Saturday, 31 January 2015

Singapore - The Phobia of Living Together

Learning to Live with the Dead, Sick, Old, Young and Foreign.
The NIMBy Syndrome Strikes Again

The recent uproars by some Singaporeans against a columbarium cum temple being built next to their apartments signal the return of the seasonal NIMBy flu-like Syndrome.   

NIMBy is the acronym for Not-In-My-Backyard”.  The NIMBy Syndrome is an affliction which strikes some residents to cause them to object actively to certain amenities and socially desirable development proposals near or adjacent to their residential areas.  The NIMBy Flu Syndrome is non-contagious and can only be infected by voluntary subscription. It is available only in developed countries and arrived in Singapore sometime in the 1990’s and manifested in more cases at the turn of the 21st Century.

Many can recall other NIMBy cases involving foreign workers hostels, eldercare centre, nursing homes, facilities for the elderly, condominium towers, studio apartments for elderly, MRT construction launch shafts and international school.

NIMBy victims are often highly intelligent and imaginative. They usually cite good reasons for their seemingly “anti-social” conditions. These include noise and exhaust pollution from buses ferrying workers or students, a possible increase in crime (by foreign workers presumably), traffic congestion from school drop-offs and pickups, as well as higher noise levels from students’ play areas, sports facilities and canteen. Born again naturalists emerged to advocate preservation and prevent a forested area to be cleared for the 12-storey international school building; its tall shadow looming over mostly terrace or semi-detached homes notwithstanding. 

Current condominium residents in the Dairy Farm, Chestnut and Cashew areas should know that none of their tower blocks exceed 15 storeys because many earlier residents in the areas living in their low-rise as well as terraced and semi-detached homes did not want their however limited view of the Bukit Timah secondary forest blocked.  Seemingly avowed naturalists, they were also worried that plant and animal life could be harmed.  Also, any increased surface runoff would choke a nearby canal which already fills quickly when it rains. Many health and fitness enthusiasts are also upset that a planned road in the area (cancelled later) would cut into their popular canal-side jogging trail popular.

Nursing Homes also have their capacity trimmed by reducing the planned number of storeys in order to placate the NIMBy patients. Other common reasons associated with the NIMBy Syndrome include noise pollution during construction, and traffic congestion on the roads that serve the affected areas.

Overall at the bottom-line, the unfounded fear of lower market value for their properties is the key reason for the unhappy NIMBy Syndrome.

TRUTH is: Singapore properties, both HDB and private as well as landed have all appreciated in value in spite of whatever reasons that the subscribers of NIMBy Syndrome have professed.
Bishan Town
Do you know that some of the most expensive HDB flats are built on former cemeteries ie Bishan?  Large areas of Bishan, Ang Mo Kio and Yishun are former graveyards.  Jurong was also largely a mangrove swamp in the 1960’s.  The “Mllionaires’ Row” of huge bungalows along Tanjong Katong Road and the East Coast also lost their sea and beach frontage years ago in order for Marine Parade to be built.

Hundreds of private terraced and semi-detached houses have actually been over-shadowed permanently by HDB flats and commercial buildings over the past 30 years.  None of their value has depreciated, but their property values have multiplied manifolds even as Singapore developed.

The NIMBy Syndrome recurrence suggests a growing trend towards weaker community relationship as many become more selfish and short-sighted in their view towards Singapore’s social development.  Being a small island, the building of desirable social amenities must mean increasing density in land use.  Existing conveniences as well as views and forested areas may have to make way for the greater good for the benefits of a larger number of Singaporeans.  A NIMBy-oriented people makes children and our future generations the VICTIMs of NIMBy and they cannot therefore depend on their parents to build for them better facilities, better homes and better communities.  In the event, all the sacrifices of our pioneers and current generations will be for nothing. Say “NO” and “Goodbye” to the NIMBy Syndrome on our 50th Birthday, please.


Is Your Relationship Failing?

Four Signs a Relationship Is Failing
written by Dr Travis Bradberry in Talentsmart

A new relationship—whether personal, romantic, or professional—is a lot like buying a new car. Driving it off the lot is pure bliss. As you look around, you can scarcely take it all in. Everything smells, sounds, and looks terrific. You coast through weeks or months—maybe even years— of happy driving before you’re aware of anything that needs fixing. And like a car, when a relationship breaks down, it’s overwhelming; you’re left stuck on the side of the road wondering what went wrong.

