I Turned Down $80,000 In The Search For Happiness. Here’s What I Found

the search for happiness

This is a guest post by Justin Light – a coach, blogger and video trainer. He’s the founder of Inky n the Brain – a blog on mind hacks and motivation. His mission is to show people how to discover their identity and empower them to live differently.

Why on earth does someone turn down a whole lot of cash for ‘happiness’?
Don’t worry, I asked myself the same question a number of times – that was until I discovered what I was searching for. Now, I’ve never looked back.

I knew some time ago that the life I was living was not what I wanted for myself. After studying for 4 years at university, getting fantastic grades and lining up great job opportunities as an aspiring teacher you would think that things were great, right?

Deep down, I had always known that there was something greater for me. I was tired of the music scene and over all of the hype. I didn’t wake up with the same fire I used to wake up with. Yet, I was on my way to becoming a successful music teacher with an $80,000 per year income on offer, a head teacher position waiting for me at a private school straight out of uni.

I knew that this path didn’t line up with the path I truly wanted but I was crippled with the fear of risking everything to find it. I was constantly warring with myself, torn between:

1. What my family and friends wanted, even expected me to do.
2. What I truly wanted to do inside.

Here are some of the most important things I realized and lessons I learned:

1. Replacing money with freedom was the best decision I ever made.

In the end, still terrified, I turned down the $80,000 job offer and deferred my second university course (I had already completed the four years of my first undergraduate course so I was only wasting six months), I decided to go on a search for happiness, but I couldn’t do that without taking a bold first step. So I traveled to China!

Thrown into a brand new culture, shocked and anxious about meeting new people, I found my feet and quickly became extremely connected. I found so many like-minded people that were searching for an alternative lifestyle to western life that had previously lived a lifestyle filled with freedom and excitement.

In short, China quite literally changed my life, mentally, physically and emotionally. As a whole, I discovered a deeper sense of fulfillment and excitement that I never thought existed before.

2. Settling in life is a dagger in the back of happiness.

Your years are ticking away every passing second, every breath you take will never come again and every heartbeat is one less heartbeat until it stops beating all together.

With this fleeting concept of time, why settle and waste those precious moments when you could be out in the world, challenging yourself, dreaming, pushing your limits and soaking up the rich rewards that come from chasing what you truly want!

Sure it will be harder than you could have first imagined, but isn’t that so much better than spending your days living a second choice life, a life of second preferences and fall back plans?

How can you experience true happiness when you’re not living a life true to yourself?

I learned that to settle for anything is to put a knife to the back of your dreams so I made a vow to never settle and always pursue what I felt was in line with my true self, no matter the adversity and no matter the risk.

3. Happiness comes from conquering fears.

There were so many dangerous possibilities about leaving my comfort zone for China:

• I could have lost all of my money (Which I actually did in Nepal quite recently.);
• I could have suffered social rejection and humiliation while trying to make new foreign friends;
• I could have made my depression and anxiety worse because of the hardships involved in solo travel;
• I could have failed at my job in China as an English teacher and had to come home embarrassed.

There are literally hundreds of things that could have gone wrong while over there, but did they stop me from going? No! And I’m so glad they didn’t because China grew my confidence tenfold, heightened my sense of self and I ultimately discovered a deep sense of satisfaction and happiness that I never knew was buried within me.

I learned that usually what you fear the most is the thing that will bring you the most happiness. As Jack Canfield says, everything you want is on the other side of fear.

Live life fearlessly, be bold, be courageous and never settle for any manner of money or possessions because unless they are a by-product of your inner most dreams, they will never give you the same level of happiness.

So what about you? Are you in search for happiness? And what can you do today to get on the right path?


If you enjoyed Justin’s story, you can check out his video where he talks more about his mission in life:


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How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money

How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money - Interview with R.J. Weiss from TheWaystoWealth.com

This is an interview-style post with R.J. Weiss from The Ways to Wealth.

Hey R.J. What’s your background and what do you do?

I blog about all things personal finance at The Ways to Wealth.

Before I went full-time into blogging, I spent ten years in the financial services industry. Specifically, helping families buy the right type of life insurance.

During my time with a full-time job, I’ve always had different side hustles going on. From freelance writing, Amazon FBA, conversion rate optimization, to website design — there were many projects I pursued outside of work.

How did you start your career in finance?

I got started in finance straight out of college working for my the family insurance business. As I love the financial planning side of things, I choose to specialize in life insurance planning. This led me down the path to obtaining the CFP® Certification.

What made you start blogging?

The Ways to Wealth, which I started in 2016, has been my 5th blog.

