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The Paradox of (Financial) Success


success doesn't bring happiness
❝When you chase money, you're going to lose...Even if you get the money, you're not going to be happy.❞ -Gary Vaynerchuk

I'm on my way to the gym listening to a podcast. It's snowing out, and I have to drive a little slower than I usually do. As I'm driving, I'm careful not to come to a complete stop because otherwise, I'll get stuck in the snow. Essentially I'm stuck between not going too fast and not going too slow.


While I'm driving at the appropriate Goldilocks speed, the podcast host talks about the television program, BoJack Horseman. Specifically, he wonders if the show has it right; he wonders if we have to either be a Zoe or a Zelda. He explains that in the show, a character named Zelda is happy, optimistic, and generally likes life in people. Another character is Zoe, who is pessimistic, generally sad, and often in a bad mood. The question they raise in the show is whether or not we are born as a Zoe or a Zelda, or if we can change.


This idea is fascinating to me, and I've heard of the show before, but I haven't watched it. I convince my wife that BoJack Horseman is worth a try. As we're watching it, we find out that the show is about a very successful actor who is unhappy by nature. He's unhappy even though he has all the money he could ever want. He's unhappy even though he has one of the best houses in Hollywood. He's unhappy even though he has many awards, fans, and followers. Throughout the show, he continues to strive for more success, thinking that maybe then he'll be happy, but he never is. Then he starts to think that maybe there's something wrong with him because he should be happy, but he's not.