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For all your life, you have been believing that you have passion in X and want to pursue a professional career in it. You go to university A because of this reason and after graduating, you successfully land on that one job you have always wanted. Yet, why do you feel some kind of dissatisfaction in your heart? You told yourself that, ‘It is my dream, I have always wanted to be here and I don’t want to quit just to regret it later’. Nonetheless, unfortunately, you cannot find enjoyment and excitement in what you are doing. Have your career goal been a lie, then?

Let’s think about this, working in your dream job is awesome but if it no longer adds happiness, you should consider a change in your career. It might be a huge career decision but worth to try, isn’t it?

Looking what is right for your future is not an easy task to accomplish. When you are feeling lost, you might think that this is the end of your journey. The truth is, it is not. Felicia Ricci followed her dream career to be an actor and now, she is a successful businesswoman and motivator. In her TEDxYale talk, Felicia shared her inspiring advice about career satisfaction and change. She said that it is about starting a new and trusting the magic of beginning.

Revision is, in her talk, a life-changing that might take you to another step of success and happiness. Revision, either planned or unplanned, means any change that meaningfully alters your day-to-day life. Here, Felicia reveals her top three tips for making a life revision.

1st revision – Ignoring the odds

If you are innovative, the odds would never come in your way. If you consult to your closest friends or family, they might advise you to just follow the safest way. However, ignoring the odds means you need to trust your gut feeling. You need to consider what steps to take to achieve the next level. Ignore the odds and believe in yourself, these are keys to your success.

2nd revision – Revision can be terrifying and stressful

Change is scary. Yes, it is. It is like waiting for the tomorrow that might never come. Yet, think about which one is scarier, to stuck in your ‘miserable’ life or to not try at all? Felicia said in her talk that you can be scared and freaked out. But remember, there are a bunch of resources out there that can help you – no matter how stuck you are. For example, you can learn from experts, books, life lesson videos, TED talks, and many more. All of these media can help you overcome your fear and anxiety of ‘tomorrow’.

3rd revision – You cannot decide by thinking, you can only decide by doing

Many people often calculate the possibility and impossibility before jumping up on certain idea. Researching what you want to do and where you want to go is very valuable. While this is a good method before actually executing the plan, you might never know what you will find in the real field. The fact is, when you are making a decision, you’ll never know the outcome until you do the thing. Therefore, you should go forth and revise.

Lastly, there is no final draft – keep revising your life to create your reality. Michelle Lombardo said “on considering a career change, I would say go for it, … Life is short-lived, and you’ve got to take it while it’s there and run with it.”

Read also: Key Skills Needed to Survive the 21st Century

‘I want to be happy with my job.’ Do you agree with this statement? Nowadays, work is no longer seen as a mere obligation and responsibility to meet the demands and needs of life. Besides seeking financial security, more people are now aspired to engage in a job role that will is fulfilling, enriching and meaningful.

While economic reasons for survival in life is undoubtedly the biggest motivation for people to go to work everyday, now people wish to get more than paychecks at the end of each month.

A survey conducted by PwC about Millennials at work finds that salary or benefits is not the main factor that influences talents to accept a job offer. Instead, 65 percent respondents state that an opportunity for personal development is the most attractive element that draws candidates to accept a job offer.

Interestingly, the survey discovers that 16 percent millennials see the potential to make a difference in their work life becoming a crucial factor to take up a job role. The findings further reflect a significant shift in employees’ perceptions about happiness at work. Now we know that everyone wants to be happy with their job roles, but is the happiness at work a mere pleasure or means to fulfillment?

Which one of these scenarios makes you happier? Getting a pay raise or earning the trust of an employer to be the next team leader on your dream project? Well the truth is, these two things will undoubtedly give you a thrill. So the next question is, which happiness could last longer? Chances are, the second scenario will make you happier for a longer period of time.

Getting pay raise is indeed a pleasant news. However, when the payday comes, you have to use it for various purposes, and towards the end of it all, it seems to remain a mere number. Whereas, when you become a project leader, you can develop great ideas to boost productivity of your team, while honing your personal skills. There will be a sense of satisfaction when the project turns out to be a success and this will directly reflect on the organisation’s profits.

From the examples above, we can learn that pleasure is a sheer happiness that tends to not last long. Here, pleasure is closely aligned with ‘receiving’. When you hear about a pay raise, you might be happy to imagine the stuffs you could purchase later. However when the money is all used, the happiness will soon disappear along with the disappearance of great cash from your wallet.

Also, sometimes you do feel that the pay raise is not enough to buy everything you need in your shopping list. Towards the end, this kind of happiness is only an instant pleasure that will be eroded with time easily.

On the other hand, fulfillment is a sense of happiness and contentment which lingers longer in your soul. Fulfillment is closely associated with ‘giving’. When you get an opportunity to become the team leader on a particular project, which means you make real contribution to the organisation growth, it will spur your spirit to perform the best.

