Hans Johnson

Journey of the Rich Miserable Bastard (Money vs. Happiness)

journey of the rich miserable bastard.jpeg

No drier desert of the human soul exists than the triune desert of me, myself and I. It is a sea of death... a wasteland of despair.

Giving and contribution, living a productive life, creating value for others and walking in communion with the Creator are where the Living Waters of life, fulfillment, purpose and freedom are found.

For many years now I've had a slight obsession to better understand human behavior and psychology, to understand why we do the things we do, think the way we do, say the things we say… usually on autopilot without thinking.

As with most things in my life, the best laboratory I’ve personally found has always been acute observation of my own behavior and thinking and an introverted study of my life's failures and mistakes.

I grew up poor, on welfare, raised by a single mom.

I rationalize that the environment wasn't always that bad, but it was never stable. I worked from the time I was 8 years old to make my own money and I was living on my own at 12 years old.

I learned very early on that if I wanted something bad enough, I just needed to work hard enough for it. I would consider this a good value and virtue to have.

But there's another side to that coin.

When you grow up in that kind of environment, and you fight through life to survive and succeed in business, money, marriage, family, etc. you eventually realize there's something else driving you.

You get the money, the success and achievements, but you lose something along the way much more important... your heart.

You become fearful, insecure and unhappy.

You don’t realize it consciously, and you would never admit it to anyone, let alone yourself.

But you’re miserable.

You’re what I've affectionately refer to as the Rich Miserable Bastard.

That may be a hard pill to swallow. It certainly was for me when I was confronted with it.

Let me share with you my vision, what was revealed to me in my own journey towards “True" Wealth.

We’ve all heard the saying… "money doesn’t buy happiness".

Like many sayings we hear throughout our life, sometimes we have to step back and start asking questions.

We're told money doesn’t buy us happiness.

Ok fine.

Well if money doesn’t buy happiness, then what does? Try finding someone to answer that question, they usually can't.

Many studies have been done lately looking for an answer. And in almost all cases, directly or indirectly the quality of our happiness is directly linked to the quality of our relationships, feeling of productivity and life experiences - not the things we accumulate or what we own.

It's what I call the Money vs Happiness quadrant.

If you’ve ever been confused or conflicted between the search for material vs spiritual wealth, this will explain it all. It is literally a golden roadmap to achieving both money AND happiness.


The world worships it. The “church" hates it (unless of course its asking for an offering). Its the thing that stirs up more anxst than anything else.

More than 50% of divorces are said to be related to financial issues. I wonder what the other 50% are related to? Hmm… that’s another discussion for another time.

Money is a tool. Like a hammer. You can build an orphanage with it, or wack someone on the head with it. Same tool, different result.


It's that ever elusive thing we can barely define. What does it mean exactly? I’m not really sure. Fulfillment? Achievement? Recognition? Security? Luxury? Love? Struggle?

Over the years I’ve put a bit of thought and reflection into this very issue and question.

It's what happens when you go through a devastating experience that strips you of everything you have, everything you are and everything that is important to you... and you ask the most important question ever asked... who the !@#% am I?

They say money can’t buy you happiness. That’s true. But neither does being broke.

So if money can't “buy” happiness and neither does the lack of money buy happiness, maybe there really isn’t a direct correlation? Correlation does not mean causation. Meaning, the 2 might be related, but they don’t necessarily cause each other.

If anything, happiness has a better chance of “causing” money than money causing happiness.

Now let's take a look at the Money vs Happiness Quadrant and I'll explain what it means.

money vs happiness.jpg

Our journey through life is represented in this simple diagram. And it explains everything you need to know about the relationship between your money and your happiness.

In the diagram, there are 2 paths.

The horizontal line (x axis) represents progress towards material or physical wealth (Money).

The vertical line (y axis) represents progress towards spiritual or relationship wealth (Happiness).

Memorize this diagram because if you're ever lacking one or the other it holds the key and answer to the reason why and how to correct it.

The lower left block is a PN which stands for Poor & Needy:
  • We all start out in life as a poor and needy.
  • We have no ability to take care of ourselves.
  • We’re a “dependent” on someone else’s tax return and often much more than that on others in real life.
  • We don't have the education, skills or burning desire to change our circumstances and improve our lives.
  • We live by excuses, rationalizing our situation telling ourselves we weren't born lucky, we don't have what it takes, we just weren't meant to live an exciting, rich and fulfilling life.
  • We're happy to just get by, or we cycle between a certain threshold of income and happiness.
The upper left block is SB which stands for Spiritual & Broke:
  • This is someone who’s attained some form of spiritual “enlightenment” or focus in life.
  • They have learned the treasures and richness of putting others first.
  • They have experienced the “Kingdom” life of living in a personal relationships with the Creator.
  • They are active in some form of business of helping others, missionary or non profit work.
  • They rarely have sufficient income to cover their personal needs and regularly "raise support" to survive.
The upper right block is FSF which stands for Freedom, Security & Fulfillment (or the Wealth Builder):
  • This person has attained the best of both worlds.
  • They have freedom - every human on earth was born with an innate desire for freedom (nobody truly wants to be told what to do and when to do it by an oppressive boss or government)
  • They have security, they live in a secure country and neighborhood where they can go out and walk at night without fear or risk of being victimized
  • They are fulfilled in what they do and how they spend their time.
  • They are able to make a meaningful contribution in lives of others or are engaged in a fulfilling and productive purpose
  • They have sufficient money to enjoy life, money is not a barrier to their goals, dreams or freedom and security
  • They have a rich personal relationship with the Creator and high quality relationships with others
  • They live with peace and contentment in who they are, they are secure and free in their identity
The lower right block is RMB which stands for… you guest it… RICH MISERABLE BASTARD!!
  • This person has all his material wealth and needs covered and then some
  • They don’t however have everything they want, because the defining characteristic of the RMB is they always want more, more, more but are never satisfied or happy
  • When they reach a goal, they are never really fulfilled because they are immediately focused on the next thing they need to do to feel good about themselves
  • They typically live under a lot of pressure and stress
  • They’re not at peace with themselves or the world around them
  • They don’t often treat people well
  • They struggle with frustration, insecurity, control, fear and anger
Now the key is this.
At different times all of us can be in one or many of these boxes but MOST importantly, we are in control of what box we're in! If we're not satisfied with something we can change it and alter our life's trajectory.
  • Not making enough money or want to achieve more or accomplish bigger tougher goals? Time to invest in yourself and double down on your core income generating and money management skills.
  • Not very happy, struggling with depression, loneliness, unfulfillment, sadness or lack of motivation? Time to invest more time and focus on the quality of relationships starting with the Creator, yourself and then others most closest and important to you.
When either of these areas get out of balance, we can find ourselves in a box that isn’t our best potential - Poor & Needy, Spiritual & Broke or… the Rich Miserable Bastard.

When I’m feeling miserable, and acting like an RMB, I know the cure.

It's more quality time with my Heavenly Father, investing into my own personhood and getting some quality un agenda’d time with those I love most, my beautiful wife and kids. It may also be that I'm not being productive (over committed?) or focusing on the wrong things and not feeling fulfilled in my work.

If you’re pursuing wealth and achieving everything you’ve ever dreamed of in life, but neglecting your heart, your relationships with others and most importantly your identity rooted in the Creator… be careful you may not know it yet, but… you just might be a Rich Miserable Bastard.

Get the True Wealth Formula Implementation Program for more info on the Rich Miserable Bastard and how to create wealth and legacy in your life!