The others mostly fizzled out most due to a lack of interest. But, in 2009 I started a personal finance blog called GenYWealth.com (no longer around) that had some success.

The idea GenYwealth.com was to write about what I was learning about studying to take the CFP®. The blog was, by all means, a success. I was able to gain valuable knowledge, pass the CFP® exam, earn some extra money and build up a good community.

I then took this knowledge and started a business blog, which allowed the insurance agency I was working for to generate leads.

I started The Ways to Wealth because my passion is personal finance–from investing to travel hacking, I love the challenge of optimizing my finances.

How was The Ways to Wealth born?

I didn’t have much of a plan for starting The Ways to Wealth when I purchased the domain name.

I was actually thinking it would be a niche site, which was inspired by Pat Flynn’s niche site duel. Then, I came across the income reports of Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and wisely changed direction to a more traditional blog.

This change came about 6-months after starting to blog.  I did a timeline of the site in one of my income reports.

What worked best when trying to grow the site?

I had a decent knowledge of SEO. So at first, I started growing the site with email outreach. One of the first posts I had about best investing books of all time, had about 15 links to it.

This was nice to start with but was quite slow to build up, as it can take a while to earn Google’s trust.

The big turning point came when I started to understand Pinterest. I spent a few frustrating weeks on the platform, then it finally started paying dividends.

I went from about 100 sessions a day to 1,000, which was huge for me at the time.

How did you get to 3 million monthly viewers on Pinterest?

the ways to wealth pinterest 3 million monthly views

I lay out my Pinterest strategy here. But at the core the idea is to:

1) Write high-quality content that Pinners want to click through, read, and share.

2) Pin to my own and high-quality group boards, with a keyword-rich description.

3) Continue to Pin my best pins across my own boards/group boards, ruthlessly eliminating Pins that don’t perform well.

One thing to keep in mind is impressions don’t mean much on Pinterest. What counts are clicks to your website. So, you want to design not for impressions but clicks.

What aspects of the online business are you outsourcing or automating and how?

The first thing I outsourced was Pinterest design. I’ll design about 30-40 pins a month, so this was big time saver for me.

Of course, it took some work to get going. At first, I hired 5 or so people on Fiverr. I found one decent designer but the work quality deteriorated over time.

I then went to Upwork and posted a job for a  graphic designer. I found a great team down in Argentina, who I’m very happy with.

I’m currently experimenting with working with a ghostwriter. A few of my latest posts have been transcribed from my recording, with the ghostwriter making sense of it all.

I can compile about 3 posts in 90 minutes, then take another 90 or so minutes to prepare them. Saving me around 3-4 hours per post this way.

What’s your main income stream and why do you think it works for you?

My main source of income for the blog is affiliate revenue. It works because the partners I do have are high-quality businesses, who deliver value and solve real problems. This makes it easy to naturally link to such a partner.

When did you start making more than $10K/month and what was the turning point?

My first month over $10K was in January of 2018. In December of 2017, income was around $3,000 and in July of 2017 around $500. So, it was definitely a jump.

What happened then in January?

First, personal finance is at its peak interest in January.

Second, I had multiple Pins go viral.

Third, in November I started driving traffic via Facebook to the site. So, in January I could take campaigns I’d been fine-tuning for a few weeks and scale them.

How do you balance work and family life?

I have a routine I stick to Monday through Friday.

When inside of my designated working hours, I work. When outside of these hours, I’m not.

This is a lot easier said than done. But the thing important for me is not to take work everywhere I go. This means I don’t have any apps on my phone that are work-related (email, analytics, etc..)

What are you 3 best finance tips for newbies?

  • Focus on your savings rate. How much you save is the most important decision you’ll make.
  • Small incremental improvements add up over time. My favorite example is increasing your savings rate 1% every quarter, means you’ll be saving 20% of your income in just 5 years.
  • Study happiness. Become a student on how to increase your level of happiness. The natural result is you’ll want less overtime, making the game of personal finance a lot easier to win.

What books, blogs or podcasts help you stay motivated along the way of growing an online business?

I read a fair amount to keep fresh ideas in my head.

My favorite podcast is The Tim Ferriss Show.

Two blogs I enjoy reading are:

Farnam Street
Barking up the Wrong Tree

And as far as books. I try to read one a week. A few books I would recommend to online entrepreneurs would be:

Deep Work by Cal Newport
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

Pin this post if you enjoyed the interview.

Check out my interview with R.J. from TheWaystoWealth to see how he entered the finance niche, started making money blogging, began bringing traffic from Pinterest and monetizing it with affiliate marketing, and is now making $10,000/month from his online business. #blogger #interview #blogtraffic #incomeideas #income