I presume you’re familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

In running a business, there’s an interesting parallel, which I’d like to call Cash Flow’s Hierarchy of Greeds:

Level 1
Oh, crap. We’re actually going to die. We’re going to lose so much money. Our children will starve. Our spouses will have to hide their faces in public. This is awful.

Level 2
Whew. We’re not actually going to lose our shirts, but dang it! Why can’t we just break even? This is awful.

Level 3
Ohman this is so awesome. We’re actually gonna break even!!! But why the hell can’t we just make a profit? This is awful.

Level 4
Sweet! We’re actually making a little bit of money! But why is this making so little money? We’ve put so much work into this and this is all we’re getting in return? This is awful.

Level 5
Woo hoo! We’re actually making a reasonable profit. This is amazing!! But why aren’t we making anywhere near as much as those guys? This is awful.

Level 16

HECK YES. We actually own a huge market share and we’re making great profits doing it!! But we still haven’t funded our children’s retirement. This is awful.

And so it goes.

In sum, it truly doesn’t matter how much money you’re making, if you’re only looking forward to getting to that “next” level, you’re going to be continuously disappointed to find out that there’s always a next level.

Much better to focus on what’s really important and be grateful every, every, every day for the amazing cache of blessings we already have.

I’m reminded time and time again of one of my mom’s favorite quotes from Abraham Lincoln: “Most people are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”

Related side note: I’m really excited about this app some friends from Toronto are making: 1Thing App, which is all about gratitude.