Now that I'm in my mid 30s, I often think about how I have evolved from a little monkey to a full grown ape. Each time I have evolved, there was usually some sort of impactful experience that caused me to think differently. More recently, I've been examining the meaning of happiness and the lengths that we will go to achieve it.
In my teenage years and 20's, I wanted to be the best at whatever I did. I chose to focus on capoeira, one of the coolest martial arts. I ate, breathed, and dreamt about different moves and combinations. I progressed quite rapidly and learned a lot of the more difficult and dynamic movements within the first 6 months of training. After that, I hit a plateau that I haven't been able to overcome to this day. I believe I limited myself because my motivation for getting really, really good at capoeira was because I loved the attention I would get when I would do flips at a club, park, or just down the street. When I didn't give a shit about what people thought about me, my motivation to get better dwindled and I ended up going back to my favorite hobby, video games!
When we first conceptualized VapeXhale, my goal was to create the greatest vaporizer the world has ever seen and to improve the health of anyone who was into combusting their herbs. Obviously this wasn't 100% altruistic, I was hoping to make enough money to feed my family as well but there was a part of me that was looking forward to being the CEO of the best vaporizer company on the planet. Being a big shot seemed pretty cool and would validate that being a law school dropout was the best decision I ever made.
In 2010, everything changed when my beautiful daughter was born and I had another priority in my life. Even though I am the CEO of this company, I'm not afraid to say that my main job in life is to be a good father. I think human capital is one of the least tapped into resources that we have. While I love vaporizers almost more than anything in the world, being a great dad is even more important. Does this mean I've taken my eyes off of the prize? Absolutely not, these two things don't need to be mutually exclusive. What is does mean is that although I have yet to achieve my professional goals, I have hit the jackpot for my personal goals.
Living in a capitalistic society is tricky. On one hand, having more money makes life easier, but does it make you more happy? I come from a family of overachievers and probably one of the few that "only" has a college degree from UCLA. Even though I'm quite proud, in my family, unless you have a MBA, MD, or PhD, that means you haven't achieve the minimum acceptable educational criteria. Even though I've never outright asked them how happy they are, I'm pretty sure that I've found a higher level of satisfaction with my life even though I may not have accomplished as much as my other family members.
What I'm trying to say here is, happiness is a strange thing to try and quantify. Success can be professional, personal, or spiritual success and all are weighted differently for each person. I might sound like some hippy on their soapbox but I think chasing the gold at the end of the rainbow is fruitless exercise. I think we should encourage each other to really think about what we really want to do in our lives and try and inspire them through our own actions. I used to judge my success on how much I made each year, now I measure myself through how smiles per day I can produce. Let's all try and make a few people smile this weekend and make the Earth a happier place.