If one asks people on the street, what is missing for having a happy life, most of them answer: “More money!”
And also a new study aims to show that the frequently read opinion, the contentment does not increase above a certain income level, it is a myth:
“Richer citizens within a country are happier than poor people. For example, half of American households with an income of US $ 40,000 to $ 50,000 are highly happy with their lives, among those with $ 100,000 to $ 150,000 it is however 72%. There is no specific income level, from which the happiness does not increase.”
Best, we ask someone who is knowledgeable therewith.
My estimated Blogger colleague Leo Babauta had the good fortune to be invited to the famous Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting in Omaha. There he was sitting with 45,000 (no misprint!) other guests and heard what the two billionaires Warren Buffett and his right hand, Charlie Munger, said, how one becomes happy in life.
The five most important lessons:
1. “Find something that stimulates you.”
Buffet answered the question, what advice he would give to his younger self 50 years ago. He did not talk about sex, but what one does for his livelihood.
Now, one has heard this “love what you are doing” often, but Buffet emphasizes here that is crucial for the own happiness. If one works something, that stimulates one, that is an important step toward “contentment”.
2. “Don’t worry about what others are doing.”
Too many people are watching too much what others do in their field – and thus lose the internal compass. It is better, stressed Munger, to find those inner values that are the most important to you. In this way you don’t need to check what others do and compare yourself to others.
3. “Rely on your own strengths.”
The two billionaires know very well their boundaries. For example they almost never invest in technology firms, because they are not knowledgeable there enough. Instead they focus on their strengths, i.e. those branches, where they have a lot of knowledge and experience. In order to do that, one needs to get rid from the compulsion to join the game everywhere, and instead focus on a few fields. This is another important step toward hapiness.
4. “Focus on fewer and higher quality.”
So the Investment philosophy of Buffet and Lunger can be described best and stands therewith in contrast to most investors on the Wallstreet. They concentrate their investments on a handful of really high-yielding investments.
Buffet suggests that investors should imagine they had a punch card with 20 holes. And if you have made in your life twenty investments, your punch card is full – and nothing works any more.
If one holds himself on that, one considers and examines very exactly where he invests.
5. “Make clear what you like and forget the rest.”
Buffet, one of the richest men in the world, lives in a nice but modest house and drives a surprisingly modest Cadillac – without a driver. He visits most dearly normal restaurants although he could certainly afford the most expensive restaurants of the Haute Cuisine.
Extravagance seems not to attract him, because he knows the simple things in life that he really likes. He could buy almost anything – and he does not need it. How many of us feel this way?
Just enjoy what we like without thinking about what else we might like or what is important for other people. Warren Buffet does not seem to care much about his image.
For example I find it difficult to imagine that the chairman of the Board of the Deutsche Bank would take the time to sing in the public, let’s say with Herbert Gronemeyer. But if you don’t care much about what others are saying, what they think, then you can:
Some readers will think now: “Sure, if you are rich and successful, you can easily be happy.” But the idea is missing the point.
The two old men are not happy because they are successful. They are successful because they live these five lessons.
And what does this mean for you now?
One cannot simply take over recipes for success of others. One must translate it for the own life. Let’s get started.
“Find something that stimulates you.”
Easy to understand – but not so easy to implement. The least people have at ten years of age a professional vision that carries along for a lifetime.
For example, I had also to try many jobs, and recognize that although I was suitable for each, it was hard for me to imagine that I would do it for more than two or three years. “Stimulate” doesn’t mean here the fast enthusiasm, straw fire of money, ascent or fame. But in the long run it is only the sense that one sees in an activity, which stimulates one in the long run.
- And what stimulates you?
- What do you do most?
- What do you most like to do, even if it brings you no money?
“Don’t worry about what others are doing.”
The feedback of other people can be helpful if one understands it as a subjective opinion of that person. But you must always decide alone.
If you care too much about what others do, is the usually a sign of insecurity. One hopes that by coping others, it would ease the burden of responsibility, but it will not do.
The aim is, of course, to have a happy life and even if the usage instructions of another work for one, that does not mean that one becomes therewith also happy.
“Rely on your own strengths.”
Not every talent is to make money. But to copy someone in a thing that does not suit you, usually brings failures. A decathlon is never as good in long jump or shot put as the respective record holder of this discipline.
- And what are your strengths?
- And what is the strength that stimulates you the most?
- And how could a professional activity become from that?
“Focus on fewer and higher quality.”
The difference between an “all-you-can-eat” offer and a four-course menu. One will be full on both, even if in different ways.
Most people want both: high quality for the lowest price. The regular groceries scandals show that this is out of the question. But this lesson requires concentration and the ability of sacrifice. Not from asceticism, but for the benefits, if you can focus.
- “With what do you waste too much of your lifetime”?
- “Whereon could you concentrate more”?
- “What would bring more quality into your life”?
“Make clear what you like and forget the rest.”
It is not easy to filter out of the daily bombardment of advertisements, TV and Internet information, what you really like.
If you want to buy two bread rolls, you have to make your choice now between ten offers in each bakery. Before one sought a job in a maximum twenty kilometer distance. Today you can find a job anywhere in Germany. Or perhaps better in London, New York, Cape Town?
In the vacation at the sea in the sun, I regularly consider how it would be, to live here forever. Or at least to have a holiday apartment or a small house. And then I reject the idea, because I now know what I like and what is important to me.
- “What is important to you in life?”
- “What are your needs – and what are only wishes?”
- “How much of what is important to you, you live by?”
In this respect, the five lessons from the two billionaires are yet not so easy to implement.
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