By: Dividend Sensei
As a small business owner I work, a lot. In fact my typical week looks like this. Wake up at 3 AM, write two to three articles (I usually write 54 a month in total), and then respond to all the comments (average of 55 per article). It usually means 12 to 14 hour days, six days a week. In addition I usually read for another two to three hours. To keep up with the events of the world, as well as gain further inspiration and knowledge about the economy, investing, and life in general. While most Americans are not self employed entrepreneurs putting in 80 hour work weeks, plenty of people can relate to working too hard and sometimes wondering “what is it all for”? Well I recently read an article that highlighted an interesting phenomenon and one that I’ve actually discussed in a recent article.
Studies have shown that happiness directly increases with income, but only up to about $75,000. Total happiness seems to peak at $150,000 ($161,000 globally), and then starts to decline. This makes sense if you understand the psychological principle called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, published by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper, “A Theory of Human Motivation”.
It states that there are five factors to achieving optimal happiness, in ascending order of importance. The first are the basics, things like food, clean water, and shelter. Next is safety, including both physical and financial. In other words to be happy you first need to have enough to survive, but also feel confident that no one is going to murder you to take your bare essentials.
After that we get to the social factors, specifically family, friends, and most importantly in my opinion, dogs. This provides us with emotional support and a sense of belonging. Once you have those things you next yearn to feel good about yourself, to have a good sense of self esteem. The final step is the one that trips up so many people, including myself. Because it is a true conundrum; self actualization. That’s the belief, desire, and need to live up to your own maximum potential.
So why is self actualization so hard? Because we’re social animals, and part of what we need psychologically is to be accepted. To be loved but also consider ourselves worthy of love. Or as one of my favorite authors, Cullen Roche, puts it, “Human beings find happiness by finding affirmation in their existence.”