Getting the chance to make a difference will make you sense fulfilment mentally as well as feel valued as a human being, not just as a mere employee. Eventually, this kind of happiness will make you feel more satisfied with your work, so you tend to be more loyal and engaged with the organisation.

In conclusion, pleasure can be said as how you ‘spend on’ something, while fulfillment is how you ‘invest into’ something. If pleasure places emphasis on current happiness, then fulfillment enables you to think ahead about the future happiness.

Although there is nothing wrong to take pleasure in something and choosing to be happy, however you should make work more meaningful to keep your inner-self feeling satisfied and valuable.

Next read: Advantages of Lifelong Learning for Career Growth

Money happiness

I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of advice about how to increase your salary – job hop, make sure you get at least a 20% increase between jobs, don’t reveal your current salary, and so on. And we do this all in the hopes of being happier, because we’ve been ingrained with this idea that salary directly correlates to happiness.

Does it?

More money doesn’t make you happier – to an extent

According to this article, there is a solid benchmark at which money stops making you happy – USD75,000. That’s approximately a monthly salary of SGD8,000, meaning that any increase in your salary after that won’t necessarily make you any happier. But as the article cautions, before you rush out to chase after that magic figure, remember that there are many other factors that affect your happiness.

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Also, since we need to deduct 20% for CPF, that ideal figure for your salary is probably closer to SGD10,000.

Since the dawn of time, there have been sayings that money doesn’t equal happiness, like “money is the root of all evil” or “money isn’t everything”, and it feeds our innate belief that a higher salary isn’t going to buy you happiness. What this research study proves is something that humans have always believed, that material value will not equate emotional joy.

That answers the question, doesn’t it? A higher paycheck won’t necessarily make you happier because there are other, more important things in life. Check out Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – once you can fulfil basic physical needs, material things cease to be of value. You need to self-actualise, that is, do the things that you were born to do.

Read also: Passion vs Paycheck

Happiness

But wait – more money does make you happier

However, a more recent article debunks that theory, and proves that no matter your income level, a bigger increment will make you happier. Which makes sense, when you think about it – why would the rich want to be richer if they’re already achieved the maximum amount of happiness that money can buy?

The problem with this article is that it goes against our fundamental belief that happiness increases in direct proportion to wealth. It indirectly says that human beings are, at heart, mercenary creatures who crave pleasure above all else. It implies that humans are no better than animals, in that sense. It insults our sense of self-worth as people, because we always think we are above our basic desires.

But a bigger bonus does make you happier, doesn’t it? You can buy more things, it gives you the sense of more freedom and you have to worry less about cost. Happiness isn’t always so easy to see in others, but their number of worldly goods is. We assume that the more stuff someone has, the happier they are.

Read also: Find Meaning in Your Job

Which one is right?

With these two conflicting studies, what is the answer? After all, the studies have been conducted by reputable institutions, and they both clearly have the evidence to back up their thesis. Both make sense, and yet they can’t both be right, can they?

Can money buy you happiness?

I believe that question can only be answered individually, not on a mass, homogenous level. And to answer that question, we must answer another question first.

To figure out whether money can buy happiness, we must first ask ourselves what happiness is. And that’s the fundamental problem – happiness isn’t universally measurable. Different things contribute to happiness in different ways for different people. A chai latte certainly doesn’t make every drinker equally happy, just as a café mocha isn’t everyone’s drink of choice. Remember the old saying, “one man’s meat is another man’s poison?” We were all wired differently, and hence we all have different preferences, favourites, and (Facebook) likes.

However, because we assume that what makes us happy will make everyone else happy as well, we project that definition of happiness on to others. We see other people possessing things that would make us happy, but then we see that those people don’t value it as much as we do. We then come to the assumption that they don’t value it as much as we would, because they have so much of it and are therefore much happier than we are.

We don’t realise that they look at us the same way. We have the things that they would like, but we don’t value it as much as they do. They then think we don’t value it because we have so much of it, and are therefore much happier than they are.

Perhaps we have been projecting our version of happiness on other people, when in fact, all of us place a different value on different things. 

And so was born this misconception that with more things, come more happiness. This is simply because we all value things differently.

So what’s the answer?

It’s not how much money you have, but what you do with it, that makes you happy. Unless you’re Uncle Scrooge, who loves money for the sake of it, a fat paycheck itself won’t bring you happiness.

Don’t get me wrong – more stuff isn’t going to make you happier either. It’s practically the same thing as money. What will bring you happiness is, as Maslow pointed out seven decades ago, is self-actualisation. Doing the things that you were born to do.

What that means is to create. To make art. To help others. To make or do things that brings others happiness. To add to the collective happiness of the world. And not doing this as a one-off or only when we have time, but doing this constantly, on a regular basis.

This translates into doing a job, being in an occupation, and having a career that hinges upon adding happiness to others, instead of being based on how high a salary that job can give you. Ultimately, this means that your line of work is much more important to your happiness than how much you get paid. Make it a career that you can be proud of, an occupation that lifts up other people instead of manipulating them.

Because it’s when we make others happy, that we bring true happiness to ourselves.