Justin Kan had plenty to be happy about in 2018.
In September, the self-made millionaire and co-founder of the popular video game streaming site Twitch, which sold to Amazon for $970 million in 2014, landed $65 million in funding for his latest start-up: a machine learning company for the legal industry, called Atrium LTS.
But launching successful companies isn't the only way to increase your happiness, according to Kan, who says he discovered a handful of daily activities that "significantly improved" his level of happiness.
In a recent Twitter thread, Kan discussed some of the biggest lessons he learned in 2018. Among them was the idea that daily habits like meditating can be "transformational" in terms of improving Kan's "baseline personal happiness," he says.
Kan mentions the popular meditation app Headspace, which guides users through meditation techniques that they can use for a few minutes each day. The start-up is one of a handful of meditation and mindfulness companies that have recently gained popularity as people look for new and easy ways to reduce stress. Headspace raised $37 million in funding in 2017, at which point the company was valued at roughly $250 million, according to Forbes.
Kan also points to 5 Minute Journal, a company that sells journals filled with daily inspirational quotes and weekly challenges, and which are aimed at getting you to spend five minutes each day writing down some of the things you experienced that day and how you could have made the day better. The idea is that you "focus on the good in your life, become more mindful, and live with intention," the company says.
Another daily practice that Kan touts is "gratitude" — or, in other words, the simple practice of regularly being open with your loved ones by honestly telling your friends and family that they are important to you.
Kan's advice to his more than 50,000 Twitter followers is that happiness can be attained through relatively simple daily practices, like being vulnerable by discussing your feelings with loved ones, as well as meditating to reduce stress and improve your self-awareness. In fact, he says, those daily actions can offer a greater boost to your happiness than even career success.
"No amount of achievement or success or material possessions will create happiness," Kan writes on Twitter. "To tie your ego's wellness to achievement is an unhealthy linkage, even though we do it every day."
Of course, Kan has indeed experienced quite a bit of success in his career. He is one of four co-founders who launched the live video platform Justin.tv in 2007 before pivoting the site to focus specifically on streaming gaming, when it became Twitch.
After selling Twitch to Amazon for nearly a billion dollars in 2014, Kan left that company to become a partner at Y Combinator, the start-up incubator that's helped launch successful startups like Airbnb and Dropbox, and which was an early investor in Twitch as well as Kan's new start-up, Atrium LTS. Kan left Y Combinator in 2017 to launch his own accelerator, called Zero-F, and he is also serving as the CEO of Atrium LTS.
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