The content below was recovered from archive.org
I discovered the amazing increasehappiness.com website in April 2010. When I went
back to read it again, I found it was gone and the domain was for sale. So, I
purchased it and recreated this website to help others. If you have questions or
feedback please email travis at increasehappiness dot com.
7. Increase Wealth
WEALTH is anything which has value to you. In its simplest forms, Wealth includes food and
shelter. All living things require Wealth for Physical Survival.
Wealth can sometimes be found, but more often must be created. To create Wealth requires a
transformation from CHAOS into ORDER.
- A farmer transforms a Chaotic plot of earth into Orderly rows of crops.
- A tailor transforms a Chaotic collection of cloth into an Orderly garment.
- A homebuilder transforms a Chaotic pile of building materials into an Orderly dwelling.
The process of transforming Chaos into Order involves both technology and skill. You can
improve your skills, and knowledge of technology, through EDUCATION. Education is the
process of creating Order from Chaos in your mind.
What about money?
To earn money, you transform Chaos into Order for others.
- Employees produce Order needed by their employers.
- Professionals create Order for the benefit of their clients.
- A business provides an Orderly product for its customers.
When you create Order for others, you add to their Wealth. In many cases, they offer “Thank
You” notes for your efforts. Those “Thank You” notes are called MONEY.
Is it moral for me to Increase Wealth when others might not have enough? Much is said
about the morality of Wealth.
- Money, or the desire for Money, is the root of all evil.
- Rich people are greedy, and cheat to get ahead.
- Wealth will corrupt you.
Yet people also use money to help themselves and others. So what is the answer?
The source of Wealth morality is FREEDOM. Free people engage in VOLUNTARY
transactions. In Voluntary transactions, people only give up their Wealth when they perceive
they are getting something more valuable in return.
- Your customers think your products are more valuable than your prices or they wouldn’t buy.
- Your employer thinks your time is more valuable than your salary or you would be fired.
- Even your friends think your friendship is more valuable than the gifts they give you.
When you engage in Voluntary transactions with others, you help them while you help yourself –
both parties get something more valuable to them. The more transactions you desire, the more
you seek to help others. In fact, the Wealth you accumulate through Voluntary transactions can
be a measure of the Happiness you have brought to others.
Why does Wealth have such a bad reputation?
Because not everyone tries to Increase Wealth
through Voluntary transactions. Instead they use FORCE (stealing) or FRAUD (lying). Any
transaction involving Force or Fraud is an INVOLUNTARY transaction.
Those who take your Wealth through Involuntary transactions deprive you of the Freedom to
choose what you want to do with your Wealth, which is the same as depriving you of the time
you spent to accumulate your Wealth. It is as if you were enslaved for that portion of your life
required to create your Wealth, and slavery is immoral.
Wealth also has a bad reputation because people create Excuses to demonize Wealth, either
because they don’t have much of it, or because they want yours.
They argue that the nature of business is stealing, and use as examples business people who are
implicated in theft or deception. But they typically fail to note that people also steal in churches,
charities, and government. Business is not stealing -- stealing is stealing, and it can happen
Finally, some people are misguided, and believe Wealth is limited and must be divided. In fact,
Wealth is created when you meet human needs. Since human needs are unlimited, so is the
potential for Wealth.
Does money buy Happiness?
That question persists because it actually contains two questions
with opposite answers. The first question is: “Does money always buy Happiness?” Of course
The second question is: “Does money ever buy Happiness?” Of course it does. When you buy
the food you need to live, for example, the Pleasure of eating easily exceeds the Pain of
relinquishing your Money.
Some people adopt the Excuse that they don’t care about Wealth, because Wealthy people can
still be unhappy. That is true, but un-wealthy people can also be unhappy. Consider that it is
easier to be Happy when you have Wealth, not to mention the Happiness you bring others when
you earn Wealth through Voluntary transactions.
How do I Increase Wealth?
Change your Desires. The Wealth you have right now is a
reflection of your current Desires (and Excuses). To Increase Wealth you will need to change
In addition to being demonized, Money is also trivialized.
- It’s only money.
- Easy come, easy go.