A trained eye knows when a car is in trouble. From the sound of the idle to the color of the exhaust exiting the tailpipe, there are telltale signs of distress. The same is true of relationships, and you can be your own mechanic. Researchers at the University of Washington discovered four clear indicators of relationship failure (dubbed “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”) so profound that they predict the future success of a relationship with 93% accuracy. The researchers in Washington conducted their studies with married couples, and their accuracy rate for predicting divorce has held up for more than 14 years after watching couples interact.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
The Four Horsemen reveal problems for relationships of all types. They represent the counterproductive acts we can easily fall victim to when our emotions get the better of us. As you read each of the Horsemen and consider its relevance in your relationships, remember that conflict itself is not a problem. Conflict is actually a normal and (ideally) productive part of two people with different needs and interests working together. The researchers in Washington found that the amount of conflict between two people had no bearing on the success of the relationship. It’s how conflict is handled that determines a relationship’s success, and the Four Horsemen’s presence means conflict is not being dealt with constructively or productively. Follow the strategies provided for overcoming each of the Four Horseman, and your relationships are bound to be successful.

The 1st Horseman: Criticism
Criticism is not to be confused with delivering feedback or otherwise seeking improvement or change in another person. Criticism becomes, well, criticism when it isn’t constructive (“This report is terrible.”). Criticism, in its most troubling form, focuses on the individual’s personality, character, or interests rather than the specific action or behavior you’d like to see changed (“You are terrible at writing. You’re so disorganized and tangential.”). It’s one thing to criticize without being constructive; it’s another to go after someone for something they are unable to change.

Overcoming Criticism:
If you find yourself criticizing when you planned on being constructive, it’s best if you don’t deliver your feedback and commentary unless you’ve planned ahead. You’ll need to think through what you’re going to say and stick to your script in order to remain constructive and avoid criticism. It’s also best if you focus your feedback on a single specific behavior, as your reactions to multiple behaviors at once can easily be perceived as criticism. If you find that you cannot deliver feedback without generalizing to the other person’s personality, you’re better off saying nothing at all.

The 2nd Horseman: Contempt
Contempt is any open sign of disrespect toward another. Contempt often involves comments that aim to take the other person down a notch, as well as direct insults. Contempt is also seen in indirect and veiled forms, such as rolling of the eyes and couching insults within “humor.”

Overcoming Contempt:
Contempt stems from a lack of interest in the other person. When you find that you don’t enjoy or admire someone— perhaps there are things about him or her that used to be interesting or charming and now they’ve lost their luster— contempt can surface unexpectedly. If your disinterest is unavoidable and the relationship is one that isn’t going anywhere, such as a family member or coworker, then you need to focus on managing the relationship itself. People who manage relationships well are able to see the benefit of connecting with many different people, even those they are not fond of. Common ground, no matter how small, is a commodity to be sought and cherished. In the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln, “I do not like that man. I must get to know him better.”

The 3rd Horseman: Defensiveness
Denying responsibility, making excuses, meeting one complaint with another, and other forms of defensiveness are problematic, because they prevent a conflict from reaching any sort of resolution. Defensiveness only serves to accelerate the anxiety and tension experienced by both parties, and this makes it difficult to focus on the larger issues at hand that need to be resolved.
Overcoming Defensiveness:
To overcome defensiveness, you have to be willing to listen carefully to the other party’s complaint, even if you don’t see things the same way. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with them. Instead, you focus on fully understanding the other person’s perspective so that you can work together towards resolving the conflict. It’s critical that you work to remain calm. Once you understand why the other person is upset, it’s much easier to find common ground than if you dismiss their opinions defensively.

The 4th Horseman: Stonewalling
Stonewalling is what happens when one person shuts the discussion down by refusing to respond. Examples of stonewalling include the silent treatment, being emotionally distant or devoid of emotion, and ignoring the other person completely. Stonewalling is problematic, because it aggravates the person being stonewalled and it prevents the two from working on resolving the conflict together.

Overcoming Stonewalling:
The key to overcoming stonewalling is to participate in the discussion. If you’re stonewalling because the circumstances are leaving you feeling overwhelmed, let the other person know how you’re feeling and ask for some time to think before continuing the discussion. Maintain eye contact and a forward posture and nod your head to let the other person know that you are engaged in the discussion and listening even when you don’t have something to say. If you stonewall as a matter of practice, you need to realize that participating in discussions and working together to resolve conflict are the only ways to keep your relationships from crumbling. 

