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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

Book Club: What are you Trading Your Life Energy For?


If I had a hard time with the beginning of our book, this chapter completely turned it around for me! I enjoyed the description of asking the audience to define money. But even moreso, the definition of money.

Money is something you trade your life energy for.Your Money or Your Life Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin

Seriously. We all know that, but I never would have thought to use it as the definition of money. But it’s perfect, and truly encompasses the role money plays in our lives. What do you think about this money definition?

Your Real Hourly Wage

This immediately brought up the task of calculating your “real hourly wage.” Again, this process is logical, but we don’t always or often think about it in this context.

But my mind was blown away as I really started thinking about all the “money” categories that are so closely tied to work. We all know our wardrobe is affected and commute costs, but I don’t think we always factor in the time tied to those things. It put work in a whole different perspective for me.

Track Your Income and Spending

The second task in this chapter is more straight forward: track every cent which I began doing just as soon as I read this chapter so I would be ready to do the work after reading the book through the first time.  Did you start tracking then too?

I set up a basic spreadsheet on my phone and input every penny that went out and came in. This  included money spent from rewards, gift certificates and gift cards.  I won’t be able to reconcile the spending with any bank records, but for the purposes of this book, I have a 100% complete view of where my money goes in every form.

What is Worth Trading Your Life For?

My big, giant take away from this chapter really came with the money definition. As long time readers know, my work situation over the last few years has been pretty miserable, especially this past year when I stepped back into the corporate world. The joy and passion that filled my life previously has been drained.

I realize that much of that is the result of the ginormous amount of stress I’ve been under financially with job loss and being a single mom, but even moreso, I feel like I’ve given up so much of what I’m passionate about. I am no longer fostering kids. I am no longer homeschooling my kids. I’m not teaching at our homeschool co op anymore.

Instead of working to live, my life seems to be more of a working to live scenario know. It has made me pretty miserable. This book has really put that into perspective for me. How am I spending my life energy? And does it matter at the end of the day?

This has given me a new perspective and a new boldness if you will as I approach my job search. Trying some new tactics, new approaches, we will see if they pay off. (More on that in another post.)

Discussion Questions

Are you earning what you are worth? Elaborate.

What belief about money keeps you from being, doing or having what you want? Why?

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: Coming Monday, May 21st