PODCAST EPISODE 244 – Equations for Happiness


      • 00:00 – Show Begins, Paul Welcomes listeners.
      • 02:10 – Article Breakdown – “How To Want Less”
      • 14:45 – Living in the gap.
      • 20:00 – You control your wants.
      • 21:25 – Closing thoughts.
      • 22:19 – Episode ends, thank you for listening.

[Tweet “Satisfaction equals your haves divided by your wants. #YourBusinessYourWealth”]

[Tweet “One of the quickest ways someone can produce satisfaction, is by simply being grateful, in practicing what you have. #YourBusinessYourWealth”]

[Tweet “Living in the gap means your living in between where you are now and where you want to be. While this can drive productiveness forward this wears on people over decades. #YourBusinessYourWealth”]

[Tweet “Throwing money at a problem is usually the worst way to solve it. #YourBusinessYourWealth”]



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Full Episode Transcription



Hello, and welcome back sound financial family. I’m so glad you guys could all be here today. I am Paul Adams, of course the co founder of sound financial group. And I’m joined by everybody’s favorite Mr. Corey Shepard, a man


who is no one’s favorite, Mr. Just so you like we just learned we don’t want to have pause at the end,


everybody’s favorite Mr. That we’ll just leave it at that. That’s good. Cory, thank you for supplying my punch line for me. But here’s what I want to talk about. Before we get to the topic today. And, you know, I kind of joked a little bit, but I think that’s gonna be our new term is that this is the sound financial family, those of you that are clients, those of you that tune into the show, and I cannot tell you, I was just talking to somebody, Cory, that you and I’ve known for years. And he says, I listened to every episode. But I had no idea. Now it’s


130 people in the world that I can think of? No, no,


by way, I’m hearing it more and more all the time. Or people say I listen to every episode. And yet, you know, we’re we don’t see the thumbs up, we don’t see the comments. All That Is that what I want to remind all of you just again, is just liking, subscribing, doing a review for the podcast, sharing it with a friend, it makes a tremendous difference. It makes some difference to us for sure. But it makes such a big difference for somebody else is going to be able to see a piece of content that’s going to bail them out of a financial situation, give them a new way of looking at the world or maybe give them boy the thing find more happiness in life. And that’s certainly what we’re hoping to achieve in our conversation today. So with that, Cory, I just wanted a little setup for this. The fact that I hear from people all the time that they’re listening to every episode. And it’s cool, like we love it. Me, it just fills our hearts and we get a chance to hear it because we don’t hear from everybody all the time. But we know how many people download the podcast every week. And so thank you all for being here doing what you’ve done and for sharing this, these episodes with people who you think would find meaning or helping them?


Yeah, absolutely. Speaking of meaning, found a cool article in The Atlantic by a gentleman named Arthur C. Brooks that I’d really love to talk about today, if you’re held to it, let’s do it. So title of this article is how to want less. And it’s this guy, this article, I highly recommend you read it. It’s I mean, he mentions NBA basketball, Mick Jagger 10th century Spanish rulers, like he is all over the place lots of great content. And what he’s talking about is happiness, and how to find happiness. So let me give you the the kind of outline of this equation that he builds. And then we talk about a few different things inside of here. But the thing that really caught my attention, and I mentioned this to Paul, last week is this equation where he says, satisfaction equals what you have, divided by what you want. So a lot of people think about satisfaction as having more and more and more things. But, or just that one more thing, or just one more thing, or just fixing the numerator of what that denominator is so, so powerful. And so so that was step one amazing now, in the context of his bigger equation. So happiness is made up of three calls a macro nutrients, satisfaction is one of them. Enjoyment is another en, meaning is a third. And I love this because I feel like so many folks Chase happiness without knowing what they’re chasing. And the least happy people are the ones who are most concerned with finding this happiness thing. But he’s talking about, well, what are these components here of of happiness, satisfaction, enjoyment, and, and meaning. And you notice like meaning, meaning usually comes from things you’re doing for people outside of your yourself. So you know, there are there’s hours of conversation we could have about about this. But you know, I just wanted to introduce this to everyone today, a few highlights for those who will never read it. And enough highlights for those who want to read it that they’ll go find. So, Paul, I know you had a few parts that were jumping out to you. You just did a mind for folks who were just listening. Paul did a mind blown kind of explosion hand gesture around his head,


