What do Happiness and Success Have In Common?

 

Happiness and success are connected. They are intertwined in our lives by similar thoughts, feelings, and aspirations.

We have compiled definitions of success from leadership classes, coaching and mentoring sessions, and research. Based on the key words used in each definition, we categorized the definitions into one or more representative concepts. The results were clear: People use similar concepts to define happiness and success, and the two are interrelated. Happiness was mentioned in more than 25% of the definitions of success, and the top two concepts in the definitions of success were the same as the top two concepts in the definitions of happiness.

 

Concept Success Rank Happiness Rank
Contentment (contentment, satisfaction, and fulfillment) 1st (tied) 1st
Others (building positive relationships & creating a better world) 1st (tied) 2nd
Achievement (and accomplishing goals) 3rd 4th
Happiness 4th N/A
Wealth (and financial stability) 8th Not Mentioned
Success N/A 7th

 

“Happiness is more than a mere pleasurable sensation. It is a deep sense of serenity and fulfillment.”          

Mathieu Ricard

 

The concept of “Contentment”, which includes contentment, satisfaction, and fulfillment, was the top concept mentioned in the definitions of happiness, by a significant margin. It was also one of the most identified concepts in the definitions of success. Different people, in different environments and at different times, all came to similar conclusions when they defined success or happiness. Basically, they all agreed that feeling content, satisfied, and fulfilled in our lives is foundational to being successful and to being happy.

The next highest-ranked concept in the definitions of both success and happiness was “Others”. Others includes building positive relationships with friends and family, contributing to the community, and helping make the world a better place. So most people place a high value on how we help others when they define happiness and success.

The concept of “Achievement”, which includes achieving or accomplishing goals, was the third most mentioned concept in the definitions of success, and was the fourth most mentioned concept in the definitions of happiness. Achievement is part of success, but most people also believe we will be happier if we are achieving.

Interestingly, the concept of acquiring wealth or financial stability was a distant eighth for the definitions of success, only mentioned 6% of the time; and it was not mentioned at all in the definitions of happiness.

When we started this research, our assumptions were that most people would include the concept of acquiring wealth and financial stability in their definitions of success. What we found was that the concept of “Contentment” was significantly more prevalent than the concept of wealth in their definitions. They indicated that money in the bank, a nice house, or a nice car, are all just means to help them feel contented, fulfilled, and satisfied.

 

book_imgRW_Alexias_Legacy_book3d Happiness Hacks Cover

buy from amazon white small

About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Is Your Chase for Success Killing You?

On August 15th, 2013, Moritz Erhardt, an intern working for Bank of America in London, died from complications created by working three days straight without sleep. He was doing a “turnaround,” which consists of an employee working all night, taking a cab home at 6 am, asking the cab to wait while he gets a quick shower and change of clothes, then hopping back in the cab to go back to work. He never got back in the cab. He was found dead in his shower. What happened?

Moritz’s death is a dramatic and immediate example of how our culture encourages many people to blindly chase success while being oblivious to the negative impacts it has on their happiness, on their health, and in certain cases on their lives. For most people these things develop over decades. The signs are there, but they are much more subtle and obscure.

I have worked with dozens of people over the past decade who speak about, research, and live happiness and success. We have analyzed definitions of success collected from hundreds of  people and found that most contained the word “happiness,” or at least concepts related to happiness. Most people connect success and happiness in their minds but have difficulty making the connection in their actions. Much like Moritz, only to a lesser degree, they pursue success single-mindedly, with the expectation that they will be happy once they achieve success; and that the more success they achieve, the happier they will be. Unfortunately that formula is backwards.

Success doesnt lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Personally, I have been in business settings for over 35 years, and I have seen hundreds of examples of people working hard and unwittingly sacrificing happiness in pursuit of success, which they think will make them happy. It starts out innocently enough–not having time to go out with friends, not getting home in time for dinner with a spouse or kids, not having time to exercise or pursue a fulfilling hobby–but soon amounts to missing positive moments in life because they are busy trying to build a life that will be full of positive moments.

The drawback doesn’t reveal itself until 5 or 10 years down the road, when a goal set early on has been achieved (a raise, a promotion, or a nice car); but for some reason, the satisfaction and fulfillment that were supposed to accompany the goal…don’t. I have seen both men and women break down crying from the stress of wanting to give 100% in their work, yet feeling sad and unfulfilled because they were missing time with their new baby or significant other. Have you ever met someone who felt they’d missed their biggest opportunity? It’s sad. Because missing important moments in your life leads to stress, and stress leads to unhappiness, disease, and a host of other challenges.