(pictures not in Original article) 

About Dr Travis Bradberry, PhD:
Dr Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world's leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.

Leadership in Managing Talent

by Sylvia Ann Hewlett
Founder, Center for Talent innovation & Hewlett Consulting Partners
First appeared in Pulse.
James Martin, Flickr
We’re all connected. That’s the message leaders need to keep in mind in order to tap the rich well of diverse talent and target, encourage, advance, and retain high-potential people within their organization.

Leaders have long recognized that an inherently diverse workforce – one that’s inclusive of women, people of color, and gay individuals, as well as people of different ages, education and socio-economic background – confers a competitive edge in selling products and services to diverse end users. Demographic trends are rapidly transforming that realization into a requirement. The most recent U.S. census quantified the demographic shift: Hispanic and Asian population growth is soaring, far outstripping the growth rate of the white population.

Recent research from the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) shows that an inherently diverse workforce that “matches the market” can be a potent source of innovation, as diverse individuals are better attuned to the unmet needs of consumers or clients like themselves. But identifying, leveraging and developing diverse talent demands different leadership skills and behaviors.

CTI research spotlights five ways in which leaders can tap this rich resource:

[1] Leverage Diversity.
CTI research reveals a startlingly robust correlation between workforce diversity, innovation and bottom line growth. Our data shows that companies whose leaders manifest both inherent and acquired diversity – in other words, whose background and experience has conferred on them an appreciation for difference, whether that difference is rooted in gender, age, culture, socioeconomic background, nationality, or sexual orientation – are measurably more innovative: Employees at these firms are 60 percent more likely than their counterparts at non-diverse organizations to see their ideas prototyped or developed, and 75 percent more likely to see their innovation actually deployed or implemented.

•Action: What drives the diversity dividend? Inclusive leadership. Leaders who behave inclusively foster a speak-up culture, one in which inherently diverse members feel welcome, feel free to express their views and opinions, and are confident that their ideas are heard, respected, and recognized. Work to encourage these behaviors among leaders at all levels.

[2] Nurture Sponsor Networks.
How can companies develop diverse leaders who “match the market” and help women, people of color, and gays break free of the marzipan layer and move to the top? Through sponsorship – a strategic workplace partnership between those with power and those with potential.

Unlike mentors, who act as sympathetic sounding boards, sponsors are people in positions of power who work on their protégé’s behalf to clear obstacles, foster connections, assign higher-profile work to ease the move up the ranks, and provide air cover and support in case of stumbles. Sponsors have a significant impact on the career traction of their female and multicultural protégés: 68% of women with sponsors say they are satisfied with their rate of advancement, compared with 57% of those without sponsors; 53% of sponsored African-Americans and 55% of Asians are satisfied with their career progress, compared with, respectively, 35% and 30%. Those numbers add up to employees who are more committed, more engaged, and more likely to attract similar talent.

•Action: Formal sponsorship programs are a good way to start nurturing sponsor networks. But to be tapped – either formally or informally – sponsorship must be earned: by delivering outstanding performance, die-hard loyalty, and a distinct personal brand (something the sponsor prizes but may intrinsically lack, such as gender smarts, cultural fluency, or the unique perspective resulting from being a woman, gay or a person of color on a team that’s mostly white males). I explain this in more depth in my book, Forget A Mentor, Get A Sponsor.

[3] Leverage the Potential of Protégés.
Sponsors and mentors may be obvious career accelerators but don’t ignore the power of protégés. Building a loyal cadre of effective performers can extend your reach, realize your vision, build your legacy, and burnish your reputation. In today’s complex organizational matrix, no one person can maintain both breadth and depth of knowledge across fields and functions. But you can put together a loyal and dedicated posse whose expertise is a quick IM away.

•Action: One surefire way to build a strong bench of supporters and maximize protégé power: Be an inclusive leader.

[4] Crack the Code of Executive Presence. Performance, hard work, and sponsors get top talent recognized and promoted, but “leadership potential” isn’t enough to lever men and women into the executive suite. Leadership roles are given to those who also look and act the part, who manifest “executive presence” (EP). According to CTI research, EP constitutes 26% of what senior leaders say it takes to get the next promotion. EP rests on three pillars: gravitas (the core characteristic, according to 67% of the 268 senior executives surveyed), communication skills (according to 28%), and appearance (the filter through which communication skills and gravitas become more apparent). Yet because senior leaders are overwhelmingly Caucasian and male – among Fortune 500 CEOs, only 6 are black, 8 are Asian, 8 are Latino, and 22 are female – women and multicultural professionals find themselves at an immediate disadvantage in trying to look, sound, and act like a leader. And they’re not getting the guidance they need to learn.

