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Being a millionaire vs being happy

I’m not a millionaire. But for most of my life, I’ve aspired to make it to this status. But lately, I’ve been questioning if it’s really that much of a good goal to have in life.


So I read this article by Jon Westenberg — who if you’ve not checked out, you should. His writing is the best around. It’s simple, direct and he knows his shit.

Anyway, I read his latest article ‘How to make a million dollars in cold, hard cash’ and it got me thinking. Mainly because one of his final lines read:

“But more importantly, you don’t have to have a million bucks as your goal. Your goal could be to replace your full-time salary.”

That struck a chord with me big time.

You see for the past few years I’ve grown tired of my job. Being a freelance designer I’ve grown frustrated with the industry, its ethics, purpose, and attitude. There’s a shit load that’s wrong with the commercial design and tech industry — way too much to go over in this post. But what I’ve discovered most is that it doesn’t make me happy. And I know I’m not the only sad designer out there.

There’s too many of us working at an unfulfilled level. Lacking purpose and drive in our day to day. Questioning why we’re being asked to move the button further down the page. Or make the logo bigger. ‘Sod your logo’, is what I often mutter to myself while thinking what the point to all this is. What am I offering to the world by churning out web designs?

Nothing is the answer — the only reason is selfish in that it pays well.

It pays me to live comfortably. To eat nice food, to live in a nice house and enjoy all the things we regularly take for granted in life. As much as it does my nut, I’m grateful for the industry I’m in to exist. And don’t get me wrong it’s not all bollocks. It’s the bigger picture of ‘why’ that I struggle with.

This might sound cold but I only became a designer to make money. To be successful. To be rich. To hopefully somehow become a millionaire from it. And I don’t even know where that came from. Maybe it’s my poor background or perhaps our modern day culture where success is measured only in wealth. Who knows, maybe both. But I’ve always had the drive to succeed. A mission to ‘make it’ in life.

The funny thing is most of us don’t know what this ‘it’ is. My therapist always asks that — “what is the it?”.

The ‘it’ used to be money. But after 15 years trying to make it, I’m not sure that’s what it really is.

You may or may not know about the new thing I’m trying to build. It’s called MindJournal and it’s all about raising awareness for the mental wellbeing of men. I’ve created a product that’s a physical journal, that aims to get guys writing. And I’ve got a ton of other things planned to drive things forward.

For the first time, though, I’m doing this not for money. Not to be a millionaire. But instead to be happy.

I’ve worked on MindJournal for just about a year now. And I’ve made zero bucks from it. It has all been funded by my freelance work and continues to do so. But what this has done has made my freelance work have a purpose. I now know why I’m doing the work I don’t enjoy — it’s so it can pay for this thing I’m making that I do enjoy.

Stop worrying about making money to measure your success. Start measuring your success by how happy you are. If you are truly happy in what you do, that’s when you have made it.

I’m not happy yet but I’m getting happier now that I’m doing something I enjoy. And knowing that I’m helping others is helping my happiness levels. MindJournal and the creative advice I now off my clients is a lot more rewarding than sitting behind Photoshop bashing out web templates.

Lesson: swap the ‘making’ for ‘being’. And ‘it’ with ‘happy’. Everything after that is a nice Brucey Bonus.


Please click the green heart if you enjoyed reading this. It keeps me writing and sharing.