Does wealth cause happiness or is it the other way around? Some people have no other ambition than to amass wealth. Their whole life is based on the principle of becoming richer. They work hard and struggle to cram money in their bank accounts like laborious squirrels cram more nuts every day. And year after year, while their wealth grows, these people realize they are not happy. They decide to deprioritize their happiness and continue their relentless quest for wealth.
In the twilight of their lives, they may eventually realize what they did wrong. They never listened to their own voice. Then they look back and ruminate on the failure of their lives. Life is not so bad. After all, with all that you have, you should be happy now. And if happiness is just that, maybe it is not worth putting in so much effort. Doing what you like is so much easier than making money.
Of course, these people are not unhappy all the time. They experience moments of intense joy and happiness. But these are just random flashes in the long night of their lives, coming and going as circumstances dictate.
Is it Possible to be Happy Without Money?
Most people have a rather perverted vision of wealth and happiness. For them, the concept boils down to wealth being equal to material possessions. This is particularly true in Western cultures where young children are taught that eating brings forth happiness, fulfillment lies is in physical possession, and that infinite growth is the only way out. The result is a headlong rush into the pursuit of “happiness”. When asked, people almost always respond with something like “I know that money does not buy happiness, and wealth is not my aim in life.” Yet behind these wise words, the reality is quite different, and behavior belies the words.
Think for yourself and figure out what exactly makes you happy. It is possible to be happy without money, without a bank account ready to overflow. The concept of success is directly correlated with that of happiness. You should assess situations on your own and not lead a life of someone else’s expectations.
How do you know if something is real wealth? Consider whether your wealth is intrinsic or extrinsic. Your skills, your knowledge, your personality, your humor are all intrinsic elements. They are part of you and inseparable from you. However, your TV, your home, your car are all extrinsic elements. You can touch, see, feel and hear them. But you can also lose them any moment. By definition, your wealth depends on what you have. But you really do not have what can be taken away. Your intrinsic possessions give you more wealth than your material possessions.
Be careful not to fall into the trap of confusing pleasure and happiness. Pleasure is a fleeting emotion. Happiness is much more than that. It is something transcendent. A life focused on pleasure rarely brings happiness.
Money is not dirty; it is part of our culture. You need money to eat, pay your bills, and indulge in some leisurely activities. But money and material possessions must remain the means, not the ends. In terms of possessions, the rule is simple: you settle for the bare minimum. Individually, each object is a source of comfort and pleasure. But when you accumulate them, they become sources of problems. Take the car to the garage and TV to the service center, call the after sales service of the washing machine, work harder to pay for the credit – all this takes up time that you could otherwise use in better ways.
Thoughts and Reflections
History is replete with lives of people who listened to their own voice when the rest of the world spoke a different language altogether. Nobody thought the homeless Chris Gardner was any good before he went on to become a successful stockbroker. Not surprisingly his 2006 biopic was named ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’!
We are often apprehensive of what our family members and friends might have to say if we gave up this mad pursuit of wealth. But you must consider your kith and kin as your greatest resource. Nobody troubleshoots your difficulties better than a friend. Nothing is sweeter than a candlelit evening with your better half. Nothing is as soft as a baby’s cheek. Nothing is as warm as a mother’s embrace. These are the things will form the springboard to propel you toward a fulfilling and happy life. These cannot just be bought
There is nothing wrong in wanting to have the best things in life. There is nothing wrong with accumulating wealth in your own legal way. In pursuing this goal, it is still very important to keep in mind the real happiness that can’t be bought.
Tom Watts is an avid blogger with varied interests like finances, career and medical sales. He shares his insights about best sales strategies, sales recruiters NYC and how to be the best salesperson.