- You can’t take it with you.
- You only live once.
A portion of your life is spent to earn Money. Those who show disrespect for your Money
(including you) also show disrespect for your life. If your Money is not important, than neither is
a significant part of your life.
To some, your life is not important, at least not as important as their lives. That’s reasonable, so
long as their efforts to take your Money are limited to Voluntary transactions.
To you, however, your life is the most important thing you own, and you should Affirm to treat
it, and the Money you create, with the respect they deserve.
To increase earning, you need to improve your ability to create Order from Chaos for others. But
you must also consider the market for your services. The amount you earn is not based on the
value or importance of what you do – many jobs are important but don’t pay well.
Your monetary value to others depends on supply and demand: How many people have your
skills, and how many people want your skills? To maximize your value to others, you should
offer skills that many people want and few people have. If millions (or billions) of people can do
what you do, your earning potential is limited.
Because the needs of others constantly change, so must your skills. You can learn new skills
through formal education, or on the job, or on your own. You should Affirm to enjoy learning
new skills for the rest of your life.
Invest in education, but before you do, be sure you will be trained to do something people
actually want to pay for. Those who sell education sometimes ignore the market value of the
skills you will learn. Also be willing to look outside traditional forms of education.
Once acquired, Wealth can either be CONSUMED or INVESTED. Money that is Consumed will
never be seen again. It might be spent on necessities such as food, rent, utilities, and insurance,
or on frivolous consumption.
When Invested, money is converted into an asset which can usually be re-converted back into
money. Many assets earn money while you own them. Stocks, bonds, real estate, and your own
business are common Investments.
To Increase Wealth you need to Consume less and Invest more. A strong target for reducing
spending is anything that creates debt, such as car loans and credit card debt. You should affirm
to accept debt only for Investment, not for Consumption.
You should also Affirm to be frugal – take Pleasure from spending as little as possible to enjoy
your life. Invest the rest in the most worthy Investments you can find. Seek advice from others
about Investing, but take responsibility yourself for watching over your Investments.
Your Investments might produce income, but a common mistake is to rely too soon on
Investment income. Even when your Investments do well, you should Affirm to keep working at
your job or business. Working is also a source of Happiness when you enjoy what you do.
According to the Survival Syndrome, Instinctive Survival Desires can both Increase and
Decrease your Happiness. A prime example is OPTIMISM.
Optimism is a Survival Desire that causes you to believe future Pain and Pleasure will be better
than experience would suggest. Optimism helps Survival by encouraging you to persevere when
faced with life-threatening dangers. Optimism also encourages risk-taking, which is an important
ingredient for Innovation and therefore prosperity.
But Optimism can encourage risk that decreases Happiness. For example, the Desire for
gambling derives from your instinctive Optimism. Gambling includes games of chance as well as
get-rich-quick schemes which also prey on your need to make a living.
Gambling is seductive because sometimes people win. But gambling always produces more
losers than winners. Even though you are far more likely to be one of the losers, your Optimism
causes you to act as if you will be one of the winners.
The cure for gambling is to Affirm to make important Choices with facts rather than wishes. You
don’t need to be a pessimist, but make sure your Optimism does not mislead you.
Events which will occur far into the future receive even more natural Optimism than events
which will happen soon. That is the FUTURE FACTOR, and it exists because the future holds
For example, if you owe someone money tomorrow, there is not much room for Optimism – you
know you will need to pay. But if you owe someone money in five years, a lot could happen
before you need to pay. You could get a raise, win the lottery, or maybe inherit money.
Even though you “know” you need to meet future obligations, the Future Factor causes you to
underestimate the true cost of future Pain. It can also cause you to overestimate future Pleasure.
Both can be harmful to Increasing Wealth, because many financial transactions take place over
When events are pushed far into the future, your ability to weigh them is impaired. You are
likely to discount the future Pain of obligations such as mortgage debt, car loans, and credit card
payments. You are also likely to overestimate the future Pleasure of Investments, even when they
are unlikely to work at all.
The cure for the Future Factor is to enjoy planning for the future. Affirm to give full
consideration to future events before you make Choices today.
