Posted by: garispang | July 1, 2009

Have you ever created a Life Chart? (Can Money Buy Happiness?)

money-and-balance-life-web

Do you rush through life so busy the whole time you have no opportunity for reflection and evaluation? Stop and look at how you are living, and ask yourself whether it feels right—are you contented and fulfilled? Are you frustrated in some areas of your life, or is the balance wrong?

Your personal life chart
There are five key areas to your life that make up your life chart. You need to give the right amount of time and attention to each. Looking at your life chart may reveal the uncomfortable truth that, for example, your career and your relationships are both very important to you, but they are in conflict with one another. Just recognizing this fact is valuable and will compel you to try to strike the right balance between the two.

These are the key areas to examine in your life:

Career—Look at all aspects of your present job. Is it interesting and enjoyable? Do you have sufficient responsibility? Will your job allow you to fulfill your career ambitions?

Money—Decide how important money is to you. Do you make enough presently? Would it be better for you if you spent less time earning money and had more time for the other areas of your life?

Health—Do you feel in good physical shape? Do you get enough exercise? How about your diet—are you eating and drinking as you should?

Relationships—Do you see enough of your family and friends? Are you happy with your significant other or your spouse? How committed are you?

Self—Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn, such as a foreign language or a hobby you’ve wanted to explore, but have never done anything about it?

Once you examine the five areas of the life chart, you need to take some time to reflect on each area in turn. What do you have at present? How does that compare with what you want? By reviewing each area of your life chart systematically, you can assess your current life balance and identify the changes that you need to make. 

Your satisfaction level
Once you examine the five life chart areas, you will need to give each one a satisfaction rating. Then based on the satisfaction ratings, you will decide which life chart areas require action. The satisfaction rating that you assign to each area is a reflection of how you feel about that part of your life. How satisfied with it are you overall? Do not be concerned with what other people might feel or say about your assessment. Your satisfaction rating is based on the language you use to think and to talk about each life chart area. The words you choose will reveal your feelings and aspirations.
 
Each area of your life chart is assigned one of these three ratings:

High satisfaction—When you are basically satisfied with a life chart area, you talk about it in positive terms. You use words and expressions such as “like,” “love,” and “enjoy.” You also use expressions that indicate you do not want to change the situation: “great,” “fulfilled,” “rewarding.”

Moderate satisfaction—If you are moderately satisfied with a life area, you use positive words, but you qualify them. You might say, “reasonably happy” and “fairly good.” You also use language that indicates that you may want change at some point in the future, for example, “might,” “maybe,” “possibly,” “could.”

Dissatisfaction—The dissatisfaction rating is associated with words communicating negative feelings, such as “hate,” “dislike,” “detest,” “bored,” “frustrated.” It is also associated with words that reflect a strong desire to change, like “need to,” “have to,” “really should,” “must.”

It may be tempting to want to make changes in all areas of your life that do not have a high satisfaction rating. This would be a mistake. Concentrate instead on the areas where there is a high level of dissatisfaction. 

Once you have examined, rated, and assessed the five key areas of your life chart, you have taken the first step to making the necessary changes in your life balance. The next thing you must do is to take action.

Can money buy happiness? If money can really buy happiness, how much would it cost?

Of course, there’s a lot of things that money can’t buy. Saying money can buy happiness does sound superficial. Perhaps to some, money and happiness are two concepts that should not even be talked about together. Well, that’s exactly contrary to what I think – money and happiness has A LOT to do with each other!

I like to sum up by talking about money and its relations to two important areas of our life: career and relationships .Before I carry on, I like to qualify that I’m not the mercenary sort who believes that having lots of money equals having happiness. I do agree that money cannot buy happiness. However, in our world today, money has a lot of influences on other areas of life which leads to fulfillment.

MONEY’S INFLUENCE ON CAREER

A year ago, I read an article about a growing trend of people making major career switches from high-paying jobs to lower paying ones. These people are mostly executives and professionals who were earning 6-figures annual salaries in the banking, finance and consulting sectors. To many people, positions with salaries like these are dream jobs that many would die for. Yet this group of new age professionals left these highly sought after position to become an artist, a restaurant owner, a food connoisseur…

The news caused quite a buzz and was a common water-cooler chat topic. Some thought that these folks are crazy. On the contrary, it all fits what I advocating about a balanced life and doing meaningful work:

  • Importance Of Quality Of Life – other than money, people today are starting to realize the importance in quality of life. There’s no point in slogging your life away at a 6-figures-salary job when you have no fulfillment from that work and have no time for other areas of your live. The fact that these people made such a drastic career switch for a much lower paying salary is a firm testimony that money alone does not provide us fulfillment.
  • Freedom Of Choice – I also notice these people have the financial foundation to enjoy a freedom of choice in their career . Only when you have a certain level of financial stability can you boldly make such a drastic career switch.

When I speak to people about getting a career that they love, the most common response I get is that they can’t afford to do so; they have financial commitments and liabilities that doesn’t allow them to take such a risky career moves.

My opinion is that chasing your passion in this age is no longer just an idealistic pursue. It is a mandatory path to being exceptional so that you remain competitive in this fast-moving age. Only when you do what you love, then you will have the sustainability to put in the extra mileage needed to become exceptional.

And to enable yourself to do what you love, you need to manage your money well to facilitate the freedom of choice in your career. An idealistic pursue as this will require an economical solution to make possible.

MONEY’S INFLUENCE ON RELATIONSHIPS

Have you seen couples who constantly bickers over money? I do. If you look around you, it’s easy to find families and couples whose focuses are often distracted by money issues…

I remember an interview I once saw; it’s an interview with a group of six multi-millionaires. When asked what they want to be remembered for when they die, they unanimously want to be remembered for being a good husband/wife, father/mother or son/daughter. None of them wanted to be remembered for how many millions of dollars they have!

Obviously, this should not be a surprise to us. The most important things in our life are our relationships, there’s no doubt about that. Yet, what’s the proportion of our daily attention/energy that are spent between relationship and money?

Ironical as it may seem, this is the fact surrounding us today. Why? Well, relationship issues seldom have the urgency that money issues does. We need money to bring bread to the table; we need money to pay the bills; we need money to buy what we want or need. Every single aspect of our life is linked to money in one way or another.

Having money certainly doesn’t mean that your relationships will be smooth-sailing. However, we should really manage our money well, so that we don’t let money issues become an issue in our relationships.

When money is managed well, you have more time and energy to focus on what really matters – the people in your life.

CLOSING REMARKS

So now, do you think money can buy happiness? Probably not. You won’t have happiness simply because you have money.

However, without good management of your money, I can say that your chances of happiness are even slimmer.

Although this argument may sound overly pragmatic to some, the fact remains that money is a central concept in our world today. Almost every activity and object in your life can be tied back to money. If money is so ubiquitous, how can you possibly not be negatively affected by the poor management of it?

I hope the highlighted points worth considering and hopefully trigger some reviews on your mindset about money. Whether you love or hate money, I believe that learning to manage it is a necessary ingredient to happiness, and this alone warrants an in-depth discussion to generate awareness. I hope this series have served the purpose of creating this awareness.

So what do you think? Is money necessary for happiness?

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