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Defining Your Enough

June 19, 2015

The mister and I recently watched Hector and the Search for Happiness (we like Simon Pegg, ok?). The premise of the movie is, like the title straightforwardly states, that Hector, a psychiatrist, travels the globe to find the secret to happiness. Hector asks everyone he interviews in the movie — people of all cultures, races, socio-economic situations — “Are you happy?”

Are you happy?

A simple enough question, yet everyone is flummoxed or frustrated by it.

The one interaction that stood out the most to me, however, was the first in the movie between Hector and a wealthy businessman, Edward (played by Stellan Skarsgård). 

The scene unfolds as follows (at a private table, loaded with mounds of food, in Shanghai):

Edward: Whoever said money can’t buy happiness, f*** you!

Hector: This is incredible. Just incredible. Edward, I’m just curious … Are you happy?

Edward: When you work as much as I do, you don’t have time to ask yourself that question, and that’s why I’m thinking of quitting.

Hector: Now?

Edward: God, no! In another 20 million. Mind you, I’ve been saying that for the last hundred million. You bust a gut, you earn enough money, you retire, you do something you like … or nothing at all.

Hector: And then you’re happy?

Edward: Yeah. Or addicted. Divorced. Or dead. You pick a goal, you work towards it, makes you feel better. Just keep moving — that’s my motto. Maybe there’s only one way to retire and be happy.

Hector: What’s that?

Edward. Don’t retire.

Depressing, right? That scene alone made me question my own definition of “enough.” What’s enough for me? Is it hundreds of millions of dollars? Cars, a home, clothes? A passport full of stamps? How will I know when enough is enough?

I think everyone should define their point of enough; otherwise, you’ll end up like Edward, continuously working to make more and more of whatever you want more of until you’re dead because death is the only way to alleviate the unfulfilled feeling more leaves.

When budgeting and planning your financial future, take a moment and map out your goals. Where is your enough on the scale of 1 to happy?

Ask yourself these questions about your pursuit of enough, and give honest feedback:

  1. What do I want out of life? Do I want things, or do I want to retire (achieve financial independence) as soon as possible?
  2. Who am I really doing this (staying in a bad job, working nonstop, quitting a job, etc.) for?
  3. Am I waiting to be happy in the future (i.e. “If I just had more money…”, “If I just had a better job…”, “If I could just buy a house or get married…”)
  4. A year from now, if I decide to do X, what might this look like?
  5. What will it take for me to feel satisfied?

Happiness doesn’t have to only be in your future; therefore, enjoy the journey to financial independence or early retirement or debt freedom by defining your stopping point now, not in $20 million more dollars.

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  • Froogal Stoodent

    #1 is a great point–without knowing what your goals are, you can’t work toward them!

    I think you bring up an important idea here: being satisfied with ‘enough.’ Everything and everyone around us always tells us, “More, bigger, better!” It can be difficult to tune out those voices, but if you can focus instead on what you DO have instead of what you DON’T have, I think you’ll end up much happier, once you get used to taking a different view of your life.

    Great post, Mrs. Saver! 🙂

    • Save Money, Dammit!

      Great points, Froogal Stoodent! Thanks for reading AND commenting!

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