•Action: CTI research found that EP feedback is either absent, overly vague or contradictory: More than three-quarters (79%) of people of color surveyed say that when they get feedback, they are unclear how to act on it, with Asians (84%) and Hispanics (80%) particularly confused about how to course-correct. As a way to endow their protégés with even more power, leaders can resolve to give more — and clearer — feedback to help their reports understand, acquire, and eventually ace EP.

[5] Fulfill Women’s Value Proposition.
Although societal norms have shifted as more women assume positions of power, the prevalent narrative is still one of sacrifice: the toll career ambitions take on one’s personal life. Consequently, too many talented women step off the fast track because they see an executive role delivering a hefty salary but little else that they value. In fact, CTI’s latest research reveals that power is what allows women to thrive. The key is linking the opportunities that a powerful position provides with women’s five-point value proposition: the ability to flourish, to excel, to reach for meaning and purpose, to be empowered and to empower others, and to earn well.

•Action: To ensure that talented women stay on track for leadership roles, companies must work to change women’s perceptions of what powerful positions entail. They must provide role models who give voice to the substantial joys and rewards of leadership, thus inspiring more qualified women to stay connected through the difficult mid-career years. They must sustain women’s ambition, both by meeting their needs as they progress toward leadership and by ensuring that leadership actually delivers on women’s value proposition. When women perceive that an executive role will satisfy, rather than subvert, their value proposition, they reclaim and sustain their ambition for leadership – and companies retain some of their most valuable talent.

Leader who inculcate behaviors and disseminate practices that endorse, encourage and empower women, people of color, LGBTs, and employees of different ages and backgrounds are far more likely both to retain a broader spectrum of top talent as well as reap the rewards of an ongoing diversity dividend.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Discover Your EQ for Greater Success

Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Everyone should read this Book – from housewife to housebands and husbands to students to teachers to PMET to Politicians. Today, emotional intelligence needs little introduction. This “other kind of smart” is the #1 predictor of success both personally and professionally. But knowing what it is and knowing how to use it to improve your life are two very different things.
In today's fast-paced world of competitive workplaces and turbulent economic conditions, each of us is searching for effective tools that can help us to manage, adapt, and strike out ahead of the pack. Emotional intelligence needs little introduction. This "other kind of smart" is the #1 predictor of success personally and professionally. But knowing what EQ is and knowing how to use it to improve your life are two very different things.

If you'd like to learn how to increase your EQ, consider taking the online Emotional Intelligence Appraisal test that's included with the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book. Your test results will pinpoint which of the book's 66 emotional intelligence strategies will increase your EQ the most.

For the first time, Drs. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves reveal TalentSmart's proven strategies for increasing emotional intelligence. The authors unveil a step-by-step program for increasing your emotional intelligence via 66 proven strategies that target self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

The Study
The authors’ groundbreaking research tested more than 500,000 people to discover how they use EQ and how it influences their lives. The results shed light on some of the toughest questions facing us today:

[1] How can I manage emotions to my benefit? What is the key to understanding people?

[2] Why is there so little emotional intelligence in the workplace?

[3] What is my emotional intelligence and how can I improve it?
The Findings
A decade of research reveals the distinguishing characteristics of those who use EQ to their benefit and delivers 66 strategies you can use to increase your EQ today. The book’s smooth narrative style turns rigorous research into memorable stories. Each copy includes the opportunity to test your EQ online, via a new, enhanced edition of the authors’ best-selling Emotional Intelligence Appraisal, because knowing your EQ is an essential first step in using it to your benefit.

The Findings introduced for the First Time:

[1] An emotional epidemic: 70% of us do not handle conflict or stress effectively, and just 36% understand emotions as they happen. The greatest challenges are at work, where just 15% feel respected and valued by their employers.

[2] Your brain is plastic: Unlike IQ, EQ is not fixed at birth. New skills learned actually create permanent physical changes in the brain.

[3] Keep your job: People with high EQs are 10 times more productive than those with low EQs. It’s no wonder that 90% of top performers are high in EQ, and a one point increase in your EQ adds  to your annual salary.

