All posts by Seeking Simcha

Grant Cardone’s Recommendations Won’t Make You Happy

Grant Cardone outlined key tenets of his life philosophy recently in Medium:

Most people work 9 to 5. I work 95 hours (per week). If you ever want to be a millionaire, you need to stop doing the 9 to 5 and start doing 95.

Is this a short-term philosophy Cardone is advocating until one strikes it rich, at which point s/he could resume a normal life? No.

If you gave me 5 billion dollars, I’d still be grinding tomorrow. Be on the field. That’s where you get the win. I want that.

The strange part is that in the same piece, Cardone claims he’s not only about making massive amounts of money:

I’m not just about being rich, I’m about being wealthy. Rich means you have money — wealth is affluence in every area: health, family, kids, wife.

I definitely don’t understand that last statement. Working 95 hours per week means working 13-14 hour days, seven days a week. Where would one find the time for building real and meaningful relationships with “family, kids, wife”?

To be fair, Cardone’s piece is focused on becoming rich, not about how to be happy.  I don’t know him personally and I don’t know much about him. I have no problem with people who work hard or amass large sums of money. My issue is only with the extreme philosophy espoused in the article, which is at odds with traditional Jewish thought/philosophy.

As opposed to striving for a lifestyle marked by conscious consumption and gratitude, Cardone advocates the constant chasing of wealth – he admits that even five billion dollars wouldn’t satisfy his cravings! We shouldn’t be surprised. The Talmud explained man’s basic nature a long time ago:

“Whoever possesses 100 desires 200. Whoever possesses 200 desires 400.” (Ecclesiastes Rabbah ). (“Ecclesiastes” is translated as “Kohelet” in Hebrew).  

Except for the brief line I quoted about “family, kids, wife,” Cardone didn’t write anything in his piece about making a meaningful contribution to society, maintaining deep connections with friends and family (which seems impossible with the schedule he recommends), or establishing a calming spiritual life.

Judaism recommends a dramatically different path. In the Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot) we learn:

Who is rich? One who is happy with his lot/portion. (Pirkei Avot 4:1). 

The brilliant Rabbi Jonathan Sacks uses the Book of Kohelet to explain that chasing wealth is folly and true happiness comes from things like love, appreciation and spiritual connection:

Kohelet suddenly realises that all the time he was pursuing wealth and possessions, he was chasing after substitutes for life, instead of celebrating life itself. He now knows that “Whoever loves money never has money enough”. He also knows that “there is nothing better for people than to be happy and do good while they live”. Like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, he knows that the best thing to do with wealth is to give it away.

Following Cordone’s recommendations might make you very wealthy. They might not. But one thing is certain: they won’t make you happy.

Happiness Tip: Add Pleasure Boosters While Chasing a Goal

Like many people, getting in better shape is one of my main goals. But as we all know, losing weight and exercising can be a major slog. And if quick results aren’t achieved, it’s easy to get disheartened and quit.

Knowing this, I’ve found a good technique for sticking with my goals: adding a pleasure booster during the process. For instance, it seems relevant to note on Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) that I LOVE Jerusalem. I lived there for nearly three years and I enjoyed it immensely.

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8 Reasons Israelis are So Happy (Yom Ha’atzmaut 2016)

Outside observers could reasonably conclude that Israel is a miserable country. International news reports tend to focus solely on the Middle Eastern conflict and acts of terror, while BDS protesters try to convince the world that Israelis are evil oppressors.

And yet Israel ranked 11th in the UN’s 2016 World Happiness Report (above even the U.S.). This corresponds with my own daily reality, as I observe many cheerful and enthusiastic Israelis during my daily routine. For Israel’s 68th birthday (Yom Ha’atzmaut) it’s worthy asking: why are Israelis so happy?

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I Fell…

Sorry I haven’t posted to Seeking Simcha in a few months…I fell.

Things were going well for me during my journey towards simcha (Jewish happiness). I was losing weight, meditating and working towards Shalom Bayit (greater peace at home).

But then I started getting stressed and very busy at my high-tech job, triggering a pattern of dysfunctional eating (something I have struggled with in the past). I began binging at restaurants and eating until I literally felt sick.

Continue reading I Fell…

4 Tech Tools for Happiness in 2016

The following four tech tools have given a big boost to my search for happiness. Hopefully some of them can also help you in 2016.  Please note: I am not affiliated with these products and I’m not receiving any money or benefits to promote them. 

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Don’t Quit Before the (Hanukkah) Miracle!

When the Maccabees arrived at the holy Temple in Jerusalem to liberate and reconsecrate it, they found a single small cruse of pure olive oil bearing the seal of the High Priest. They thought this would be enough oil to last only one night, but a miracle occurred and the oil burned for eight days.

If the Maccabees had said, “We don’t have enough oil to do this ceremony properly, let’s just give up,” we wouldn’t be collectively celebrating Hanukkah right now.

Many of us today are facing seemingly hopeless situations and the temptation to give up is strong.

Continue reading Don’t Quit Before the (Hanukkah) Miracle!

Hanukkah and Exercising for the Right Reasons

I believe the Hanukkah story, which transpired thousands of years ago, has shaped classical Jewish attitudes towards fitness, diet and exercise.

The ancient Greeks, led by Alexander the Great, conquered Jerusalem. Greek society idealized the human body and its citizens spent much time developing their physical attributes and thinking about their looks, and even held sporting events where competitors preened without clothing. The human body was so venerated in ancient Greece that its Olympians practiced and competed nude!

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4 Life Lessons Learned from Rocky Balboa

Creed (#Creed), the seventh entry in the Rocky movie franchise, set an industry record for previews yesterday and is getting rave reviews. As a long time lover of Sylvester Stallone movies, especially the Rocky series,  I am bummed that the movie isn’t being shown in Israel until January 28!

In order to feel like I am joining in the Rocky celebration kicking off for Creed’s official U.S. release tonight, I have decided to share life/spiritual lessons from the Rocky series.

Let’s get ready to rumble!!!

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Jonathan Pollard and the Happiness of Freedom

Imagine how Jonathan Pollard felt this Shabbat, leaving jail after a 30-year prison term! How many times during those three long decades did he dream about being a free man: taking a long walk on a beach, meeting a friend in a coffee shop, embarking on a trip with his wife, taking a luxurious bath, praying in a beit knesset?

Continue reading Jonathan Pollard and the Happiness of Freedom