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Why successful people are unhappy

#DoHappy Book update: I have just completed the first edit of my book. It’s almost 62,000 words. My writing has become better as I have progressed so the end of the book is better than the start! It’s time to send it to the editor, get some feedback and do another round of editing. A big thank you to everyone’s support so far. It means a lot. Without further ado, let’s talk about billionaires and villagers. 

“Billionaires are miserable, unhappy people”, said Abigail Disney.

Abigail is the granddaughter of Walt Disney Co. cofounder Roy Disney. She is wealthy. She also knows a lot of wealthy individuals. At an event hosted by the Patriotic Millionaires, she gave a powerful and emotional speech about how ‘billionaires are miserable, unhappy people’. These are people who seemingly have everything or at least, the capacity to have everything. How are they miserable?

Abigail describes jealousy as a problem quoting issues like, “but his plane is bigger than mine…but he has more commas than I have”. She also asserts that gluttony, the desire and pursuit of “more, more, more”, is an affliction that many billionaires face. I don’t write this to demean billionaires. I have never met one or talked to one. I am sure, or at least hope, there are many billionaires who are happy and wealthy. I just want to highlight a point.

You can have everything and anything and still be unhappy.

Compare this to the family I met in Vietnam. For a week, alongside one of my good friends, a small group of kind people from all over the world and local builders, we built a house through Habitat for Humanity for a low income family. Brick by brick. Every morning, a small van would collect us from the hotel. We were dropped off at a local temple. We strolled along a winding path from the temple, passing barefoot children playing on the ground, fishermen preparing to catch food for the day, and people peacefully lounging in hammocks until we reached the worksite. The family we were constructing the house for frequently visited to observe the progress. The house was nothing special. Yet, there was something remarkable about this family—they exuded happiness. Their constant smiles, mirrored by their neighbours, left me pondering: how could they be happier than some of the world’s wealthiest individuals?

Expectations and reality 

Happiness, or unhappiness, can boil down to the relationship between two things. 

  1. Expectations.
  2. Reality

If you are happy, your reality will exceed or at least equal your expectations. 

Happiness = Expectations ≤ Reality

If you are unhappy, your expectations will exceed your reality

Unhappiness = Expectations > Reality

Happiness is not a game of absolutes. It is a game of relativity.  It is not about what you have. It is about what you expect relative to what you have. If you understand expectations, you can fast track your path to happiness. 

If you look at the happiness equation, you will realise that to become happier, you have two options.

  1. Increase your reality.
  2. Lower your expectations.

It’s easier to lower your expectations. If in doubt, just lower your expectations. 

If you found this article useful, share your biggest takeaway with me. Just reply to this email. For bonus points, share it with someone you care about.

Something I have been pondering 

“All things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation to all things.” – Dr Stephen Covey
I have been wondering how I can be more intentional with what I create mentally. Visualisation seems powerful. Cultivating love, kindness and peace has also been sensational. 

Much love to you and of course myself,

Dr G

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