What Amount Do You Need to be Okay?
Humans are strange. We seem to need a lot to be happy but at the same time we need very little.
My all time favorite quote is: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven."
From Paradise Lost, by John Milton. To me this quote exemplifies what it is to have a human mind.
As I work primarily in the tech sector, I have experienced along with my clients the stress and turmoil that this past week has brought.
I have a desire to offer words of wisdom and relief to those who are suffering.
Yet, I find that oftentimes attempting to make people feel better during difficult times is unempathetic and futile.
What I can do is offer some things I have learned in my own life that help me during hard times.
I grew up in an extremely small village in Ukraine. We did not have running water, TV, or even cars.
A few years ago, I was reading Little House on the Prairie with my kids and was struck by how similar the books were to my childhood.
Excited by the prospect of an author with a similar experience as mine, I Googled when the books were set.
I was shocked to learn they were set in 1870-1894.
Some of you may notice this about poverty, maybe from your own experience or maybe from travels but it acts as a time machine. Poverty makes you live as if in the past.
But I digress.
What I wanted to share is that when you grow up with little you realize that it takes very little to make people happy.
Granted there is a baseline amount of income that is required for happiness according to research.
Once above the amount, there is little improvement in happiness.
It is critical to know what your minimum is for happiness is because it allows you to remain mentally resilient during times in which there are high amounts of stress around financial trends.
Have you asked yourself what your breaking point is? What amount do you need to be okay?
Maybe it is the naiveté of youth, but some of my happiest times were when I was living in the least affluent circumstances.
Remember you are mentally stronger than you think. You have more support than you are accounting for and your baseline level of financial security is probably lower than you might think.
I'm not sure if this framework will help you, but thinking about times in which I had very little help me feel more able to face any challenges that may be ahead.