Some people can never have enough. Alternatively, some people are satisfied with just eeking out a living doing what they love.
It all depends on your goals, your upbringing, and maybe even your sensitivity to the law of diminishing utility. In other words, asking how much of something (money, time away from family, anonymity) is enough to make yourself feel safe, content, and in some cases, when do you as an individual have enough of that something to make you hang up your cleats and walk away.
I’ve been struggling with some of these issues lately, so imagine my curiosity in finding out that my favorite comedian — Dave Chappelle — struggled with similar issues prior to walking away from The Chappelle Show and a lucrative $50 million dollar contract. (Note: no one offered me millions so it’s not that sort of struggle!)
[Scroll to 6:20 in the interview for the "when is enough" conversation.]
The point Chappelle made that really struck me was recalling a past conversation with his father prior to becoming a comedian, where they discussed knowing the proper exit point after becoming a success. In essence, or at least what I took the main point of the conversation to be, was that in order to have a bank account of X dollars and a celebrity profile of Y amount, you must be willing to give up Z amount of yourself. So when X + Y is > Z, then it’s time to get out and look for new projects that interest you.
I find this advice to be particularly sobering, because, by in large, your happiness (however you measure it) depends on how much of yourself you are willing to give away compared to how much of the other important parts of your life are you willing to compromise.
As he goes on to say in the interview (part 9 of 9), when you achieve a certain level of professionalism and begin crossing certain economic thresholds, the amount of time that you will be forced to invest may not be worth the financial compensation that you would receive.
In other words, once you have X in your bank account, do you really need 50X to make you feel happy or complete, when most you ever had over the majority of your life was 0.05X? How should the observation that you were 100 fold happier when you only had 0.05X weigh upon a future decision that you should even attempt to get 50X, given that X will do nicely.
While one would be extremely fortunate to have such personal choices to make, it doesn’t detract from the possibility that such a difference in economic thresholds creates a multitude of new personal responsibilities, or problems, that one might not want even want to think about. Much less, experience firsthand.
So I ask you… at what point is it worth it?
Should having enough be just a personal issue related to your happiness? Should it be solely about time investments and the toll it takes upon your personal life? Or should it be about finding a compromise between the two?