One example is a woman I worked with. Her name was Tina.

Tina was poised and confident, the kind of person that her peers wanted to emulate and every manager wanted to hire. She showed great leadership and had tremendous success early in her career. Five years, two promotions, and one baby later, she was sitting in a restaurant, tears streaming down her face from the stress of trying desperately to be successful in so many areas of her life while wondering what happened to the promise of happiness. She is one of hundreds of examples that played out in many different ways, but always had the same root cause. The long hours of hard work and dedication were never paid off with happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction. They only led to more long hours and hard work in trying to reach the next goal, which itself was supposed to lead to happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction.

Let me say it again: Success doesnt lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

 

The challenge is that people get caught up in an ambitious chase for success and unwittingly delay or even bypass their opportunities for happiness with the belief that happiness would come after the project was finished, after the next promotion, after the next big bump in salary, or after they land that next perfect job. Too often, it doesn’t come as expected, and they end up forever looking over the horizon believing that happiness is just over the next hill. Those I have observed who did find happiness made simple, uncomplicated choices and changes in their lives. They found the secrets of happiness, and as a result, also became much more successful in the process.

 

Do you think your chase for success will lead to happiness?

 

book_imgRW_Alexias_Legacy_book3d Happiness Hacks Cover

buy from amazon white small

About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

How Happy and Successful Do You Feel?

Most people feel relatively happy and successful, and at the same time are looking to become even happier and more successful. It is natural to feel like there is more and to want to move to that next level. It is an instinct that helped our ancestors survive and prosper. The challenge is that many of us don’t know what steps to take to become happier and more successful, or we don’t know the correct steps. See if you identify with any of the examples below.

Have you ever woken up to the alarm and hit the snooze button too many times because you just didn’t want to get out of bed and go to work? Have you ever had that feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach where you can’t imagine going back into that office and facing that sadistic supervisor who seems to want to make your life miserable? What about that crazy manager in the other department who makes your life difficult just because she can?

Have you ever left the office at 8 or 9 pm with four more hours of work to do and three impossible deadlines for the next day? Have you ever felt so overwhelmed you wanted to cry or hide somewhere? These feelings can be especially confusing, given that six months ago you were on top of the world and everything was going great. Sometimes we feel as if we are on top of the mountain; at other times, down in a deep valley. What’s going on?

Have you ever worked and worked and worked to get a promotion or raise you deserve, been really excited for about 30 days, and then wondered when the next raise or promotion would come? Have you ever gotten your life perfectly in line with your dreams, had everything on track, and then sat back and asked the question, “Why don’t I feel happy? I should feel happy; what’s wrong with me?”

Have you ever felt like what you did just didn’t seem to matter and wasn’t as important as what everyone else was doing? Have you felt like no matter how hard you tried you just couldn’t make a difference? Does it ever seem like you are constantly banging your head against a wall and nothing ever changes?

These feelings are all natural and are indications that, armed with a little more information, you can take steps to become happier and more successful. As part of our culture, we learn to chase success as an end result rather than a daily habit. We are taught that the reward for success is happiness, and some day we will get to be happy if we just fight through and spend enough time being unhappy.

Happiness and success are connected. They are intertwined in our actions, but they are not a pinnacle we reach. They are daily habits and practices. They are small things we choose to do every day that eventually lead to milestones of success along a journey that lasts our entire lives. The antidote to the feelings described above is to choose positive actions every day that will help us feel contented and fulfilled, that will help us feel like we matter and can make a difference, and that will help us feel hopeful and excited to get up every morning.

Research also clearly indicates that happier people are healthier, have better relationships, and are more successful. Stress kills. So the antidote to stress, which is the cause for many health challenges, is happiness.

The good news is that there are steps you can take, and choices you can make, to be happier.

