Buying Happiness

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The verdict is in – money can buy happiness. But maybe not in the way that you’d think.

There’s no item in the world that can bring happiness just by owning it. Buying a Breitling Transocean or a Mercedes-Benz GL63 won’t bring you lasting happiness. Sure these things make you feel good about yourself, but that’s different from happiness because that good feeling disappears when you take off the watch or when the car gets old. Poof! The feeling is gone.

There is however, a way to buy happiness that will last for the rest of your life. Want to know the secret? Buy memories.

Money spent creating fun memories really does buy lasting happiness. A beach vacation or Disney cruise while the kids are little will keep you smiling even when you’re in a rest home. And great memories don’t care how expensive something is. We’ve made priceless memories at the lake playing in a cheap, used ski boat. For the price of a Rolex just imagine the memories you could make bungee jumping in New Zealand*!

Forget watches and cars – buy memories! Go places and do things with the people you love. That’s how you buy happiness!

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*So I’ve heard...

Attic Therapy

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Moving is a stressful event. But maybe not for the reasons you think. Sure there’s stress in transferring utilities and negotiating your mattress down the staircase, but it’s what’s in the attic that gets you fighting with your wife over stuff that doesn’t matter.

That’s because the attic is where we put things that we don’t want to deal with. Whenever we have something we really don’t want to discuss it goes into the attic with the noble intention of getting to it “someday.”

Life can feel manageable while all that baggage is hidden away and not discussed. But if we ever decide to move somewhere new then we’re forced to confront each unopened box and unfinished project, hold up each item to the light, and decide if it needs to remain in our life. 

Maybe your “attic” is a box under the bed. Maybe your “attic” is a death that you’ve never unpacked, or an abuse you’ve never confronted.

Moving is healthy. It makes us deal with what’s in our attic. And it’s all worth it when we arrive at a better place. Don’t let unresolved issues from your past keep you from moving forward in life.

Defend Your Perimeter

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Throughout history every military has known the importance of establishing a strong perimeter.

A clearly defined and well-defended perimeter not only protects us from outside threats, it also keeps us from spreading our resources and energies too thin. It allows us to limit our efforts to the area that matters most, and those inside can relax knowing that those who stand watch are nearby, not running off towards every potential opportunity.

Perimeters within relationships work the same way. We create these relationship boundaries by saying no to people and activities that wear us out, create tension, or keep us apart. Establishing things we will not do, places we will not go, and days that we are not available will keep us from spreading our personal resources and energies too thin.

Even good things like kid’s travel sports and volunteer work can sneak inside our perimeter and rob us of our date nights and relaxing family weekends together.

Cordon off the most important areas for you and your family: dinners together, Saturday mornings with the kids, and date nights with your wife. Create a strong perimeter around these things that are important to you and protect them at all cost.