Money and Happiness Shouldn’t Be Mutually Exclusive

We're so often told that "money doesn't buy happiness" - but you should strive for both.

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How many times have you heard the saying, “money doesn’t buy happiness”? It’s true, you can’t go online and one-click purchase emotions, but there’s no reason for money and happiness to be mutually exclusive.

Money is the consequence of adding surplus value to a market, while happiness is the consequence of following your path. See how things can go wrong? If you’re making a lot of money, but not doing what you love, you won’t be happy. However, if you’re good at what you love, and it’s something the world needs, you’ll be happy and wealthy.

Here are 5 ways to make a lot of money — the happiness part depends on you and your journey, but you can be happy doing any one of these.

1. Start a business

2. Buy a business

3. Become a celebrity

4. Become an expert

5. Take shortcuts

1. Start a Business

Starting a business means creating something from nothing. In economic terms, it means creating surplus value in a marketplace. Peter Thiel’s infamous entrepreneurship bible, “Zero to One,” describes the idea in a self-explanatory fashion.

Going from zero to one is difficult, not only because you start from scratch, but, as Thiel describes:

“Zero to One moments in Business happens only once. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network.”

Only 1 in 250 people are millionaires, if there are 36 million millionaires and 7.7 billion people. A whopping 94% of startups fail.

If you’re one of the lucky few who happened to “succeed,” you might consider an IPO as an exit. But there are 41,248,000 businesses in the US, and in 2018, there were just 190 IPOs. That means that about 1 in 225,000 businesses IPO.

The odds of truly great levels of success are almost negligible, so realize this before you drop everything to try and pursue a business.

It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as there are many ways to increase your odds. One of the businesses I started, the Security Token Alliance, had lower odds of failure and a higher chance of success from the get-go.

As a think tank, operating costs are lower than many other businesses, and I saw clear needs for such a think tank in the industry. By starting with minimum viable products, I was able to create the biggest think tank in the industry, without much risk.

2. Buy a Business

If starting a business is going from zero to one, then buying a business means you start at one.

Of course, this isn’t any sort of get-rich-quick scheme or magic bullet for success – there are none in the world of entrepreneurship. One of the key challenges of buying a business, besides needing a lot of money, is that you may not be as passionate about the business as if you were the founder.

The founder was in it since the inception, turning an idea into reality. When you later adopt what someone else made, you may be less motivated to continue working on it.

However, if you happen to find a struggling business, and you have the insights into what it needs to succeed, then you just may have found a great purchase opportunity.

3. Become a Celebrity

You might think that becoming a celebrity is all about luck or natural talent. I don’t believe that either exists. If you want a very vivid example of the sheer perseverance and dedication it takes to become a celebrity, look no further than Justin Bieber’s Instagram.

4. Become an Expert

Owning a business or being a celebrity isn’t for everyone, but you can still use your skills to make it big without doing either. Of course, many businesspeople are experts in their fields, but it’s very much possible to be an expert, and offer your skill-set to the market without owning your own business.

Look no further than 19-Year-Old Santiago Lopez, who makes millions of dollars hacking computers.

5. Take shortcuts

No, I’m not telling you to rob a bank. I’m telling you to imagine your future self, and the kind of wealth you’ll have decades from now. If you can imagine yourself as a millionaire at age 70, wouldn’t it also be possible to be a millionaire a lot younger?

Sure, it’ll be much more difficult, but the fun lies in the challenge. To accomplish these goals in your youth, you have to take shortcuts. One shortcut I took was dropping out of college, saving 4 years of my time. Another shortcut I took was skipping the corporate route, and going straight into entrepreneurship. Yet another shortcut was being involved in many businesses – not just one.

There are many paths to becoming wealthy, find one that fulfills you, and you’ll find happiness, along with the money.

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