Drs. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves have created a revolutionary program to help readers identify their EQ skill level, build this skill into a strength, and enjoy consistent performance in the pursuit of important life objectives. At the heart of the book is the new and enhanced online Emotional Intelligence Appraisal, the product of a decade-long effort to accurately measure EQ skills.

At 256 pages, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is everything you need to know, without the filler. “Some of the strongest findings from our research,” comments Dr. Travis Bradberry, “fly in the face of what people have been told their entire lives—things they’ve always thought would make them successful and give them what they want. This upsets some people.”
That may be, but who can afford to ignore these findings?

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 
Is a book with a single purpose — Increasing your EQ.
For the first time, TalentSmart unveils its step-by-step program for increasing emotional intelligence via 66 proven strategies that teach:
·         self-awareness
·         self-management
·         social awareness
·         relationship management

The book also includes access to the enhanced online edition of the world′s most popular EQ test — the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal — that pinpoints the strategies that will increase your emotional intelligence the most and tests your EQ a second time to measure your progress.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 also includes access to the new and enhanced edition of the world's best-selling emotional intelligence test — the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal. In addition to providing scores for overall EQ and each of the four skills, the new Emotional Intelligence Appraisal drills down further to provide:

[1] Detailed feedback on the specific behaviors that contributed to your scores.

[2] Analysis of your behavior to pinpoint the specific skill strategies from the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book that will have the greatest impact upon your emotional intelligence.

[3] The ability to test yourself a second time (at no additional charge) after you've applied the strategies to see how much your scores have improved. This includes an analysis of score profiles and suggestions for which strategies will provide the greatest benefit to you going forward.

Research Based on More Than 500,000 People

The authors explore the ways in which emotional intelligence has changed in the five years since they unveiled their groundbreaking research on more than 500,000 people worldwide. New findings shed light on some of the toughest questions facing us today, including:

•gender differences in emotional intelligence
•generational differences in emotional intelligence
•cultural changes in emotional intelligence
•societal shifts in overall emotional intelligence

What People Have Said About Emotional Intelligence 2.0:
"A fast read with compelling anecdotes and good context in which to understand and improve your score."
-               Newsweek

"The sole determinant of professional success that we can actually improve. 
-               Washington Post

"This book can drastically change the way you think about it twice."
-                     Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

"Research shows convincingly that EQ is more important than IQ. This book gives abundant, practical findings and insights."
-                     Dr Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

"Emotional intelligence is an extremely important skill for personal and professional success. This book is excellent and the learning included in the free online test is cutting-edge. I strongly recommend it."
-                     Ken Blanchard, The One Minute Manager

"At last a book that gives 'how to's' rather than just 'what to's.' We need no more convincing that emotional intelligence is at the core of life success. What we need are practical ways of improving it. Bradberry and Greaves' brilliant new book is a godsend. It will change your life."
-                     Joseph Grenny, Crucial Conversations

"I distributed the book to my entire team. We found it very helpful in our dealings with each other and our internal customers. With all the new buzzwords over the past few years, the heart and soul of a company's culture is how the organization supports and promotes emotional intelligence. Those with foresight see that retention will soon become the key, and emotional intelligence will separate the good companies from the great ones. This book is a wonderful tool for a grassroots approach. If your desire is to be a truly resonant leader that people will trust and follow, this is an opportunity that cannot only change your professional career, but also your personal relationships."
-                     Regina Sacha, Vice President of Human Resources, Fedex Custom Critical

"In the fast lane of business life today, people spend more time on computer keyboards, blackberries and conference calls than they do in face-to-face communication. We're expected to piece together broken conversations, cryptic voicemails, and abbreviated text messages to figure out how to proceed. In this increasingly complex web, emotional intelligence is more important than ever before. This book is filled with invaluable insights and information that no one can afford to ignore."
-                     Rajeev Peshawaria, Executive Director , Goldman Sachs International

About the Authors
Drs. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves are award-winning, best-selling authors and the cofounders of TalentSmart, a global consultancy that serves more than 75% of the Fortune 500 companies and is the world’s #1 provider of emotional intelligence products and services. Their best-selling books have been translated into 26 languages and are sold in more than 150 countries. Drs. Bradberry and Greaves have written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Harvard Business Review.

About TalentSmart
TalentSmart is the world's #1 provider of emotional intelligence (EQ) products and services. More than 75% of the Fortune 500 companies rely on our products and services. All of our cutting-edge assessments are easy to use, based on rigorous research, and include our proprietary e-learning and Goal-Tracking System™. Our training programs and coaching services ensure new skills are applied immediately.

