Friday, August 28, 2009

If You're Happy And You Know It, Clap Your Hands!

I was reading a column a few weeks ago on personal finance from The Motley Fool. Or at least I think it was the Motley Fool. I've just spent the last hour or so searching for the article and failed miserably. I found it last week, but apparently my google skills are failing me right now. If any of you can find this and point me to it so I can link it up, please do.

Anyway, back to my point. Pretend I have one.

Sometimes you read something, and it sticks with you. There was a line in the column that I will unfortunately have to paraphrase that I keep coming back to. It keeps making me think, and it's really powerful to me.

Essentially, the point of the author was that he sold a stock at a modest profit. He locked in that profit, and in order to be happy with what he's doing and -- really -- happy with life, it's important to learn to be content with the return you have rather than regretting if maybe you could have made a little bit more. If you're happy with earning $100 when you sell something, you can't let the fact that maybe you could have made $105 make you miserable.

And it isn't just with selling stocks. To me, this is applicable in so many facets of life. Life isn't about being perfect. It's about learning to be happy with what you have. You don't have to have a bigger, better (fill in the blank).

Can you imagine how different our lives would be if we could learn to be happy with what we have? How much less general crabbiness would be out there. Cheating on spouses would decrease dramatically. People wouldn't feel the need to push themselves into debt.

And that regret we feel after making decisions? Gone. We were happy with the choice we made at the time we made it, and that's good enough. How freeing is that?

I'm doing my best to take this philosophy to heart. It's really hard to do sometimes, but I'm working on it. And you know what? It's making me happy. I really wish I could find the actual article to share with you, as I know I'm not saying it quite right.

Think about it though, and let me know if it speaks to you. Or share with me the philosophy that's sticking with you. I could use a few more mantras outside "No blood, no foul!"


Mandy August 28, 2009 at 9:51 PM  

Great point! And I know just want you mean about a phrase sticking with you. For me, lately, it has been "Even if you don't like where you are, make yourself bloom where you're planted." Or something like that. I heard this on the radio one morning and it was so fitting for me. Right now, my husband and I really hate where we are living. We moved here a year and a half ago for his job and we have yet to warm up to the place. I've been letting it get me down for a long time. But then I heard that phrase and I said, "Ok, what can I do to make myself happy here?" And I just started focusing my energy on things I could do to have fun and it's gotten a lot better.

That's my story and I'm stickin' too it. Good luck finding that article.

Jenn M August 28, 2009 at 11:00 PM  

That is very true. If we could just be happy with what we have, life would be great. I'm trying to see the roses, amongst the thorns now. Not seeing the thorns but only the rose.

Laura August 29, 2009 at 12:16 AM  

the motto at the school my 5 yo attends part time as enrichment to homeschool is
Works because it is cool hippie school on a 700 acre farm run by graduate students we have been using it when trouble arise around here...but I like be happy with what you have too

WeaselMomma August 29, 2009 at 6:02 AM  

How about "Make mine a double" for another mantra!

septembermom August 29, 2009 at 6:20 AM  

It is better to be happy with what he have instead of wondering if "the grass would be greener" somewhere else. I've been trying to "create my own happiness" and not depend on everyone's approval or opinion to determine whether I'm happy with me. Positive mantras are really good for the mind and soul.

Angela August 29, 2009 at 9:33 AM  

Very good point! I have been thinking a lot about this recently as I struggle with not quite loving my job as much as I used to. Yet I am grateful to have one, as so many don't. So I am trying to keep a better attitude about things. I wish I could say I am naturally low-maintenance, but I'm not ;-) So it's a challenge, but I'm trying!

I think I am going to start participating in the "Thankful Thursday" that my friend Jane is doing. I need to refocus a bit and be thankful that we are so blessed.

Hope you are having a great weekend! I am off to Costco and then Publix and then...then, into the KITCHEN for the first weekend in forever!

Michelle August 29, 2009 at 3:27 PM  

Mandy - That's definitely a key one. There's ALWAYS a way to find happiness, and it's so important to have the right attitude for it. I'm glad it's starting to work for you!

Jenn - And in a way, wouldn't it be great to not even see the thorns but to just be so enthralled by the roses that you can see nothing else?

Laura - I've heard that somewhere before, and it's a really great one, especially for school. I can only imagine how much fun the hippie school on the farm must be!

Weaselmomma - I know it wouldn't surprise you that I read that "double martini" instead of double and mantra, right? I like yours.

Kelly - Yep, it is about creating your own happiness... and then not worrying about what anyone else is doing or about what you *could* have been doing.

Angela - Bummer on your job, although I'm right there with you. The Thankful Thursday definitely has the right aim. I love the focus on the positive!

Pat August 29, 2009 at 4:41 PM  

Since my hub and I retired, we've been a lot less interested in acquiring stuff. We have no debt, we have a 7-yr old car and a 10-yr old car that work just fine and I rarely do shopping any more other than for groceries. We're active in our church, do volunteer work and we're very happy with our lives. It is definitely freeing to be content with what you have.

Unknown Mami August 29, 2009 at 6:43 PM  

I really needed to read this right now. Thank you!

Melisa with one S September 2, 2009 at 4:29 PM  

Yes, yes, yes.

Many of the world's problems are caused by people who are not happy with what they have. I always keep this in mind: Simple Pleasures. :)

Michelle September 8, 2009 at 1:20 PM  

Pat - And that has to be such a great feeling! That's definitely the goal to aim for.

Unknown Mami - So glad I could provide a timely post :)

Melisa - Ok so that would have been a much better post title. Where are you when I need you? ;)

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