Ask Jesse Episode 22: The Pursuit Of Happiness


Click here to listen to full episode on YouTube

Show Notes by Victoria Lynn Hall

It has seemed to me throughout my life that almost everyone I know is “too busy”.

For some people, this is an unavoidable reality. Their time is occupied with struggling to make a living and/or taking care of their loved ones in a world where that is becoming increasingly harder for them to do.

Yet for others, it is a choice that reflects their priorities and values, perhaps more than they think it does or more than they are willing to admit.

Several years ago, I made a different choice: I decided I was not ever going to be too busy for who and what I loved and these priorities have informed all of my best choices since then.

In many ways I am very lucky and privileged to be able to choose my current lifestyle. However, I have given up some tempting opportunities and possibilities in order to live this way. I could have chosen a different path and now have a bigger house, a nicer car, more money in the bank or more prestige but that is not what was important to me. Instead I chose a comfortable but more modest life where I could devote time and energy to self discovery, creativity and the people, animals and causes that have my heart.

I am not bragging here. I am not saying that I am some kind of self sacrificing saint. In fact it is the opposite. I simply took advantage of the luxury to choose what I felt would truly make me happy over what the world tells me is “supposed” to make me happy.

And yet, I have witnessed people who have that same luxury make the opposite choice only to make themselves and people around them miserable.

It makes me wonder, what if we treated “the pursuit of happiness” – not wealth or power but true happiness – as not just a right but a responsibility? I can’t help but think that this would lead many people to make different and better choices that might lead to a different and better world.


In this episode I spoke of my admiration for the work of Brené Brown, which has been instrumental in my choosing the right priorities. I highly recommend checking out her website and looking into her work if you are not already familiar with it.

Jesse mentioned this conversation in American Compass with J.D. Vance, from a “right” respective, and Chris Arnade from a “left” perspective on elites & those getting left behind.

I referenced this Washington Post article about the psychological toll exacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Jesse brought up the subject of Thomas Paine. I suggest the Thomas Paine National Historical Association website as a good place to begin learning more on the life, works and legacy of Paine.

Jesse also recommends reading this study on how wealth reduces compassion.

And because we entitled this episode “The Pursuit of Happiness”, this song by a great band of that name (from their phenomenal debut album, “Love Junk“, produced by Todd Rundgren) keeps playing in my head, so I thought I would share it here too:


Watch/listen to our full episode below or on YouTube where you can subscribe to all of our video content. We would also like to thank Kim D. for contributing her fabulous song, “Corporation Coup” for use as a theme for our videos, you can find the full recording of this song at: https://soundcloud.com/wondergalaxy13/corporation-coup

Episode 22

Jesse Crall

A Los Angeles native, Jesse Crall graduated from UCLA’s English Department before working as a copywriter, script reader and project manager for an engineering firm. Now pursuing a master’s degree in writing at NYU, he splits his time between Studio City and Manhattan. https://linktr.ee/jessecrall

A self taught artist and creative entrepreneur, Victoria Lynn Hall lives in the Kansas City area with 4 spoiled cats. She believes in art and the magic of kindness.

linktr.ee/victorialynnhall

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