The investment industry is obsessed with benchmarks or indices (plural for index). There are literally hundreds, even thousands of them! A market index essentially tracks the performance of a specific selection of stocks or other securities which is representative of a particular market or economy. Standard & Poor’s, Dow, Wilshire, Russell, etc. have an index to represent even the most obscure markets (anyone interested in the Dow Jones Summer/Winter Games Index or ever-popular MonkeyDex?)! The point is to provide a comparison between the performance of various markets and/or investment portfolios. It’s fuels the “Keeping Up with the Joneses” equivalent of the investment world.
Despite the abundance of investment related indices, there is no S&P 500 equivalent for the joy in your life! Yet, social media has created a forum where people are constantly comparing their life experiences to the highlight reels of others. Occasionally a heartbroken or frustrated individual will frankly post about their kid’s failing grades, flooded basement, or missed mortgage payment, but this is by far the exception. Typically, social media is a display of overachieving children, vacations in Tahiti, and love stories rivaling Romeo and Juliet. Inundated with a constant barrage of other people’s seemingly perfect lives can leave readers feeling like their own lives are inadequate and unworthy.
Friends, this toxic behavior is based on false pretext and can rob you of your personal joy! Let’s break this down a bit:
Just because you are only privy to the good in their lives doesn’t mean that they aren’t struggling in some respects. Everyone has to stand in line at the DMV, deal with a crappy boss, or clean up dog throw-up at some point—it’s just part of life, even if you don’t see it.
Anyone else’s good fortune doesn’t take away your opportunity for joy. One of the beautiful aspects of this world is that there is unlimited opportunity for happiness and joy.
It’s different for everyone! Some people are thrilled to travel while others relish the comfort of home. I always wanted a successful career in finance while my sister thrived staying at home with her kids and making Martha Stewart look like a slacker. Both of us are happy with completely different life styles.
It’s up to you to figure that out, and then go and relentlessly pursue it! For me, joy includes my coffee first thing in the morning (bonus points if my husband, Ted, delivers it to me in bed), eating vegetables grown in our own garden, watching my children grow and accomplish new things, the inspiration of my husband’s service in the Navy, and starting the 994 Group with Ted. Each of these experiences make my life rich. Some are seemingly small and don’t require much effort, but are steeped in thoughtfulness. Others, like starting the business, require a lot of saving and planning. All of them are meaningful though, and it’s also my sincere joy to help others pursue their own rich experiences!
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