“Happy is harder than money. Anybody who thinks money will make you happy hasn’t got money.” – David Geffen
The other week I ran into a successful entrepreneur at dinner. We had a brief, but lovely conversation. As I was leaving, he left me with one piece of advice.
“Enjoy the journey.”
As I was walking home, I thought about how easy it was for him to tell me this. He made his money, he’s comfortable, and can do what he wants. But then I realized he missed it. He missed the struggle and the challenges you face when you’re working your way up.
I’ve been an entrepreneur for four years now. I’ve had some mild success and a ton of failures. I’ve failed so badly that I went out and got a real job. But I’m still an entrepreneur with dreams and goals, and I’m not going to stop until they’ve been met.
For me, it’s hard to “enjoy the journey” because I’m in the part of the journey where your teeth get kicked in. I’ve struggled with my bills, my self-worth, my identity, and much more as I’ve worked towards upwards mobility. I’m currently rebuilding my company’s entire software system because I fucked up version 1.0 so badly. But when I really sit back and think about it, I am enjoying the journey.
I’ve learned an incredible amount in the past four years. My knowledge in business, marketing, and technology has increased to the point where people come to me for advice. I’m by no means an expert, or where I want to be, but that’s a huge leap from four years ago. I may be rebuilding my software product from scratch, but it’s with so much more knowledge than the first iteration. I’m much more confident that I’ll be able to get customers with the new product. That’s exciting! I feel like I’m on the cusp of hitting my stride and really clicking on all cylinders.
Despite all my difficulties, I’ve fought through it and I’m happy. Finding happiness has been an extremely difficult journey. I used to think (and maybe still a little) that money would make me happy. Yet, here I am, one missed paycheck away from poverty, and happy. I have a career, I have my health (I must be getting old if I list that), my family, and I have friends. I have amazing friends. I have lifelong friends all over the country and good friends here in LA. It’s these friendships, of varying closeness, that have really elevated my happiness.
Below is one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen. It’s called, “Inventing David Geffen” and it’s amazing. It’s brilliant. David Geffen is a powerhouse. I absolutely loved learning about his journey. I see similarities in his journey and mine. I saw how he struggled with self-identity and happiness just like everyone else. This documentary is incredibly empowering. A must see.
Between my chance encounter at dinner and watching this documentary, one thing is abundantly clear; money and happiness are not mutually exclusive. Enjoy the journey. No matter how difficult it is, when it’s over, you’ll miss it.