Inside My Brain

Thoughts about startups, tech, marketing, and life

TAG: satisfaction

Why satisfaction is more important to achieve than happiness

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about how I was happy about where I am in my career, but not at all satisfied.

I wrote about this a few years ago, and it keeps coming back to my mind, so I wanted to revisit it.

There is a huge difference between the two, and I think satisfaction is more important to achieve than happiness.

In most situations, satisfaction is easier to attain than happiness.

If you watched a decent movie, you might be satisfied with the way you spent your Friday evening. But if you watched a great flick, you would be really happy about the $10 you just spent.

If you had dinner at Burger King, you’d be satisfied with your full stomach. If you had a prix-fixe meal with the wine pairing at a top restaurant, you’d be really happy with your full stomach.

Most people strive for happiness in life. This is certainly a wonderful goal to reach for and attain.

But I think satisfaction is more difficult and more important to achieve. And a lot of it comes down to competitiveness and ambition.

If you’re a runner, you might be happy with the time it took you to finish that 10K. But if you’re competitive, you’re likely not satisfied and know that you can run faster.

If you’re a movie director, you might be happy with that last scene. But there might be a part of you that knows it could have gone better, so you’re not satisfied until you get it perfect.

Like I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m very happy with my career. I’m working with a great team and doing what I want in the industry of my choice.

But am I satisfied? Hell no.

I want to develop a product that impacts millions of lives in a positive way and build a lasting company that generates revenue and creates jobs.


I’m also very happy with my personal life. I have a wonderful family and live in a great condo in an awesome neighborhood of Washington DC.

But am I satisfied? Hell no.

I want to get better as a husband and dad and raise my daughter to be a beautiful, successful woman. I want to travel and see more of the world. I want to continue to grow and cultivate my personal relationships.

I’ve achieved happiness for a long time. But satisfaction has been eluded me so far.

I’ll get there someday.

This is day 17 of my experiment to blog for 30 consecutive days.

Best Wedding Ever!

I got married to Vicky Huang twelve days ago, on May 11, 2013. And I might be biased, but I think it was the BEST WEDDING EVER!

We had an amazing destination wedding at the all-inclusive Azul Sensatori resort in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, which is about 20 minutes south of Cancun in the Riviera Maya. The resort was beautiful and had everything we imagined – great accommodations, delicious and abundant food and drink (which we took full advantage of), plenty of entertainment options, and excellent customer service. The weather was perfect and the ceremony and reception went off without a hitch. Everyone had a great time, so much so that last night, our friends were still talking about what went down!

Here’s a quick recap of the highlights:

  • A typical day consisted of:
    • Getting breakfast at one of the excellent resort restaurants
    • Swimming, tanning, and drinking by the pool or beach
    • Grabbing lunch at the beach BBQ or another restaurant
    • More swimming, tanning, and drinking by the pool or beach
    • Dinner at one of the restaurants
    • More drinking and hanging out at one of the bars
    • Winding up at the Mojito Lounge for drinking and dancing
  • The ceremony was perfect. Vicky looked stunning. And yes, I cried.

Mike and Vicky at altar

Chan crying

  • The reception was great. The bridesmaids and my best man performed excellent speeches. Vicky’s brother and my sister commemorated our fathers, both who have passed away and couldn’t be there with us. Delicious food was eaten, drinks were drank, shots of tequila were shot, dances were danced, and great times were had. I got thrown in the pool, my groomsmen and others joined me (see our wetness below), and Vicky even jumped in too!

Groomsmen after pool

  • Vicky, my mom, my mom’s friend, my cousin, and I had dinner at an awesome tasting menu restaurant called Le Chique, which Vicky and I agree is second only to Komi on our tasting-menu restaurant rankings. Delicious.
  • Vicky and I swam with dolphins.



  • Vicky and I doubled up on our last two meals. Right after we had a romantic dinner on the beach, we went to have tapas. The next morning, after a special couples breakfast in our room, we hit up Spoon for breakfast part dos.

My words can’t fully express how awesome this trip was.

But the best part (besides getting married, of course) was that 75 of our closest family members and friends joined us in celebrating. People traveled from DC, New York, New Jersey, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Philly, Minnesota, Texas, and even Taiwan to be with us on our big day. Better yet, they all made friends and had a great time with each other. Vicky and I are so lucky to have such supportive friends and family.

I wrote a post a year and a half ago about Happiness vs. Satisfaction, and how I was happy but not yet fully satisfied with life. This is one big step towards satisfaction in my personal life and I have my family, friends, and most importantly Vicky to thank for it.

If you’d like to see more pictures, drop me a line and I’ll send you a link to our Box account.

Like this post? Then follow me on Twitter – @mikewchan – for future updates.

Happiness vs. Satisfaction

Happiness has many different meanings to many different people, as does satisfaction. But for a long time I’ve been thinking: Happiness or Satisfaction – which is harder to attain? Which one should be the ultimate goal?

I think most people will instinctively say that satisfaction typically comes first, as happiness is harder to attain and is usually the end goal.  But I think there’s more than one perspective.

Let’s put this in the context of food, which I love and eat a lot of. If you eat a decent dinner at your local pizza parlor or burger joint, the meal may be satisfactory and you might be satisfied with your full belly. But if you ate an absolutely delicious meal in a 4-star restaurant like Komi (god I love that place), you’ll likely be a very happy camper.  In this case, satisfaction comes more easily and often and happiness is typically more difficult (and expensive) to attain.

Now let’s look at this in a different context. (Name drop alert) Over a year ago I read my big boss Ted Leonsis’ book, The Business of Happiness, which really puts happiness in perspective. A couple of months ago I sat down with Ted and discussed his experiences and how he attained happiness. But then I asked him – what’s the difference between happiness and satisfaction? You’re obviously happy but are you satisfied?

Does that make any sense? Let me explain. I’d say I’m in a pretty good situation in life. I have an extremely loving and supporting family; a fun and rewarding job; an awesome girlfriend; I live in a very nice condo (with my awesome girlfriend, who is also my roommate and landlord) in a great city; and I have a bunch of amazing friends. BUT I want more success in my career, I want to eventually get married and start a family, I want many houses in many cities (a little materialistic, but obviously everyone needs a mountain cabin for the winter and a lakehouse for the summer), and I want to continually grow my network of friends and contacts.

So am I happy? Absolutely. Am I satisfied? Not even close.

What about you? Are you happy, satisfied, or both?

There are no more results.