Most folks my age have kids, and more often than not, they make great sacrifices for them. Recently, a few confided that they are unhappy in their relationship, yet they stay married to their partner. Since I am curious and nosy on occasion, I asked why? I have a difficult time understanding why someone would choose to be unhappy. Nearly every time I asked, the answer was the same: because of the kids. A deceptively simple answer and a noble cause; they chose to sacrifice their happiness for the greater good of their family.
I had the good fortune of hearing Tony Hsieh speak about his book, Delivering Happiness. The theme of Hsieh’s book centers around the idea that happiness and what causes people to feel happy is different for everyone. Sometimes this idea is easily understandable; for instance, it is hard to be unhappy around warm puppies or while taking a walk with a cigar on a sunny day! Yet sometimes it’s elusive; it doesn’t matter what makes someone happy, as long as they are happy.
For these parents, being with their kids and giving them the stability to grow into mature, well-adjusted adults brings them happiness. Risking that stable environment for their own, personal happiness gives them angst. In a way, they are still happy but for different reasons. To me, happiness trumps almost everything. In fact, why it’s not on top of Maslow’s pyramid is beyond me! But when I see the greater good, I have no problem setting aside my personal happiness to pursue it.
When we first started J2 in 2002, there were many sacrifices made to make the business successful. This strategy worked, as the sacrifices were to make J2 better. When the downturn in 2008 hit, we made sacrifices again to make sure the company didn’t suffer. During that time, we kept what we sacrificed to ourselves; no one knew the sacrifices we made, and they still don’t. In the end we came out of it stronger: as brothers and as business partners. The sacrifices we made gave us a better understanding and appreciation for each other, and to this day we continue to make sacrifices for each other and for the company. We were driven by our passion for what we do; it was a sacrifice for the greater good, and it brought a different kind of happiness.
There are not many things that I would sacrifice my happiness for, but for my passion and for the greater good I am 1,000% in!!
“Happiness is really just about 4 things: perceived control, perceived progress, connectedness and being part of something bigger than yourself that has meaning to you.”– Tony Hsieh
What are you so passionate about that you would sacrifice something important?