top of page

A word on "Happiness"

Updated: Feb 19

In the FIRE movement, many emphasise "Happiness" as the ultimate goal of Financial Independence. If philosophical discussions aren't your thing, be warned: This may bore you to tears. You may want to skip to the practical application at the end of this post.

The issue with setting happiness as the ultimate goal is that it's easy to prioritise short-term pleasure over long-term objectives. Unless you're willing to acknowledge that happiness can have a timeline – sacrificing short-term happiness for long-term fulfilment – aiming solely for 'happiness as a goal' might not guide you toward a prosperous future.

Here's the catch: Happiness is an emotion, a result of enjoyable experiences. Life's beauty lies in its fluctuations, with both highs and lows. Pursuing constant happiness would mean an endless pursuit of pleasure.

But why does this matter? Am I just raving incoherently into a philosophical abyss?

It matters because, especially during tough times in our FI journey (or life in general), staying focused on the ultimate goal is crucial. The goal isn't just 'happiness... eventually' because there will always be moments when everything seems to crumble around us. The true aim is 'to create meaning and purpose in life.'

"He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how." - Nietzsche

Having a clear purpose and genuine meaning in life helps navigate through difficult times, much like weathering a storm.

While happiness often brings positive emotions and pleasure, meaning is about finding significance, coherence, and value in life. It's this sense of purpose that provides strength during life's trials and tribulations.

Practical Application:

  • Before treating myself to a Macca’s run that I have “earned” after a long day at work, I will continue to ask myself “15 or 50”?

  • I'll consciously remind myself that by freeing myself from financial burdens, I can dedicate more quality time to my family. This aligns with my desire to live a life filled with genuine meaning and purpose.

  • I'll ensure I am prioritising the aspects of life I really do care about, reducing the time and money spent aspects that are unimportant to me.

This approach serves as a robust defence mechanism against spending temptations driven by the pursuit of momentary happiness. The larger goal of achieving financial independence and a purpose-driven life holds far more significance and strength in guiding my decisions.

This is primarily focused on transforming our perspective regarding money, moving away from pursuing fleeting satisfaction. It involves transitioning from seeking short-term pleasures to embracing long-term significance. Prioritising meaning over immediate happiness can be instrumental in this shift.



bottom of page