ConnectingHappinessandSuccess.com

 

book_imgRW_Alexias_Legacy_book3d Happiness Hacks Cover

buy from amazon white small

About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Happiness is a Daily Habit

“Happiness is not in our circumstances, but in ourselves. It is not something we see, like a rainbow, or feel, like the heat of a fire. Happiness is something we are”        John B. Sheerin

We want to be content, and we believe that getting that big house, promotion, or raise will be the thing that makes us feel fulfilled. Unfortunately, it is not achieving those goals that provides contentment. It is actually the daily process of working toward those goals that results in contentment, satisfaction, and fulfillment. It is not what we ultimately achieve, but what we achieve every day.

It doesn’t work to try to be eventually happy or eventually successful. Life is better if we can find happiness and success every day in our daily adventures. Like John Sheerin mentioned above, happiness is something we are. The nice house will not bring contentment; it is simply a milestone on our daily journey to be happy and successful. The contentment comes from the satisfaction of knowing how much hard work and grit we put in on a daily basis to get the house. The roadblock to happiness and success is not in wanting to reach these milestones. It is that we are waiting for success and happiness rather than implementing it and experiencing it every day.

You can learn habits and techniques that will help you practice happiness every day.

 

ConnectingHappinessandSuccess.com

 

book_imgRW_Alexias_Legacy_book3d Happiness Hacks Cover

buy from amazon white small

About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

School for Start-ups Radio Interview

Click Here to Listen

 

Why Entrepreneurs are Less Happy – at 5 minutes 55 seconds

 

Why I Teach Happiness and Success – at 10 minutes 25 seconds

 

Defining Happiness – at 12 minutes

 

Why Happiness Leads to Success rather than Success Leading to Happiness – at 14 minutes 35 seconds

 

 

The Secrets to Happiness and Success – at 20 minutes 40 seconds

 

 

 

How to Be Happy and Successful with Bad Bosses

I recently read an article from FindMyShift.com, titled the worst bosses in film. https://www.findmyshift.com/blog/the-worst-bosses-in-film. It provided a great summary of the different types of bosses we run into. The film versions are exaggerated but still highly representative of the types of bosses most of us have experienced at some point in our lives.

 

I thought it would be helpful to provide ideas about how you might deal with each kind of boss in a way that will help you be happier and more successful.

 

Let’s start with two secrets that will help you be happier with any kind of boss.

 

The first secret is that your bosses, no matter how mean and nasty they are, don’t make you unhappy. It is not what they say or do that makes you unhappy, it is how you choose to internalize what they say or do. They don’t have control of your life or your happiness, you do.

The second secret is having an “Autonomy” account. This is 3 to 6 months of salary in a bank account. We are all happier when we have autonomy, the ability to choose actions that will impact our lives. An “Autonomy” account allows you to get up every morning and decide if you want to go to work or not. You could decide not to work because you have a choice. Your savings will get you through a job search. More importantly it gives you a cushion to make the right decisions at work, even if the boss might fire you. It lets you sleep better at night because you have a cushion if you get laid off. Start building your “Autonomy” account today, even if it is as little as $100 per month.

 

Now let’s talk about how you deal with each type of boss.

 

The “I Own You Boss”

 

Let’s start with the “I Own You” boss. “They are perfectly willing to ruin your life to get what they want and they expect you to be grateful for letting them do it….Think Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada.” This boss is driven by ego, and although hard to see, rampant insecurity. They need friends, support, and an abundance of confirmation. You will be happier working with this boss if you can objectively measure and communicate the value you provide to the organization. It will help you understand how you really are making a difference and give them a reason to treat you with a little more respect. You should also communicate clear lines of what you will and won’t do or put up with. Let them know you don’t mind working late, but you won’t miss dinner with your family. You will endure the petty comments but won’t put up with abuse or insults. Although it seems counter intuitive, remember their birthdays or other special events in their life. Invite them to lunch or dinner with you and your peers. Rather than being scared or intimidated by them, treat them with dignity and politely provide an example of how they can treat you the same. Help them be a little happier and it will help you be a little happier and lot more successful.

 

The “Unforgiving Perfectionist”

 

So how do you work with the “Unforgiving Perfectionist,” The tyrant who wants everything and will compromise nothing? Although Darth Vader represents the extreme version of this boss, there is also a much nicer and almost friendly version, the boss who is striving for perfection, but cannot seem to realize that nothing is ever 100% perfect. They are never happy with any completed project or any work you do because they always know they could have done it better. Rather than celebrating successes, they dwell on problems and mistakes.

