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Notes on happiness

Morgan Housel’s characterization of happiness in his book The Psychology of Money really stuck with me.

He cites a study[1] performed by Karl Pillemer where Karl interviews one thousand elderly individuals looking for important life lessons. Not a single person in one thousand mentioned material objects or being richer than their peers—instead, participants valued meaningful relationships and spending unstructured time with family and friends.

We all have to work and pay the bills though, so how do you get more of this unstructured time? By living below your means, and saving any extra income that comes your way.

The feeling of having more time and options and some wiggle room for error helps to reduce stress. It can make you more comfortable with taking risks that align with your goals and interests. It can make you feel less guilty about “the hustle” so you can focus on what’s really important: the people around you.

It turns out, happiness is control over your time.

  1. This study was a part of The Legacy Project and included in Karl’s book 30 Lessons For Living. ↩︎