Achievements are limiting your happiness

Who is Sandy MacKay?

I help Canadians build wealth through real estate and expand their freedom. I am obsessed with finding ways to live a life by design, rather than by default.

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Your achievements from 2022 are already forgotten by most of the world. They’re useless to you in 2023. Forget about them. I’ve already reflected, and moved on from mine. This letter will explain why…

You will never gain sustained happiness by focussing on your achievements.

Sustained happiness comes from fulfillment. And fulfillment comes from witnessing your own growth. That growth comes from an ongoing commitment to developing great habits.

Great habits add a tailwind to your life that will cause you to experience excitement, energy, fulfillment, and happiness.

None of my achievements in life have given me any sort of sustained happiness. None. It is unlikely that yours will either.

At best I’ve been rewarded with a few days of fame, or celebration. And I’ve enjoyed those moments. I really have. That joy is not sustainable though, and it is often followed by a feeling of lack.

That lack comes from the reality that there’s always someone out there doing something “better” than us.

Queue the keeping up with the Jones’ mentality.

The Jones’ don’t go away. Even if you outdo their career, then they have a better house. If you out do their car, then they have the more successful kids. If you outdo them financially, then they’re healthier.

The Jones’ don’t go away.

With the power of social media, and the interconnectedness of the world, the achievements of the Jones’ have been more amplified in 2022 than ever before. 2023 will only get worse.

F the Jones’.

We’re celebrating the wrong thing.

I’ve interviewed others, been interviewed myself, quite a lot in the past 5 years. I’ve interviewed 175+ people on our Breakthrough REI podcast alone.

Every interview starts with some version of a bio on the person being interviewed. The bio inevitably focusses on life achievements. It usually outlines the top 3-5 achievements that person has had in their careers.

Here’s a few achievements that usually get pointed out in my bio:

– Co-host of the #1 real estate investment podcast in Canada

– Built a portfolio of real estate worth over $60M

– Founded multiple $1M+ revenue businesses

Some others that are kinda cool, but equally as irrelevant are:

– earned $1M+ in realtor commissions each of the last 5 years and counting

– became a net millionaire by the age of 32 (I was in the negative 5 years prior)

– co-hosted a 650 person event in 2019 that raised $113k for charity

Putting focus on these achievements has its place in our lives, like in someone’s bio. But its very risky to make this THE driving force & focus of your life.

The reality is, we have very little control over our achievements. And it’s stupid to hold ourselves accountable to outcomes we can’t control.

We do, however, have complete control over our habits.

Fulfillment and happiness (or lack thereof) is found somewhere in between habits and achievements.

The Habit Chart

Great Habits = Great Happiness = Great achievements
Poor Habits = Unhappiness = No achievements

This is one of the best life lessons I’ve learned in the past 5 years.

If you want to accomplish big things in 2023, change your focus to your habits, instead of your achievements.

Here are my habits that should be celebrated:

Habit = Recorded at least one (usually 2) 45 min+ interview(s) per month, and shared them with the world for the past 9 years

Result of this habit = Immense gratitude for myself and others, excitement about what I’m doing, incredible business opportunities, sustained energy for life…Happiness

Accomplishment = Co-host of the #1 real estate investment podcast in Canada

Habit = Talked to 20+ people about real estate at least 4 days per week, every week, for the past 9 years

Result of this habit = Immense gratitude for myself and others, excitement about what I’m doing, incredible business opportunities, sustained energy for life…Happiness

Accomplishment = Built a portfolio of real estate worth over $60M

Habit = Filled my mind with learning everyday for 9+ years to increase my knowledge about business and personal development. Sometimes its 5 mins, other times its 5 hours, but I never go a day without purposefully learning something on these 2 topics.

Result of this habit = Immense gratitude for myself and others, excitement about what I’m doing, incredible business opportunities, sustained energy for life…Happiness

Accomplishment = Founded multiple $1M+ revenue businesses

Happiness is the ultimate goal. I think we all can agree on that.

Caribbean Happiness:

Throughout 2022 I spent 3 weeks in the Caribbean. I mean the real world Caribbean, not just lounging at a resort with rich North Americans. When you hang out with locals there, you really see how financial and business achievements are practically irrelevant to happiness. It could be a part of it for you, but it’s certainly not required.

In many island countries you’ll witness the island lifestyle where people are on “island time”. Perhaps some of you are enjoying some time there right now over as you read this.

Many Caribbean locals have made a habit out of chilling out and enjoying the little things. Its an anti-stress habit that breeds happiness.

Gratitude and forgiveness are abundant amongst many island nations.

They’re 2 of the most happiness-breeding habits you could have.

My experiences there in 2022 helped me clarify my ultimate “why” and purpose in life. It’s a why that will never change, and it’s a why that I will never accomplish. It has no finish line.

My “ultimate why” is to be the best that I can be.

In order to be the best that I can be, I’m choosing to focus on building and maintaining great habits. This includes personal and business habits.

All business habits are a reflection of your personal habits.

You’re best served by focussing on your personal habits first and foremost. Here’s my top 10 list of personal happiness habits to kick off 2023 with a bang…

Top 10 “Happiness Habits” to start in 2023:

1. Gratitude.

Start and/or end your day with written gratitude statements. I like to choose 3 things I’m grateful for from the past 24 hours. This ensures they are always different, and it forces me to go about my days searching for new things to be grateful for.

2. Exercise.

Minimum 10 minutes daily.

3. Reading.

Especially personal development and autobiographies.

4. Scrolling Purposefully.

Social media has lots of helpful information, but avoid mindless scrolling. Tip. Favourite your top social media accounts that provide useful info for you. Go to this list when you want to be purposeful. Hide the accounts that provide no value and rarely, if ever, visit this group.

5. Forced Suffering.

This could include taking cold showers, pushing yourself to new fitness levels, intermittent fasting etc. Forced suffering will help deter feelings of self entitlement.

6. Mindful Breathing.

This is an easy form of meditation. Find a few minutes each day for it.

7. Curiosity.

Stay curious, and less judgemental.

8. Forgiveness.

End your day by forgiving 1 person for something that went wrong. This includes yourself!

9. Drinking More Water.

Often when we’re feeling tired, it’s simply because our body is craving more water. Drink lots, all day long.

10. Consuming Less.

Even if you can afford it, endless consumption ruins the little things in life. And the best things in life are free.

Do not try and do all these at once. It takes on average 66 days to form new habits. Form 2 or 3 of these at a time before starting up a new batch. By the end of the year you’ll have 10 amazing habits formed.

It’s all about great habits.

Oh and as for new years resolutions, well you probably get the point here now on how to choose those. 

Resolutions are great. Build them around a set of habits, not the results. 

Don’t lose 10 pounds. Instead, go to the gym 5 days a week. 

Don’t earn $100k in commissions. Instead, make the # of calls daily that are needed to guarantee you $100k.

Don’t read 50 books this year. Instead, read 20 pages a day, every day. 

Cheers to an amazing 2023 filled with greatness and happiness.

– Sandy Mackay