A great way to start with the perfectionist boss is by clarifying and quantifying expectations up front. When is the project due, how many widgets do they want you to make, exactly what do they want you to deliver? If the project is due on the 10th and you turn it on the 9th, it is hard for the perfectionist to complain. However, they will find something that is not perfect. Although this is their perspective, you will know that you completed your work on time and to the best of your ability. So, no matter what they say you can feel good instead of feeling incompetent.

Another tip is rather than declaring a project complete, you ask for advice about how to make it better. Beat them to the punch by declaring your own imperfections and opportunities for improvement. They will be less motivated to find faults if you find them for them. The most important tip is not to take it personally. Although, it may seem like they are picking on you, they don’t waste their time with people they don’t think could potentially get it right, and they are way harder on themselves then they are on you. The perfectionist wants to be happy, but has such high expectations for happiness that they never feel like they have really found it. Don’t let their eternal search for the perfect happiness make you unhappy as well. Be proud of who you are; faults, mistakes and all. Let your imperfect happiness be the example they need, so they can let go of “perfect” and embrace the fulfillment of “really good”.

 

Conclusion

 

The most important thing to remember about bad bosses is that they are human too. Many of us are bosses now, and the rest will probably be a boss at some point in our career. The sad truth is that statistics show that only about 1/3 of us will be good bosses. The rest of us will be “bad bosses” and make similar mistakes as the bosses described above. So how do you want to be treated when you make those mistakes? Do you want to be forgiven and helped, or persecuted and demonized? Treat your “bad boss” the way you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes. Help them become a better boss. Help them be happier. Making that effort will make you happier and more successful.

 

Check out The Worst Bosses in Film: https://www.findmyshift.com/blog/the-worst-bosses-in-film

Next week we will discuss how to be happier with the “Unscrupulous Boss”, the “Ghost Boss”, and the “Incompetent boss.”

How to Be Happy and Successful with Bad Bosses: Part 2

This is a follow-up to an article from FindMyShift.com, titled the worst bosses in film. https://www.findmyshift.com/blog/the-worst-bosses-in-film. The article provided a great summary of the different types of bosses we run into. The film versions are exaggerated but still highly representative of the types of bosses most of us have experienced at some point in our lives.

 

I thought it would be helpful to provide ideas about how you might deal with each kind of boss in a way that will help you be happier and more successful.

 

Let’s start with two secrets that will help you be happier with any kind of boss.

 

The first secret is that your bosses, no matter how mean and nasty they are, don’t make you unhappy. It is not what they say or do that makes you unhappy, it is how you choose to internalize what they say or do. They don’t have control of your life or your happiness, you do.

The second secret is having an “Autonomy” account. This is 3 to 6 months of salary in a bank account. We are all happier when we have autonomy, the ability to choose actions that will impact our lives. An “Autonomy” account allows you to get up every morning and decide if you want to go to work or not. You could decide not to work because you have a choice. Your savings will get you through a job search. More importantly it gives you a cushion to make the right decisions at work, even if the boss might fire you. It lets you sleep better at night because you have a cushion if you get laid off. Start building your “Autonomy” account today, even if it is as little as $100 per month.

 

Now let’s talk about how you deal with the unscrupulous, the ghost, and the incompetent boss.

 

 

The “Unscrupulous Boss”

 

The “Unscrupulous Boss” will lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want and to get noticed or promoted by upper management. This is one of the few bosses where quitting is a good option. Integrity is everything and you don’t want to get caught up in or associated with anything that could damage your reputation or your integrity.

 

“Your reputation is more important than your paycheck, and your integrity is worth more than your career.” Ryan Freitas

 

If your company is unwilling to recognize your boss’s lack of integrity, then you shouldn’t be a part of that culture. There is no solution for working with a boss you don’t trust, who takes actions that are illegal or unethical, or worse yet expects you to. Although it may not seem like it at the time, there is always a better option.

 

There is also a more common form of the “Unscrupulous Boss” that is not as blatant or as clearly unethical as we described above. They tend to cross the line every now and then and seem to be good at heart, but just sometimes make bad decisions due to pressure or ignorance. Unfortunately you still can’t afford to be associated with this type of boss. You have to report their illegal or unethical actions immediately so that you don’t end up becoming a part of the crime or cover-up. The careers of the people with good intentions are often ruined while the truly guilty seem to find a way to slide through unscathed. Don’t stay with a boss who takes actions that are illegal or unethical. Your reputation and your integrity are way too important. You will be much happier and more successful when you find a more positive environment.