but it If so, just this one part of the formula you don’t want anybody to miss. And I heard it differently when you said it. The first time I heard is happiness, your happiness is your halves, divided by your wants. And, and now by the way, I love the way the guy in the article parsed it apart the three components of happiness, including enjoyment, meaning and satisfaction. But satisfaction is the one that I think is actually most elusive to people. Most people know the something they enjoy or don’t enjoy. People know whether or not something has meaning or doesn’t have meaning. But this idea of being satisfied, produces all kinds of breakdowns for people because the way we go about satisfaction is is irrelevant, meaning it’s going and getting the next thing etc. So, the first thing is showed up for me is we have the numerator and the denominator, the numerator as the have denominator is the watts, which means I can a go through a path of cultivating contentment, where I have very few additional wants in my life. But I can also be in a practice of gratitude, because the haves are not objective. The haves have to be appreciated, have to be acknowledged have to be noticed. And I know so many people, you all listening know people who have a ton of luxuries of opportunity opportunities of unique experience, their haves are out the door. But they haven’t paused long enough to kind of take an inventory of the haves to take an inventory of what they’ve achieved so far in life. They’re just still totally obsessed with the wants. And it’s so easy to add a new want. But it takes a little bit of time and effort to spend time and notice your halves. So I thought one of the quickest ways people can produce satisfaction is by being in a some kind of gratitude practice that you actually remember all that you have. One of my quick easy ones Cory is the one we’ve talked about on the show a bunch of what would life be like in if 100 years ago today in this situation? It’s gonna be hot as all get out in here today. And I’ve got an air conditioner like this would have been a miserable experience of you and I sitting trying to record something probably the whole bunch of equipment that’s kicking off heat, instead of room indoor air conditioning 100 years ago. And yet that was normal. And so we can realize all the things we have up to an including the things that were here when we showed up that really make life pretty good, like air conditioning that I didn’t have to go create.


Well, let’s How about we go back 1000 years ago, if you’re talking about going into the past, so there’s this quote that he gives against a cook told you a 10 century Spanish ruler, the Emir and Caliph of Cordoba, Ahmed Al Rahman. Thoreau never heard


of Dr. Al Rahman. Yeah, way back, way back stomping grounds.


Old agar Muhammad.


So where this where this, where this fraction, this equation comes in, you know, the first thing I thought of was, oh, gosh, like, someone could have nine, and want 10, and they’re in trouble. And someone could have five and want to and they feel like on top of the on top of the world, and this ruler at about age 70. So number one, he lived long enough, didn’t get knocked off, but anyone underneath and trying to try like he’s doing pretty good. I have the quote was I have now reigned above 50 years in victory or peace, beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies and respected by my allies, allies, riches and honors, power and pleasure have waited on my call and the payoff. I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lat he wrote, they amount to Fort T. Wow. Like if ever there was an endorsement that more money, power, wealth, more things, doesn’t buy happiness. Now that could help some equations and other ways. And there’s some things that this guy didn’t have to deal with in his life, but lots of other people do. But two things one, every one of us listening right now, in a lot of measures lived a more decadent and abundant lifestyle than that right now.


Right now somebody making 60 grand a year lives in more decadent lifestyle than he did. Despite the servants in a lot of ways


like the servants. It’s hard to replace that kind of like waiting. So are some elements but any food, the quality of clothing, the comfort level, heat and age, just the AC, like you mentioned,


but just think about what it took to draw a bath. Somebody had to be ordered, you had to wait however many minutes, maybe hours if they needed to heat the water, whereas now you just walk over and flip it. Yeah, like, brush my teeth for 45 seconds and I could jump in the shower. Meanwhile, I didn’t even mind about perfectly good drinking water, just running in my shower for 45 seconds. He couldn’t do that. He couldn’t have instant hot water.