Are Singaporeans REALLY unHappy?

Singaporeans are Unhappy and Poor. Why?
Adapted from by Jeff Haden’s Thoughts in DrWealth   
Jeff Haden
Author, TransForm,

Do our perennial grumblings give outsiders the impression of chronic unhappiness? Let's ask instead: what can we be happy about? What indeed are we happy about? Do our faces at Kopitiam and in MRT trains look unhappy? Being poor should not necessarily make us unhappy. They are unrelated.
Happiness is a state of mind; being poor is a social condition.
What do you think?

Singapore is (one of) the richest countries in the world and yet, Singaporeans are unhappy (or “under-happy”) and poor.

One day I’d (Jeff) like to meet someone who is actually rich. Sometimes I think I’ve found one but it always turns out I’m wrong. No matter how rich I assumed the person to be, within a few minutes, I find out just how poor that person really is.

Take the guy who sold his company for more than $40 million. (Well, actually $100 million in total; $40 million is his share.) I was sure he was rich.

Then he told me how, for tax and estate planning purposes, he had structured the disbursement of funds over 10 years. So sure, on paper he may be “worth” $40 million, but he only gets around $4 million each year. And despite all that nifty financial planning, the taxes are still so high he doesn’t see nearly that much. It’s a bummer.

Or take the guy who just splashed a cool $450 grand on a Lexus LFA with the Nürburgring package. His everyday car is a Porsche 911 Turbo S. I was sure he was rich.

Then he told me what he wants most in life is a Bugatti Veyron (picture), only they cost about $2 million. Sure, he has money, he said, but he doesn’t have that kind of money. He thinks about it all the time. It’s a bummer.

Or take the guy with the 110-foot yacht. Strictly speaking it’s a ship, not a boat, since it’s big enough to carry several small boats and a couple of jet skis on a platform at the stern. And it has a pool. I was sure he was rich.

Then he told me how expensive the yacht is just to own: fixed costs like cleaning, upkeep, berth, and crew run over six figures a year. And what about the expense of actually taking it for a cruise? He told me firing it up is so expensive he sometimes has to think twice about whether to take it out of the harbour. It’s a bummer.

Or take the guy who – I know it’s a cliché, but it’s still true – started a company in his garage, financing it with credit cards and a loan from his father-in-law. A couple decades later his company owns its building (and a few more), employs 500 people, and generates tens of millions in annual revenue. And he put his three kids through Ivy League schools and then gave them significant seed money to start their own businesses. I was sure he was rich.

Then he explained how he still has to work 60- to 70-hour weeks and can maybe take one week of vacation a year. Sure, he would like to have more free time, but running a company that size requires constant and total attention. Why, it could all go away in an instant, he said. And then what would happen to his family? The very thought makes him shudder. It’s a bummer.

So I decided to set my sights on a different target. By definition there can’t be that many rich people; maybe statistical probability was the problem? So I decided to look for someone who is happy. After all, not everyone can be rich… but anyone can be happy.

I thought I found one when I met an entrepreneur who had just landed her first big customer. Not just a big customer, a truly enabling customer, one who made it possible for her to hire much-needed employees, make long-delayed equipment purchases, and finally get creditors off her back. I figured that surely made her feel happy.

Then she told me how much she hates to recruit and interview … and then actually having to supervise those employees on a daily basis? Ugh. She told me how adding equipment, maintaining a larger inventory, and managing the huge increase in production was such a pain. Don’t get her wrong, she told me as she looked around to make sure no one overheard, but she often longs for the good old days when life was a lot simpler. It’s kind of a bummer.

Or take the guy who, after years of putting out feelers and constant hints, was finally invited to serve on the board of a start-up. The company has potential, he said, but it’s not Twitter. Or Facebook. Or even Fancy. Now serving on one of those boards would be cool. This? He thought it would be fun, but it’s kind of a bummer.

The guy who just bought a bigger house? Bummed because it takes so much work to clean. The guy who just doubled his income? Bummed because now his taxes are higher. The gal who just landed her dream job? Bummed because now her daily commute is half an hour longer.

Seems no one I meet, no matter how much money or success they’ve achieved, is actually rich. Not really. And it seems no one I meet, no matter how fulfilling and gratifying their life might be, is actually happy. Not really.

But that’s okay. I’ll keep looking. Someday I might find someone.
And hopefully that someone is you.