 

 

The “Ghost Boss”

 

The “Ghost Boss” is becoming more and more common, especially as the number of people working from home swells exponentially. They never seem to be around and are hard to find when you need them. They are constantly on business trips, in meetings, or just working from a different location. The good news is they are not necessarily a “bad” boss, they are just difficult to work for if you don’t put the right structure in place.

The secret to being happy and successful with a “Ghost Boss” is to schedule regular meetings and provide regular updates via text, email, or voicemail. Send them your goals at the beginning of the week or month and then show them that you accomplished those goals at the end of the week or month. Have an agenda ready for each meeting and ask them regularly what else they need from you. With a “Ghost Boss” it is usually better to solve the problem and tell them your solution, decision, and next steps rather than asking them to solve the problem. They trust you or they would be communicating more often. Reward that trust by making decisions, taking action, and keeping them informed. A “Ghost Boss” can provide you with a lot of autonomy and opportunity. Create a structure that works for both of you and you will be happier and more successful.

“Incompetent Boss”

The “Incompetent Boss” doesn’t know the industry, their particular position, or just doesn’t know how to lead. There are all kinds of reasons the Incompetent Boss gets their job. Maybe they were really good at a lower level job, maybe they have a good friend or family on the executive team, or maybe they have just been around so long, they got promoted because of seniority. Whatever the reason, they are still your boss and you still need to find a way to deal with them in way that makes you happy and successful.

 

The conundrum with an “Incompetent Boss” is they know they are incompetent, but they don’t want anyone else to know. Even though it is obvious to everyone, their worst fear is that anyone finds out. So they will try to hide their incompetence at all costs and will become very defensive any time it is brought to light; which means they will make you look bad, rather than take the blame themselves. So the secret to managing an incompetent boss is to help them look good. Subtly give them ideas and tips to get them on the right track. Implement what works instead of exactly what they tell you when you know it doesn’t work. They will quietly appreciate your help even if they don’t give you public recognition. Take the role of an unofficial leader and help your team be successful. Don’t let people stand around and wine and complain about your boss’s incompetence. Do what needs to get done so that you all feel good about the team’s accomplishments.

 

An important note: Don’t wait for your boss’s incompetence to be recognized by the higher level management team. Unfortunately, that could take a long time if it happens at all. Instead, become a leader on your team and look for other opportunities that come your way as your leadership is recognized throughout the organization. Help your team and your “incompetent boss” be happy and successful and you will be happier and more successful.

 

Conclusion

 

The most important thing to remember about bad bosses is that they are human too. Many of us are bosses now, and the rest will probably be a boss at some point in our career. The sad truth is that statistics show that only about 1/3 of us will be good bosses. The rest of us will be “bad bosses” and make similar mistakes as the bosses described above. So how do you want to be treated when you make those mistakes? Do you want to be forgiven and helped, or persecuted and demonized? Treat your “bad boss” the way you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes. Help them become a better boss. Help them be happier. Making that effort will make you happier and more successful.

 

Check out The Worst Bosses in Film: https://www.findmyshift.com/blog/the-worst-bosses-in-film

Alternatives to the Minimum Wage: Advancing the Discussion Instead of Choosing Sides

My son wrote this for a college paper.  His logic seemed to make sense.

There has been a large majority of Americans who believe we need to raise our Minimum Wage to solve some of the economical and ethical problems this country is facing. Such problems include lifting low-income people out of poverty and helping many of them get out of an endless cycle of debt. It is believed that if we don’t help the low-income wage earners we have a significant risk of increasing the income gap which can have extremely negative impacts on society. It is believed that as the gap between the “haves” and “have nots” increases, the potential for civil unrest and a possible end to the American way of life also increases. The Democrats are focused on raising the minimum wage to $15 while the Republicans are focused on not raising the minimum wage. I believe that we as UTA students, can find answers that fall somewhere in the middle. We need to take care of our citizens and help close the income gap, but we can and should find solutions that address the concerns of both parties. We need solutions that don’t make you choose between Democrats or Republicans. We need solutions that are good for America.