And to have 14 days out of that entire 70 years of life, 50 of them in ruling that he says are pure and genuine happiness that really makes me think of moments of wealth, our tagline for things that, you know, money might have been involved in helping to make happen, but it really wasn’t about the money, like money couldn’t have bought that moment. It just happened and you realize it was was there. And, and so you know what, whatever you want, go after your dreams have ambitious aims, but but realize that you, we have so much more control over that equation. It’s not about what we can get out of the world. But what we can cultivate happiness with right now, like you want to make yourself happier today. Be to be more grateful for what you you have, you don’t have to add more. You can add more in other ways. And it’s not a bad thing. But but that’s much harder, it’s actually much harder, and it won’t last.


Yeah, it’s harder. And to your point of like drugs in the system, right? You put drugs in your system. And eventually, they just don’t do the same thing that they did before it takes more drugs, you have to achieve bigger and bigger and bigger if your focus. And by the way, I don’t mean your focus is your listings, like you’ve been focused on your wants, like, you had this for me and you’re like, Well forget those halves. That’s not what we all did. We all just kind of grew up in a milieu where how you achieved happiness is get that next want. You know, there, there’s a personal development course Cory and I did years ago, where one section of the course goes something to the effect of once you graduated high school, you’d be like, that would be it. And then that wasn’t it, you know, I could probably just need to graduate college, and then that’ll be it. And that wasn’t it. And if I get the next promotion that’ll be that wasn’t it wasn’t getting married, I’ll probably be it. And it go all the way, you know, this kind of five minute thing and they get to like, then one day you’re 75 year old, sitting on your front porch going, This is it. And that comes from attempting to produce satisfaction by achieving your wants. But they’re not static. They move. People’s appetites change. You know that the person who flies first class all the time really likes the idea of a private jet. I did tell


somebody just buying commercial jeez, yeah,


exactly. You know, or, you know, I remember John Travolta’s daughter. This is a bit of an old story because kids are older now. But a lot of people don’t know he’s a super competent pilot, and one of the only privately owned triple sevens in the world that he flies, triple seven, I thought it was triple seven or 747, one of the two might be the same one, as it’s a full commercial airliner turned into a private jet. So his daughter was flying with some friends, and then went to the airport and did their thing. And they get on the plane and they’re flying first class. But the daughter was confused. And she looked at the woman and said, What are all these other people doing on our plane? Now, that was what she didn’t even pick, but her standards has already changed because she’d only ever flown up to that point with her dad on her dad’s aircraft. And that, that’s something we have to watch for, because that’s the milieu we’re in. And so the thing that I would most encourage anybody to do is just uh, you know, tonight, maybe as soon as you’re done, listen this episode, give your spouse a call, call good friend. And just share with them some of the things you’re thankful for that you have maybe some of them you just walked into, like air conditioning, maybe something you worked really hard for, like a car or piece of property or, you know, maybe this is the first year you maxed out your 401 K and you’re really happy about that, whatever it is, pause and be in some practice to notice what you have already. Dan Sullivan of the Strategic Coach talks about all the time that entrepreneurs and I think a lot of career driven professionals can find themselves living in the gap, the gap between where they are now and where they ideally want to be. And living in the gap. has its benefits, it could certainly drive you toward greater action. But after decades of that it really wears on a human being. Because there’s always more to be done. And we don’t stop often enough to reflect at what we’ve already accomplished. And so being able to be clear about the haves that you have, and then how many more wants Do you really want? Because it’s the other thing we don’t do. We get seduced into wanting. It’s the car commercial. It’s the the new cool thing your friend got, like all those things we get, we just get seduced into it. And it’s not like we paused and really sat back and thought and said, Wow, do I, you know, what, it really improved my life to have that extra thing. And what we realize oftentimes is, it’s cool. And by the way, most of you listening can probably afford whatever that thing is. But I that’s one big positive mind was, we’re about to get a tractor for this new property, but go get it, no problem. But then I realized, like, wait, I’m about to deploy more capital. And do I do I just have a job or two that needs to get done, I can rent a tractor or hire somebody to do it. Or do I really need to have a tractor all the time. And by pausing to see if that’s really a want, one of the things I figured out is, I don’t want it bad enough to be something that would drag down my satisfaction, and to pined for it. Because what I have is good enough as it stands now, like the ability to rent a bigger piece of equipment if I need it, and all the other equipment we already have. So I’m done watching it.


