Money gives you freedom and choices.

You can decide where and how you want to live when you have a good income or financial resources. On the other hand, when you do not have much money, choice may be something that you cannot afford. The choices available to you may not really be choices at all.  But how do we decide that we have enough?

Our sense of well-being, comfort, and peace of mind has less to do with how much money we have — and everything to do with how we think about it. In most cases, regardless of how much we actually have in the bank — we only have enough when we think we have enough.

So when is enough really enough? For me, I began to feel comfortable when I crossed the $80,000 income level.  Above that level, emotional well-being corresponded to my individual temperament and life circumstances rather than any extra income. Below that level of income, my happiness was diminished by higher levels of stress related to climbing the ladder.  In that endeavor enough was never enough.  I could always make one more call or plan one more sales presentation.

The level of a person’s expectation rises steadily with the level of income. While increasing income does not change a person’s emotional happiness on a daily basis, it does make people think of themselves as happier and more successful.  This confirms that happiness and feelings of well-being are less dependent on the amount of money you have, and very dependent upon what you think about it.

If you are so fortunate to be earning an amount that gives you the sense of well-being, don’t compromise or sacrifice yourself to make more. If the increased income does not come relatively smooth and naturally into your life, then think carefully before you pursue it. Maybe, probably, perhaps what you are making right now is enough.

Take time every single day to look around and be thankful for the things in your life. Remember, whatever we focus on tends to grow in our experience. If you spend more and more time being grateful for the small things in your life, they could add up to being way more than enough.

Develop your own emotional measuring stick for personal happiness and well-being. Most of us use an external measure far too often and then are surprised when we do not measure up. When we get in touch with those things that make us happy — regardless of whether anyone likes it or “gets it,” then it does not matter how much money you make. Love jogging or gardening or riding your bike? Then do it. Enjoy playing with your kids or your guitar? Then do it. Like to read or hang out with your friends? Then do it. Most of the things that make us smile and feel happy are unrelated to our income. Start separating those qualities and focus on them.

Find something to get passionate about. Have you ever been around someone who is on a mission? If we don’t think we have enough, there is a chance that we are focusing on a fear of loss.  Fear comes into our life when we believe that we will not get everything we deserve OR we are going to lose everything we have. People who are passionate about things are focusing on something that so inspires them that they are not worried about gain or loss. Get involved in something bigger than yourself and you might be surprised at how “good enough” and “rich enough” you feel.

Start hanging out with people who are happy and satisfied with their life just as it is. If you spend time with people who are never satisfied and always wanting more, more, and more, you’ll soon feel the same way. Instead, surround yourself with those who realize life is much more fulfilling and spectacular than how much they make or what they own. Hang out with people who have passion, who regularly help others, and who know what makes them happy from the inside-out, and you’ll start doing the same.

 Instead, it might be SMART to start realizing that our well-being and peace of mind start within. That is probably the only way to discover we have more than enough just as we are, right now.

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