Democrats want to raise the minimum wage to help keep hard working but unlucky low wage earners out of debt and low-income families out of poverty. The Republicans argue that raising the minimum wage will create other problems that will hurt low-income households in other ways. They argue that as soon as the minimum wage goes up the number of jobs available to them will go down. Doubling the minimum wage will be an extra labor expense to companies since they will have to pay more not only to minimum wage earners, but also to anyone who is currently making less than $15 per hour. This increase in expenses means lower profits for the companies. To compensate for lowered profitability the companies will either raise prices, reduce the number of available jobs, or both. So, raising the Minimum Wage could negatively impact low-income families by hitting them with higher prices and fewer opportunities to work. There are several alternatives that would address the concerns of both groups by providing some increase in minimum wage while easing the negative profitability impact to the companies.

The first alternative is to distinguish between the family and the individual. When the minimum wage was created in 1938, the goal was to make it a living wage, but not a living wage for a family of three but a living wage for an individual person (Worstall, “The 7 most Dangerous Myths About A $15 Minimum Wage” 1). Taking that into account, this would make the average modern day living cost in the US to be just under $10.10 per hour, which is still higher than what the Federal minimum wage is at now (Berman). So, let’s take it a step farther, during this time, around the 1940’s, a large percentage of the American work force were paid the minimum wage. That number had decreased in 1979 to 13% and continually decreased until finally in 2014 only 3% of Americans, working an hourly wage, worked at or below the minimum. Of that 3% only 37% are the major contributor to their family’s income (Haugen 1). This means that a large portion of minimum wage earners do not have a family in need of their support. So in order to satisfy both parties, one solution could be to keep the minimum wage lower for the individual, around $10.00, then raise according to whether the employee is married or has kids. A married person would receive an extra dollar on their minimum wage, and person with children would receive an extra dollar per child (up to three children). This not only provides more for families, it encourages marriage and family values, which might be more attractive to the right wing who currently oppose raising minimum wage. This would also be good for companies as it would help families, but have much less negative impact on their profitability.

Another alternative that reduces the negative impacts to company profitability yet still helps low-income individuals make more money is to distinguish between teens and adults. Raising minimum wage could actually be harmful to teens looking for a first job. Teenagers usually have very little job experience and in most cases the only thing they can put on their résumés is a simple award they won in middle school. It takes time and money for companies to train inexperienced employees, and there is additional challenges caused by the high likelihood they will make a lot of mistakes before they get it right. This makes it quite a risk and hassle for employers to hire a young teenager. “In 2009, when they raised the minimum wage more than 600,000 teenagers’ jobs just disappeared.” (Dunkelberg). It becomes an endless loop of teens looking for job experience but are unable to find jobs because companies are not willing to pay the new higher minimum wage for an inexperienced teen. A solution to this challenge is to not raise the minimum wage for anyone under 18 years of age. Inexperienced teens get paid a rate that matches their ability and experience. Once they become adults; we are assuming here that turning 18 makes you an adult, then they get paid the new minimum wage. So once again, this alternative is good for everyone. Companies are better off because they don’t have to pay higher wages to inexperienced teens. Teens are better off because they have more opportunities to get jobs where they can gain experience and learn new skills, and the low-income wage earners who need to support themselves are better off, because they will get paid a higher minimum wage.

One other alternative that completely eliminates the negative profitability impact to companies and their need to cut jobs or raise prices, while also raising the potential income for low-income wage earners is a wage subsidy. “A wage subsidy adds dollars-per-hour to the worker’s wage, on a sliding scale that pays the highest subsidy for the lowest wage and phases out to no subsidy as the wage increases”(Cass). It would be completely funded by the government and is basically raising the Minimum Wage for the low-income earner without changing the profitability of the companies. It could be administered with vouchers given to the workers by the government or through the companies directly, similar to FICA withholding and tax filings, only in reverse.

The previous solutions were directly addressing changes to the minimum hourly wage. There is another solution that helps increase the annual income of low-income wage earners but is administered through the government and doesn’t involve the companies they work for. It consists of increasing the funding and amounts paid for the Earned Income Tax Credit, a program that already exists and is expected to benefit 26 million households by providing more than $60 billion dollars in tax credits in 2015(Tax Policy Center).

The Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC was proposed in the 1970’s, signed by President Ford and then expanded by President Regan (Hungerford and Thiess). The main idea behind the EITC is to provide an incentive for those in poverty to work harder and longer hours. The EITC comes in the form of a Tax Credit and requires families to be aware of it and to be able to claim it when they file their annual tax returns. The amount paid through the EITC changes based on marital status and number of children. The amount of the tax credit works on a sliding scale based on the amount of income they earn. An individual or family could have received a tax credit up to $6,143 in 2014 (Tax Policy Center). It is a great program that has many benefits. “In 2013, the EITC lifted about 6.2 million people out of poverty, including about 3.2 million children” (Policy Basics). It is based on willingness to work. Rather than raising the Minimum Wage, we could increase the EITC. There are two ways to increase the EITC, increase the number of low income people eligible or increase the amount given per person. In order to match a $10 dollar minimum wage it would need to increase by 50% and the EITC amount per family would have to double to match a $15 Minimum Wage. The pros of the EITC are that it doesn’t directly impact businesses so it doesn’t negatively impact hiring levels and prices. Some of the negatives of the EITC include that is it is only paid at the end of the year so it doesn’t help low-income wage earners on a daily basis. Also, people don’t necessarily understand it or how to apply for it on their taxes so without professional tax help they can miss out on the opportunity.

The blog, “A False Choice”, suggested that a good compromise solution might be to combine both raising the minimum wage and expanding the EITC, but both by lower amounts. By doing this you get all the benefits of both while making sure that everyone who is in need is covered.

The solution to closing the income gap and ending the Minimum Wage debate isn’t to pick a side and argue until you win. The solution is to invite vibrant discussion, listen to other people’s concerns and points of view, and then craft solutions that help the most people possible. Both Democrats and Republicans have good ideas and reasonable concerns. Making everyone happy will be an impossible task. Rather than choosing sides and endlessly debating the merits of our own points of view, let’s find compromise solutions that although a little painful, we can live with and support. Let’s stop fighting to win as Democrats or Republicans and start finding a way to win as Americans and America.

Happiness Hack #65 – One Small Step at a Time

header-image

Accomplish One Small Thing

Sometimes the chaos of life can be overwhelming.  It seems like our to-do list gets longer instead of shorter every day and each project we complete seems to lead to two more projects. It can be sad and frustrating just thinking about everything that has to be done.

The secret is to step back and pause. Pick one small thing you can accomplish. Fold the laundry, clean a room, or write a list of next steps for your next big project.  Find something small you can accomplish in less than 15 minutes and get that one thing done.  Getting one small thing done will give you that little bit of confidence and sense of accomplishing something so that you can find that next small step. We all have mountains to climb, and we can’t jump from the bottom to the top. We have to take one small step at a time.

Find something small you can feel good about accomplishing in a short period of time and then build from there. You will feel happier and be more successful.

 

book_imgRW_Alexias_Legacy_book3d Happiness Hacks Cover

buy from amazon white small

MyHappiness App

Try the MyHappiness App

About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Happiness Hack #64 – Send Yourself a Happiness Email

header-image

Take 15 Seconds to Create a Memory

Spend around 15 seconds each day sending yourself an e-mail about something that made you happy.  Keep it quick and easy, but do it every day so it becomes a habit.  You can keep it to 15 seconds or spend more time if you have it. Type your memory into the subject line of the e-mail.  Start your subject line with “Memory:” so you can quickly separate it from other e-mails, and then add your happy thoughts.  You can manually or automatically move the emails into a memories folder so you can go back and review them at your leisure.  If you have more time, you can add a picture or spend time describing your experience in more detail.  For fun, you can share with the people who were a part of your happy memory.  Over time you will create an electronic journal of happiness.  Any time you are sad or need a boost, just review some of your past happy memories.

This activity combines three different areas of happiness research.  First, remembering three great things that happened during your day makes you happier.  Second, writing down your thoughts and feelings and especially writing your personal stories also helps you be happier.  Lastly, remembering the small events in life can make you as happy or happier than focusing on just the big events.

Send yourself daily happiness e-mails and you can create a reservoir of happy memories you can access whenever you need them.  Plus it will make each day a little happier.

You can also use the MyHappiness App to track your daily happiness and keep a history with pictures and recommendations for happiness.  You can access it on iPhone or Android in the app store by searching for MyHappiness or on your browser at MyHappiness.io

 

 

book_imgRW_Alexias_Legacy_book3d Happiness Hacks Cover

buy from amazon white small

MyHappiness App

Try the MyHappiness App

About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Last updated by at .