Entrepreneurs

In Pursuit of Happiness

Want to lead a happier, healthier and wealthier life? Start by practicing self-control.
3 min read

This story appears in the October 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Most of us have heard the phrase "health, wealth and happiness." But what actually brings health, wealth and happiness? Is it success, and success alone?

My poor dad was a successful man. He had a Ph.D. and was well-respected and accomplished. But he had poor health, very little wealth and was rarely happy. He smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, eventually dying of lung cancer. He made a lot of money as a government official but never invested it. He wasn't happy with his success. In his mind, he needed to accomplish more.

So, my thought for you this month: Are you becoming healthy, wealthy and happy? Or are you sacrificing these ideals for success?

Most of us know what to do when it comes to our health and our wealth. Health is primarily about diet and exercise, and wealth is about earning and investing. But happiness is a bit more mysterious. We know to think positively, but thinking positively instead of realistically can have tragic consequences. For example, positive thinking won't prevent you from going bust if you're foolish with money, and it won't reduce your percentage of body fat.

In fact, it's often the pursuit of happiness that causes the most problems with health and wealth. Many people are obese because they eat and drink to feel happy. And others shop to feel happy, even if it means maxing out credit cards.

Many books discuss the subject of being happy and the factors that affect happiness. One factor in particular helps entrepreneurs lead happier, healthier and wealthier lives: self-control. I'm happier if I have the self-control to do the right things even if I don't want to do them. In business, sometimes that means studying more instead of working more.

Sometimes we make business decisions because they make us feel happy in the short run. But in the long run, we become less healthy and less happy. Sometimes doing the right thing might not make us happy temporarily, but we feel better later.

To me, doing the right things, even if I don't want to do them, is one of the keys to being truly happy. Today, whenever I feel unhappy, I simply ask myself, "What am I not doing?" or "What am I avoiding?" Then hopefully, I have the tenacity to do what I know I need to do. That's the only way we won't forfeit our health, wealth or happiness in our pursuit of success.

Robert Kiyosaki,author of the Rich Dad series of books, is an investor, entrepreneur and educator whose perspectives have changed the way people think about money and investing.

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