I Thought $1,000,000 Would Make Me Happy

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Millionaires think and act differently from those who are financially strapped.

They possess distinct mindsets that guide their choices. And in turn, these mindsets produce income and net worth far above the average.

But even if you know how to make (and keep) millions, it doesn’t mean that you know how to be happy. Believe me, I know…

[Tweet “Even if you know how to make (and keep) millions, it doesn’t mean that you know how to be happy.”]

What keeps millionaires from being happy? It took me nearly dying to figure this one out on my own. Peter Sage – in my recent interview with him – describes the “old me” perfectly. A place where I now see most high achievers getting stuck.

In fact, if I hadn’t made a radical change in life perspective on my death bed, I have no doubt that I’d still be “chasing the white rabbit.” More on that in a minute…

For most of my adult life, I thought happiness and fulfillment were “out there.” That it would come with the next achievement, accolade, social status, or million in the bank. “I will be happy when…  (fill in the blank).”

The insidious trick is this: We are not really seeking achievement. We are seeking approval. External validation. The “atta boys” and “atta girls” that make us feel good about ourselves… for a few minutes anyway.

The truth is… we can’t find happiness in the opinion of others. And there isn’t happiness at the top of that next proverbial mountain that you want to climb. No achievement, reward, or pat on the back will actually fulfill us as human beings. Achievement doesn’t produce a legitimate feeling of self worth, gratitude, and vibrant well-being.

[Tweet “There isn’t happiness at the top of that next proverbial mountain that you want to climb.”]

Me? Although I didn’t notice it at the time, I was addicted to approval. Growing up poor, abandoned by my parents, and being a constant joke among my peers, I was out to prove something. To my parents. To my past. I wanted the world to see me. To see how successful I was. To praise my accomplishments. To notice my wealth. I was now important (and rich)! Take notice, everyone!

Unknowingly, my accumulation of accomplishments, achievements, status symbols, and zeros in my bank account came from years of trying to fill a void. A feeling of “not good enough” despite my growing success.

I love a quote from Peter during my interview with him. When referring to a greyhound race metaphor… He states, “you cannot catch the rabbit of fulfillment by running on the track of achievement.” He goes on to say that the two are mutually exclusive. Based on my own past, I agree with him. There is no long-term fulfillment if we chase the next rabbit in order to validate ourselves as a greyhound.

[Tweet “You cannot catch the rabbit of fulfillment by running on the track of achievement.”]

Bottom line. Achievement and happiness do not go hand in hand. One does not beget the other. And as the old adage goes, “money doesn’t buy happiness.” BUT! Don’t misunderstand that because “lack of money” doesn’t buy happiness either. For me, when my money became less about status and accumulation and more about impact, experiences, security, and love… I was fulfilled for the first time in my life.

Now… back to where we started. The difference begins with your mindset. And if there’s anybody who understands millionaire mindsets, it’s superstar entrepreneur Peter Sage. Peter and I share similar stories of starting out small and then adopting the right mindsets to build millions in wealth. And better yet… figuring out the formula for happiness and fulfillment.

Here are my five favorite “millionaire tips” that I took from the interview. Enjoy.

From my podcast interview with Peter Sage…

  1. If you jump in the deep end, you can only swim

Both Peter and I technically started our first businesses when we were just kids. He dropped out of school to sell toys out of the back of a truck at a local flea market. I didn’t drop out of school. But I did sell apricots (picked from a neighbor’s yard) from the back of a truck at the local swap meet.

Even at a young age, we both felt that the system wasn’t serving us and that we needed to take our lives into our own hands. Neither Peter nor I have ever had a “job.” We’ve forged our own path from the very beginning. I guess that can be called the quintessential entrepreneur.

Now… Peter draws an important distinction. if you’re chasing your passion – and a more traditional path can take you there – that’s one thing. But many people find themselves stuck, going through the motions, or following the path that’s expected of them. One of Peter’s most valuable insights is that you must become aware of when something in your life isn’t serving you. And if it isn’t, you must be brave enough to take a leap of faith. At a certain point, you just need to trust in your own ability to make things work. It’s the only way to move forward.

  1. Failure is your capital

It can be scary to take a leap of faith or to take risks. We have the tendency to be petrified of failure! According to Peter, we all need to get over our hang-ups about failing because in truth, failure is one of our most valuable assets. Any successful person will tell you that they learn more from their failures than from their successes.

Peter has started over 20 companies in his career. Some of them tanked and some of them netted millions.

I agree with Peter. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I wasn’t good at capitalizing on my failures. I’ve had far more colossal failures than successes. Mistakes that have cost me millions. Seriously. But those miscalculations and bad calls taught me valuable lessons that I’ve used to go on. Which, over the long term, converted losses into gains.

  1. The purpose of life is to be authentic

“What is the purpose of life?” That’s a philosophical question for everyone to figure out on their own. But I love Peter’s answer to that question. He says that the purpose of his life is to be authentic. To be the best “Peter” that he can be. And never stop. He believes that happiness and fulfillment are impossible if you are trapped in “GOOP” – the Good Opinion of Other People.

People don’t realize that they can sometimes drown themselves in the need for approval of others. This is another mindset that keeps you stuck. But people who move forward don’t let a constant need for approval get in the way of their journey.

His advice: “be yourself.” Quit giving a damn about what other people think.

  1. You cannot catch the rabbit of fulfillment by running on the track of achievement

Like I said, I learned the hard way that an achievement-based mentality will never lead to fulfillment. They’re mutually exclusive ends. Peter conveyed this using a brilliant metaphor that he calls “the curse of the white rabbit.”

In dog races, greyhounds chase their goal – a rabbit – but they of course never catch it. Why not? Is it because they’re not a good enough greyhound? No. The game is set up so that they cannot catch the rabbit. There’s a larger game at play. And greyhounds don’t care because they’re doing what they are meant to do. Many of us are so wrapped up in what we’re doing that even if we’re doing what we love, we can still lose sight of why we’re even chasing that thing in the first place.

This is how you end up where I did. Miserable and sick despite making a high income and growing a sizable net worth.

  1. You cannot point the compass needle of your mind in two different directions at once

I love Peter’s metaphors for how people operate. Another one that spoke to me was imagining your mind as a compass. The needle can only point in one direction at a time. And when we settle into rhythms and habits that aren’t serving us, the compass needle reverts to its conditioned “north.”

Science tells us that human beings act habitually 95% of the time, so we obviously don’t want our “north” to be pointing us down the wrong path. The more we are aware of our habitual behaviors, the more we can use our conscious brain to guide those behaviors toward the ideal direction… one that will push us forward rather than keep us in the same place.

Are you chasing the white rabbit? Let me know in the comment section below.

These shifts in mindset differentiate those who are stuck and those who move forward. This applies to our lives, and this applies to our money.

Building true wealth starts with mastering our spending. And spending will always be a reflection of our personal mindsets. Just as we fall into habits that get us stuck in life, we fall into spending habits that completely stop us from building wealth moving forward.

Click here to listen to my full interview with Peter Sage on millionaire mindsets.

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