Your Happiness 401(k): Are You Budgeting Enough Joy in Your Life?

November 11, 2022

Turns out, rituals are tiny increments of “happiness savings” that you can budget toward your future self. And this can be especially helpful when you’re living a life on the road.

In my twenties I hated routine—but that’s because I confused it for stagnancy.

Anything that whiffed of repetition was automatically on my shit list: schedules, affirmations, habits, recurring obligations, things that put a vise on my freedom. I never wanted to live feeling beholden to a calendar, letting it rule my days more than I did.

To me, routines were for the weak: people who weren’t disciplined enough to get it done without force. When I’d get on interviews and they’d ask me about my morning routine, I’d laugh: every day is a new adventure, I’d say!

And, to be fair, it was. My goal in life has always been to out-fun everyone else. (Especially the self-righteous curmudgeons who had taken all of the “right” steps and were still miserable.) That’s what I wanted for my time on earth—radical pleasure—and in my twenties, I definitely think I did a pretty good job of that.

But, when I reached my thirties, something changed: I realized that there was a whole other form of pleasure I’d never recognized. A form I had never known, because I was too busy saying “no” to routine and all of her fetters.

Turns out?

What I didn’t know then is that routine can be incredibly nourishing—especially with a digital nomad lifestyle—so long as the things you are doing actually are.


It’s a subtle difference, but an important one, and the difference is this:

Routine versus ritual.

Routines are the things you do because you’re supposed to.

Rituals are the things you do because they nourish you.

Today, some of my favorite moments in the day are my daily rituals: the three hours I spend writing every morning, the 30 minutes of exercise I do before I shower, the gin & soda we have on the back deck at sunset, the hour I spend reading before bed each night. They have helped me structure my pleasure in a way that I didn’t have before.

They help me prioritize myself.

I think of this as my Happiness 401(k): tiny increments of “savings” that I’m budgeting toward a happier, more joyful life.

The habits expert, James Clear, often talks about the compounding effect of the things you do each day. “If you can get 1 percent better each day, you’ll end up with results that are nearly 37 times better after one year.” And conversely, the opposite is true. (Which is terrifying. 😱 )

I’ve been hip on this 1% idea ever since my literary agent, Lisa, told me to read James’ book—she’s his literary agent, too, and I CAN’T EVEN IMAGINE HOW RICH THOSE SLUTS ARE. But, as soon as I did, years ago now, I realized something that I had never quite understood before:

Doing something consistently and habitually does not make you a prisoner to your life: it gives you the freedom to live your life without constantly worrying that you are doing a bad job.

There is something SO FREEING in the act of building rituals that support you, rather than constantly letting your life be consumed by everyone else’s agenda.

The only problem is: where do you start? How do you find the time? How can you step off the hamster wheel? How can you know which rituals to employ? How do you get yourself organized? How do you plan for joy? HOW DO YOU FIND THE TIME? (Did I mention that??? lol.) How can you create a system for yourself? How can you know which things to quit? How can you be sure you’ll actually stick to it? And, how can you get the courage to make a big change to begin with?

The answer: The Selfish Career Method.

One of the first and only frameworks that will help you do meaningful work you love and get paid in what I call an omni-directional pattern, enjoying an abundance of yes, money ($) but also quality of life (QL$): time, freedom, travel, purpose, pleasure, family, and experiences—instead of only get paid from one direction. (Money.) 

Selfish Forever is all about dismantling outdated work models that no longer work for modern living & introduce you to a new one: one in which your work and professional contributions are decentralized from a central authority—in this case, an employer; one in which you’re able to earn independently no matter where you are in the world; one in which your time is detached from your value; one in which you have leverage and control over what you earn, where you earn it, and how you spend your days—not on social media, and not on the constant content creation hamster wheel that dominates the current model of online business, but on your life, exploring the world as much as you can, drinking up sunshine and dandelions, and letting technology do the heavy lifting for you.

Because it’s the one thing you’ll never regret.

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