Note: I’m writing this blog in my early twenties, so my perspective might change at a later point of time. My main motive for writing this blog is to keep a record of my thought process at different stages of life, think of this as a Time Capsule that I’m writing for myself.
Okay, let’s begin…
Starting with the WHY
Why do I feel unhappy right now? and Why am I doing this analysis?
Here’s why: I’ve noticed that every morning I wake up feeling anxious, tired and just plain unmotivated. This has been happening for quite a while now, I’ve just realized this recently. So I sat down and wrote all the things that are causing me to worry/stress out,
* Thinking about Career
- am I staying up to date with technology?
- is my education still relevant?
- need to build up my network by making "friends"* Thinking about Work and other things Work Related
- oh I have a meeting scheduled late in the evening, I won't be ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀able to meet my friend
- I have to complete this task soon, may have to work on ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀weekends
- I have to learn about this new Technology so i don't feel ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀incompetent* Getting used to the words - "You don't have time to do that"
- can afford to buy new games, but can't afford the time to play
- want to go out for a week? sike! your leaves are not approved
- oh you're leaving already? but it's just 6:30, everyone here ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀works till 9 P.M* Expenses - I'm not talking about the luxuries
so now that I’ve got some clarity on things that are keeping me from being happy, I started to find ways to solve it.
How are others solving this problem?
First I tried to understand how others are solving this problem ( if they even consider this as a problem in the first place…). So I asked my friends and segregated their answers based on their age, here’s the results:
1. Are you Happy?
Almost everyone said yes.
I was quite surprised, most of the time these people looked stressed, depressed and tired in the office. But hey! If they really are Happy maybe we could find out the How.
2. What makes you Happy?
- Age 22–28: Playing video games, Long drives, having the latest tech, movies and TV shows, Travelling, Sleeping, Spending time with friends, family and loved ones.
- Age 29–39: Taking care of family, spending time with spouse, movies and TV shows, Travelling.
- Age 40+: Spending time with family, relaxing.
Here I noticed that the list kept shrinking as the age increased, young people were more energetic and had long list of things that make them happy while older people have fewer items on the list. When asked about the reason they replied that they have removed all the things from the list that consume more time and energy but bring short term happiness. But one common term in every list was spending time with Family.
3. How often do you do things that make you Happy? Why not do it always?
- Age 22–28: Not very often because work extends beyond 8 hours. Here I’ve noticed that people work 10+ hours per day and also work during the weekends so that they can “Gain Experience”.
- Age 29–39: Their response was mostly on weekends, but these people too work overtime and on the weekends. They do it to get “Promoted | Recognized”
- Age 40+: Every time I can was the response that I’ve got, but I’ve seen them the most tired, most of the people here are on Managerial roles so they have to pick up calls late at night and change their sleep cycle based on the client’s timezone.
After this question I’ve thought that most people have a sense of responsibility so they try their best to juggle between work and life as best as they can…but the next question made it clear on what they really wanted.
4. If you received 2 Million dollars, what will you change in your life?
- Age 22–28: start a startup company, start a business, travel, buy things that I like and then invest the remaining.
- Age 29–39: Save some and Invest the rest, start a business based on their hobby, buy investment properties and live on rent.
- Age 40+: Retire from work, Save and Invest in less risky investment.
Key takeaway here was that no one wanted to continue the work that they were doing :D .Some had their own ideas which they wanted to work on, some had a hobby or side hustle that they wanted to work full time others just wanted to retire
I’m repeating this again, I’m open to changing my opinion at a later point of time, this is my understanding of happiness ( A perspective of a guy in early twenties )
- Having no responsibility doesn’t make a person happy, in fact they find happiness in fulfilling those responsibilities ( like taking care of family — parents, kids, spouse )
- Constant competition and comparison with peers contributes the most in deciding whether a person is happy or not.
- Wanting to do something but not having the time to do it makes a person Unhappy.
- Not being able to Relax makes them Unhappy.
I believe that these problems could be solved by becoming what is called Financially Independent (or FIRE). If one becomes Financially Independent then they can:
- Fulfill Responsibilities: Take care of family and spend time with them
- Reduce Work related Stress: They don’t have to be stressing themselves too much such as trying to compete with colleagues, working overtime and weekends etc. Remember — “Work is better when you don’t need the money”-Pete Adeney
- Get More Time: They can allocate a generous amount of time in things that they like to do and not rush them, such as playing games without skipping cut-scenes :D
- Relax: They can relax when they want to :)