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Book Club: The Quest for Happiness


We are on chapter 4 this week in our book club. The quest for happiness…that is what it boils down to, doesn’t it?

Most everything we do on a daily basis is either directly or indirectly related to seeking fulfillment, happiness. How we spend our time? How we spend our money? Even how we spend our thoughts?  They all come back to seeking to fulfill an intrinsic need within ourselves.  Vicki refers to it as happiness.

Three Questions

This quest for happiness is broken down further by three key questions.

  • Are you receiving fulfillment, satisfaction and value proportional to the life energy you expend on a a task? Hello! This is a question that runs through my head constantly now. Especially at those moments when I want to just sit and veg in front of a screen. But also at times when I consider a job opportunity or client project.
  • Is this expenditure in line with your values and life purpose? I have given up so much and settled for so much in the last few years in particular that really are not in line with my values or purpose. Now I’m really focusing on a finding balance between work and my life’s purpose because my work is certainly not it. It’s a means to an end.
  • How would my use of energy change IF I didn’t have to work for money? This one has about given me an ulcer. My life would be completely different if I didn’t have to spend so much of my time working for money. And this is the key to the change I am implementing now as I build my business – balance, maybe not evenly balanced, but more balanced.

Balancing Responsibility with Passion

I believe many who have read this blog for a while would say for most of the last 14 years, I have skewed my life’s priorities towards my passion rather than responsibility. Resulting in the financial mess that is my life. They are right.

I suck at that balance. But in the last couple of years, I have made much more responsible decisions (not all, but a lot more.) And as a result, have HATED my life. I’ve hated living. Oftentimes, I haven’t seen much purpose in living.

Now I know life is not about being happy. And I am constantly preaching that life is not fair and we all have to do things we don’t want to. And here is where my point comes in, there has to be a balance.

A balance between passion and responsibility. Not saying that your passion has to cost money or make you less responsible. But it is important to have both in your both life. Otherwise, you lose yourself. Lose your purpose.

I know, I’ve definitely been there this year…ALOT. I’m so grateful for a new perspective.

Discussion Questions

  1. What’s on your bucket list? Are you taking steps to actually get to fulfill this wish list?
  2. What is your calling, the work of your heart and soul?

Previous Book Club Posts

Your Money or Your Life Introduction

Chapter 1: What is Your Enough?

Chapter 2: What are you Trading Your Life Energy For?

Chapter 3: The Opposite of a Budget

Chapter 4: The Quest for Happiness


  • Reply JayP |

    I like to think of the passion/responsibility dynamic as a sort of continuum based on the level of financial security you have. For example, if someone was hungry and homeless then passion would be irrelevant and they would need to do whatever possible to eat and find shelter! On the opposite end, if you are very wealthy, then you could be 100% able to follow any passion. Most of us are somewhere in between – but finding out where we think we are on the continuum gives us a lot of direction as to our options. Every day I move a little further along(better off financially) and that gives me great confidence for the other parts of my life, and lots more options. You have to do the hard part first.

    • Reply Kate |

      Totally agree. I think having a passion is a sort of privilege. I think of my father who worked for the Post Office for my whole life. He hated it pretty much every day, but had a steady check, benefits, and now has a pension. It kept a roof over our heads. So he gave it 40 hours a week and it let him do what he enjoyed in the rest of his time.

      I also am passionate about not worrying about money (because my mother was much less responsible than he) and there is pretty much nothing that I enjoy more or am more passionate about than paying off my credit card each month, not worrying about having enough money for basics, and having money to retire.

      • Reply Hope |

        I see your point, but I would also argue that your father’s passion was providing for you. I realize I may get my hand slapped for saying this, but IMO men, in general not all, are wired to be providers; while women, in general not all, are wired to be nurturers. I realize that is a very generalized statement, but when a person is thrust into a role that is not in their nature, the conflict of “passion” versus responsibility are in conflict. This is where I have found myself.

        As a single mom, I have been required to do it all. Working 70+ hours a week to take care of the “responsible” part of my life, left me with little energy for the “passion” part of my life. Making life…seem pointless at some point. I don’t think I’m saying this well. But I hope you get my point.

    • Reply Hope |

      Maybe passion is the wrong word. Perhaps it’s the purpose for which we are wired. I’m not referring to someone’s hobby, but more the reason you live. What satisfies that little voice in your head/heart that gives your life purpose.

      Even without a lot of extra financially, I find myself perfectly content when I am able to mother my children. When I am able to balance the time and energy I must work to support us (responsibility) with the time and energy I can put into raising them. That is the balance I am seeking. Over the years, I have skewed both ways and both with disastrous results.

  • Reply Gayla |

    “But in the last couple of years, I have made much more responsible decisions (not all, but a lot more.) And as a result, have HATED my life. I’ve hated living. Oftentimes, I haven’t seen much purpose in living.”

    I am baffled by this. I don’t understand at all. I realize you had a rough job experience, and I’m hopeful your unemployment claim works out for you. But when I don’t make responsible decisions, my life starts to become chaotic, and I do not thrive in chaos. Everyone has to make hard choices — but to generalize my process, I strive for peace. In relationships, in health, in business, and definitely in personal finances.

    • Reply Hope |

      This has specifically been the result of a lack of balance between being responsible and living my passion, or purpose if that’s a better word. I find when I am solely in the role of provider with limited time and energy for my family, life doesn’t really seem worth it. I am not sure I am saying this well, but I can’t be the only person who has gone through this.

      This feeling, I would guess, is very prevalent for single moms who have to do it all.

  • Reply first step |

    Hope, I don’t know that it’s “passion vs. responsibility” as much as struggling to delay gratification. I understand your children are important, but no one can give their children everything they want all of the time, regardless of financial status. Get yourself on better financial footing, and then some extras can start again. Your children have already had many experiences that are good memories. It’s fine to take some time to focus on meeting only basic needs while working toward full employment. And you’re probably not going to be happy during this time, because not having enough money is the problem. I think another idea you need to consider is how it makes you feel to provide extras for your kids vs. whether it’s what they really want.

    I suggest reading JD Roth’s blog, Get Rich Slowly, specifically articles about his childhood. He talks about how his father was always starting businesses but didn’t know how to sustain them and always spent money as soon as he had it instead of saving portions of his windfalls. JD’s story sounds similar to how your children’s experience has been. Please read it to see if you can draw any parallels to how you’re living now.

    • Reply Hope |

      I LOVE Get Rich Slowly, well, I use to before he sold it. I was an avid reader for years.

      Believe me, my kids do not get everything they want…in fact, I and they would say they have far less than most of the kids they have met here. And frankly, there’s not much I would change in that regards even if I did have extra money. I decided a long time ago (even before we went minimalist) that stuff was not something my kids needed. And thankfully, I’ve been able to barter for most of their experiences (5 years of Tae Kwon Do training, 4 years of gymnastics training, homeschool co op, and so on…)

So, what do you think ?