I’ll give you one I you know, I like to cook i that means you gotta use knives a lot and keeping the knives sharp is important because a dull knife is dangerous a sharp knife is super useful. And I’d have a sharpen my own knives for a while but haven’t done it for a while i i got kind of tired of it. Long story short, I’m looking at articles about knife sharpeners because of course I get seduced into wanting one by an Instagram as


Yes, Instagram is the best taking something we already have. Show us something I bought a holster got delivered using it all that I couldn’t find it went looking for it already had one just like it. Frickin Instagram. Frickin Instagram. Now I have two holsters, I gotta I just to be smart with my money. I have to carry two guns all the time, just so I use both.


So the so turns out number one quick review. Just just cool videos and Instagram doesn’t mean it’s a good good product. Surprise, surprise, surprise,


the quick review of what more Truer words have never been spoken for. Yeah,


first review I read was like, the good news is this will help you get a sharp knife, the bad news, you’ll never want to set it up again after doing it. And so you know, a quick chat with my uncle which moment of wealth right there just raining front porch, kind of sit having a chat things you can’t ever predict a replace. Beautiful afternoon talking about knife sharpening. Got me thinking, you know, I just got to do it again, look up some videos. Turns out a few quick hacks make it a lot easier than I thought it was. And I’m like, Really, I’m better with my hands and keeping a good angle than I even remembered. So turns out in about 10 minutes of kind of meditative time with something I love. I’ve got a better knife and a sense of accomplishment and I didn’t buy anything. I don’t have to pack another doodad in the house somewhere. You know, that’s where it’s really useful. Sometimes a new tool can be can make all the difference in the world. But just taking that moment of introspection, like what’s going to add to my life is just I think super, super useful because you don’t know what can come out the other side. And I think we’ve talked about this before but just throwing money at a problem is usually the worst way to solve. Especially money problems by the way.


Carry that’s so good. Because you’re right people do like especially with money problems is like well, we’ll just put more treasure in the catapult and throw it over the wall.


And monsters come in.


I Cory I love that story about the knife because what that did for me as I listened was twofold. One is you actually realized your halves were better than you thought while doing it. Right? The stuff I have is working. And second, you also had the opportunity to diminish the want naturally. You didn’t have to have a separate process to diminish the want. You actually just circle back to the haves and the want came out of the denominator that quit. Yes And so we’re not talking about big complex thing, y’all just this idea of, you know, you control the meaning, you know, you control or can choose a career and the way you spend your time that’s enjoyable. We just want to get you guys out of this satisfaction trap that what we are taught to do is get the new thing we’re taught to do something that deploys money, we’re taught that what can produce satisfaction is putting our kids in a different program or something else, but to realize that even in relationships, to be present to what you have, and then view that, like, view your wants, at least through the context of what you already have. So that the wants don’t have the kind of pull in one domain of life, like, say, money, or career that drags you away, like wild horses running to their achievement, except dragging you away from taking care of all the other aims that are important to you in your life. So satisfaction equals halves, divided by wants, and you can increase your satisfaction in life by diminishing your wants. And by maximizing or maximizing your personal realization and acknowledgement of what you have.


Already have. That’s great. Yeah,


yeah. So guys, we hope that this to our sound financial family has been helpful to you that this simple formula would be the kind of thing that’s not going to give you some instant conclusion. But like those little I don’t know what they’re called the singing balls, the Chinese balls, you roll around your hand, this is just something you’re just gonna roll around your head and maybe in some conversations and see what it does for you. If it does make a difference for you. We’d love to hear about it in the comments. We’d love to hear about and review or just send us a personal note because we’d love to talk about you on our future podcast and something you got from a prior episode. And as always, from Mr. Corey Shepard, and all of us here sound financial group. We hope that this has been a contribution you being able to design and build a good life



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