By any measurable standard, the President of the United States is rich. He earns a nice living, and has the capacity to make millions when he retires. He lives in a mansion with a huge staff that caters to his every whim. He flies around the world in the lap of luxury on Air Force One. When he wants to get out of town, he can escape to Camp David, his own private getaway. With all of this wealth and all of these pleasures, he must be happy, right? But I wonder.
Happiness is built on the foundation of a stable lifestyle, and certainly the President has all the lifestyle anyone would need. On top of that, happiness is about the quality of our most important relationships, being engaged in an activity that ignites our passions, and making a positive difference in the lives of others.
In each of those areas, the President faces big challenges. On the relationship front, he and his family live their lives under a microscope. All families face conflict and challenges. How much harder must those be with the world watching your every move?
The President spends a lot of time asking for money, soothing frail egos, and battling with leaders who hope to derail his vision for the future. How much fun is that?
The President may feel like he is making a positive difference, but he must contend with an avalanche of criticism over everything he does and says.
The President is certainly rich and powerful. But from a happiness perspective, I would not want to swap places with him. Would you?