Another form of Optimism is INFATUATION. Infatuation serves an important role for Survival.
It is the desire to acquire.
Imagine you are considering someone as a potential mate. You critically examine your
prospective spouse and weigh the Pleasures and Pains of mating. After thinking, you’re still not
sure, so you say no.
That’s not good enough for Survival. Species Survival has historically relied on less thinking and
more mating. Infatuation works to push you over the edge of indecision.
Infatuation alters your perception of certain Choices by magnifying anticipated Pleasure and
minimizing anticipated Pain. You can be Infatuated with potential mates, as well as with material
things (many of which might make you more desirable to potential mates.)
Infatuation blocks out negative thoughts about a potential acquisition whether it’s a romantic
partner, a new car, or a health club membership. Only after the Infatuation wears off will you
appreciate the Pain of your Choices. If you Choose while Infatuated, you can easily find yourself
married to the wrong person, living in a house you can’t afford, with credit card debt that will
push you into bankruptcy.
Since Infatuation is temporary, the cure is to Affirm to enjoy DELAYED GRATIFICATION.
Whenever you feel the desire to acquire something, take an hour, or a day, or maybe a year to
think about it. When Delayed Gratification becomes one of your Desires, you will actually enjoy
the waiting process, and savor those things that still interest you afterward.
A variation of Infatuation is the idea that to enjoy something you must own it. Many people buy
expensive items they might easily rent instead.
Regardless of whether you rent or buy, ultimately all you gain is an experience. The experience
of ownership can include many extra Pains such as maintenance, insurance, and storage. Affirm
to consider all aspects of an experience before you decide to buy.
- Wealth results from transforming Chaos into Order.
- Wealth morality comes from the Freedom to engage in Voluntary transactions.
- Money does buy Happiness, sometimes.
- Respect your money and the time it takes to earn it.
- Increase Earning by developing skills to meet the needs of others.
- Continue earning while you Invest. Pay attention to your investments.
- Plan for the future to avoid the Future Factor.
- Overcome Infatuation by enjoying Delayed Gratification.
What if I don’t want to make a lot of money, but instead want to do something important?
That’s your Choice. Just remember, when you make a lot of money through Voluntary
transactions, you are doing something important to the people paying you, or they wouldn’t give
you their money.
If I’m careful about spending my money, won’t that make it harder for others to Increase
The money you don’t spend on consumption will be available to invest in or loan to
others. A society is more prosperous when resources are allocated to capital investments rather
than frivolous consumption.
What’s wrong with frivolous consumption if it makes me Happy?
only makes you Happy because of your Desires. If you change your Desires, not only will you be
Happy to reduce consumption, you will be even Happier with the long term benefits of
Increasing Wealth. Frivolous consumption is like junk food – yes, it makes you Happy, but only
for the moment.
What if I don’t want to plan for the future? what’s wrong with living in the moment?
People who live "in the moment" will sometimes have great moments. People who plan for the
future can enjoy lives filled with great moments.
When I compete with someone else for business, isn’t it true that I can only win when my
When you compete for business, the winners are your customers. They
benefit when you provide a superior alternative. You benefit when they thank you for your
efforts. Your competitors benefit by learning they will need to improve to remain competitive.
What if I charge too much for my services? Isn’t that being greedy?
When you charge "too
much" then fewer people will use your services and eventually you make less money. The
"greedy" choice would be to reduce your prices so you make more money. Of course, by
charging less you are only helping people more, which isn’t greedy after all.
Greed refers to excessive desire. But when you are helping others through Voluntary
transactions, no amount of desire is excessive. The truly greedy are those who engage in
What about companies that sell bad or overpriced products or services?
immoral? Selling a product that is fraudulent is an Involuntary transaction which should result
in a refund or else a legal penalty. Selling a product that is simply a bad bargain, demonstrates
the critical importance of Voluntary transactions. Companies learn they are offering bad bargains
when customers are free to take their business elsewhere.
What about people who make Weak Choices and buy products that are not good for them?
How is that a beneficial Voluntary transaction? Not good according to whom? The question
is, who is responsible for their Choices. To answer that, you should AFFIRM