s more so a beginning on our part with the launch of Justsume. Marked with the release of my first novel Playwright, this is now the start of something wonderful. Justsume is nothing but a small seed as of today, a premise if you would, but we will be something bigger before long. As any tree finds its own roots, our beginning begins today, and cheers to the many beginnings after this beginning. I hope for the best and may we all grow as better people together.

What Justsume does is simple, as we will launch a new blog post every Friday touching on a topic of the sorts. Escapism, finding your way out of the 9-5, how to pursue your passion, etc, etc, etc. As of today though, thank you for reading this post and I hope you will find value in our provided content.

-Andy


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