This has got to be one of all time favorite books. I know how a lot of people groan and moan at the fact that there are too many self-help books out there, and how they are almost always saying the the same things over and over, but just packaged and presented in a different manner. Well, I can promise you that Happy Sexy Millionaire is not one of those typical self-help books.
Happy Sexy Millionaire is raw, brutally honest, non-preachy and straightforwardly blunt with the readers. This book is the life of one young man who had an existensial crisis at the age of 18 and turned his life around. This is what worked for me: the relatability factor. I felt I could understand where he is coming from; he is just like me and not some privilged white male living an affluent life in New York or LA.
I had actually started following Bartlett on Instagram when one of his post caught my attention. I remember thinking at that point how accurate he was in making his point about our self worth. His words were not some generic statement. It spoke to me. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out his book was coming out.
Bartlett, being a black guy, at the age of 18 was lonely, insecure, drop out from university, living with a family that was bankrupt. He wrote three words in his diary at that time: Happy, Sexy and Millionaire. He had told himself that he would be all these three things by the time he is 25 years old. When Bartlett turned 25, he was heading a multi-million dollar business worth over 300 million dollars. He was also, and still is, happy and he has redefined what it means to be sexy (not just in a physical way but otherwise too!)
How did he do all this?
According to Bartlett, he claims that we are all being lied to. We are all being fed the wrong kind of information about what success and happiness. He says that we are all put on the same conveyor belt where we are all expected to do things which society/ parents want us to do. In his book, he goes back to the source of where all these ideas and beliefs come from, and how we are so easily led to believe it’s the truth.
Happiness: an internal feeling of fulfilment; happiness is an extended state, not fleeting moods; lives deep inside
Sexy (love): doesn’t mean sexually attractive; love, pursuit of love, pursuit of becoming loveable, desire to form romantic relationships, and the value a partner can have in our lives.
Millionaire (success): doesn’t mean actually one million dollars; success is subjective concept based on what you aim for an determined by what matters to you.
Once he understood the reality of it all, he redefined what happiness, success, fulfilment and love actually means. “I was a victim. A victim of today’s media narratives, social media fallacies and societal conventions. Conventions that, if followed, risk leading us down a dangerously miserable and unfulfilling path.” (page 3)
First life-shaking revelation that I’ve come to learn was that I had always been “happy.” My beliefs about the world led me to belive otherwise. (page 10)
You cannot win at being “happy.” You can only “be” it. (page 12). We shouldn’t have a “destination mindset.” All that really matters is now. (page 14)
Social media is lying to you. Data shows that even in most densely internet-connected societies, meaningful connection is at an all time low. Suicide is now at record rates in modern era, and addiction is killing more than it ever has. (page 19).
One of the great illusions in life is that we are in control of our decision making…scientific date shows human mind is deeply irrational and largely driven by subconscious impulses, hormones, survival instincts and the emotions they create. (page 22).
This is what happens when you bring together our abundant Western society, social media and out comparison-driven minds- peopel get miserable easily, mental health issues surge and suicide rates among youth people climb. (page 25).
It’s no surprise Instagram was voted the worst social media platform for mental health. (page28-29).
Unfollow, block and mute- and not just online. Block these peopel in real life. (page 32).
If there is one thing a person can do to increase their health and happiness, express gratitude. Everytime a person expresses gratitude, a chemical called dopamine (feel good neurotransmitter) is released in the brain. (page 39).
The secret of happiness is not found in seeling more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. (page 61).
Follow your passion is bullshit. The truth is, people have multiple “passions,”; they’re fluid and evolve wirh age, wisdom and experience. (page 69).
You have to become the author of your own ‘script,’ one written by your heart, not one directed by your society. (page 76)
People who exercise patience and self-restraint over long periods of time, who work towards a worthwhile goal without short-cuts or instant gratirtication, attain more happiness and success in the long term. (page 81).
How to create a successful career: Engage in your work; do work that helps others; don’t just do what you love, do what you’re good at; don’t work with arseholes; maintain work-life harmony. (page 81-92)
The choices we make and the timing with which we make them are everything. (page 121).
Overthinking stems from trying to make perfect decisions in a world where perfect decisons only exist in hindsight. (page 123).
When emotions go up, decision making goes down. (page 131).
Respond, don’t react. (page 141)
Your beliefs about yourself are the by-product of years of conditioning, childhood experiences, decades of consuming media stereotypes and hundreds of thousands of hours of feedback from friends, family and total strangers. (page 171).
There is no self-development without self-awareness. You can read as many books as you like, but if you’re unable to read yourself, you’ll never learn a thing. (page 174).
Intention is nothing without action and action is nothing without intention. Progress happens when your intentions and actions become the same thing. (page 175).
Growth is ahcieved by learning and unlearning at the same time. (page 180).
So much happiness comes from trying to make other people believe we are happy or significant. It turns out that validation is an inside job- on you can validate you. (page 185).
Responsibility: the ability and willingness to take responsibility- our emotional response is our fault and responsibility. (page 190).
Those who take personal responsbility have a greater chance of positive change. (page 194).
Nobody is motivated all of the time. Intrinsic motivation: when you engage in an activity solely because you enjoy it and get personal satifaction from it. Extrinsic motivation: you do something in order to gain an external reward. (page 198).
It’s your job to fight back, to hear your internal voice through the noise and ot make that voice most influential one in your life. If you can, you’ll find happiness. Add a serving of responsbility, freedom and some feeling of competence and you’ll find motivation. (page 215-216).
Remembering I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. (page 233).
There are loads of such words of wisdom, and I just realised as I was going over this list, that these words and statements have a much deeper meaning when you actually go through the whole chapters, as they can be better understood in context.
With Bartlett pouring out his life story with such honesty, I feel like I can relate to him, and so can take his words for what they mean.