Most people focus on trying to make money and trying to be happier. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, there’s just one teensy problem…
It doesn’t work.
Why not? Because both money and happiness are the RESULTS of other things.
Therefore, rather than focusing on trying to make more money and trying to be happier (which are results or outcomes), the truth is that we need to focus on what causes money (income) and what causes happiness.
As illustrated by the Income-Happiness Scale above, there are two main factors that cause Income and Happiness: Activities and Aptitude. Activities are the things you do every day—what you actually do with the minutes and hours of your day. There are two kinds of Activities you can do each day: Low-Value Activities and High-Value Activities.
Aptitude means two things: how good you are at doing a certain Activity and how much you enjoy doing it. Therefore, there are two aspects of Aptitude: things you Suck At (and don’t enjoy doing) and things you’re Great At (and enjoy doing).
The Hobby Quadrant
Let’s start in the lower right-hand corner of the Income-Happiness Scale. When you have a Low-Value Activity that you’re Great At (and you enjoy), you have what’s called a Hobby. What’s the definition of a Hobby? It’s something you enjoy that you don’t get paid to do. Naturally, there’s nothing wrong with having hobbies. There is, however, one slight problem, and it comes when I ask my clients a simple yet profound question: Do you own a business, or do you own a hobby?
How can you tell the difference? Simple. With a hobby, you’re having fun—see how it’s high on the Happiness axis—yet you’re not making much (or any) money—see how it’s low on the Income axis. As it relates to your business, that’s why it’s crucial to ask whether you own a business or whether you own a hobby.
The Busywork Quadrant
Moving to our lower left quadrant, we have Low-Value Activities that you Suck At (and don’t enjoy). That’s what I call Busywork. We live in a world of infinite distractions. You can watch cat videos on YouTube until the end of time. You can waste countless hours on social media. Or you can simply spend the days of your life doing Activities that don’t grow your business and don’t give you either the Income or the Happiness you want.
Notice that in the Busywork quadrant, your Activities aren’t producing much money, and you’re not enjoying them either. So you don’t even get the benefit of having a Hobby. In fact, one of my clients told me on one of our coaching calls, “Noah, I own a Busywork!”
Do YOU “own a Busywork”? Or are you just spending too much of your valuable time there? Why is this such an important question to ask? Because TIME is the one resource that can never be replaced.
The Golden Handcuffs
Moving to our upper left quadrant, we have High-Value Activities that you Suck At (and don’t enjoy). That’s what I call the Golden Handcuffs. This is where you hate the work you’re doing and feel unhappy and unfulfilled but make good money so feel like you can’t leave your job. It’s called the “Golden Handcuffs” because it’s awfully hard to leave a job that pays well, even if you hate it.
Living Your Dream
And finally, we get to the place where we all want to go: where you are doing High-Value Activities that you’re Great At (and that you enjoy doing). That’s where you’re in the quadrant I call Living Your Dream. Why do we call it Living Your Dream? Because when you’re doing High-Value Activities that you’re great at AND that you love doing, you’re not only living your dream…
It’s like going to heaven without the inconvenience of dying!
When you’re Living Your Dream, notice what’s happening to your Income. Your Income is going up, but your Happiness is going up too. In fact, there is no limit to the amount of Income you can create and no limit to the amount of Happiness you can experience.
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