Getting a job on Wall Street was the first of like ten boxes I thought I needed to check in order to be happy. The last box — the finish line — was to make a "stick," which means earn one million dollars in a year.
A decade into my career I was sitting on the couch, alone, in my 2,700 square-foot Tribeca apartment. It was just after Christmas and I had received a $2 million bonus. I was thinking to myself, I got the girl, the home, the social status, the job title and tons of power. But if I can just make three million dollars next year … then I'll be happy.
I sought happiness like a crack addict in search of his next rock. I constantly craved for my next hit of happiness.
I did it all — I produced an up-and-coming rapper, bought a race horse and wrote and executive produced two short films. I invested in Fatburger, a casual dining burger joint, bought a loft in the city and a 100-year old home on the North Shore of Long Island. All of which I thought would make me happy.
After making $2 million, I thought I was on the one-yard line — I was so close. Only in looking back do I realize how miserable I was. No matter how much money, experiences and material things I accumulated—it was never going to be enough.
It's so cliché to say "money can't buy happiness." When I used to hear people say this, I wanted to punch them. I thought: Anyone who would make such a claim clearly has never had real money. For sure, money makes things easier. But for me, it never actually made me happy. It was more like brief spurts of euphoria that quickly flamed out.