Does Money Buy Happiness?

Posted on 02 August 2010

How do we define happiness: that which each of us pursues with a single-minded purpose, yet often, fails to achieve?  Is happiness a state of mind we delude ourselves into entering, or is it as real as it is fleeting?  Is it a secret desire, lovingly nurtured and finally brought to fruition?  Is it a haven far from the cares of the world?   Or is happiness nothing more than an elusive dream?

For a moment, reflect upon your life and answer the following question honestly.  When was the happiest time in your life, and was wealth the source of it?  And the next question: if you could accumulate enough wealth (with the concept of “enough” being subjective), would you be happy?  Or would you be like the two friends in the motion picture The Treasure of the Sierra Madre?  Accompanied by an old prospector, the friends set out to strike and unearth gold.  But in the end, their real happiness is found in the company of friends and family.

Although wealth brings a measure of security, particularly in these lean times, it also brings pitfalls if one does know how to manage it.  When one has money, one tends to overspend, and overspending leads to harmful indulgences, several of which can be found in the Biblical Seven Deadly Sins.  Ultimately, if one does not enjoy a strong foundation of spirituality and love, money does little for us but point up the fact that we have, in essence, nothing of real value.  Of money, the Good Book asks, “What good does it do if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Mathew 16: 26)

How, then, does one find happiness?   It is not a tangible thing, like the gold sought by the characters in the above-named film.  I believe that the answer to this question lies in the human soul and not in the material things in life.  Instead of driving ourselves crazy procuring wealth, and shortening our lives with the stress needed to accumulate it, our time on this plane would be better spent in the company of friends and family, enjoying the true treasures that surround us.  Barring a loving support structure, and sometimes even with that structure, many of us take solace in the arts.  Some of us enjoy the arts as spectators and listeners; some of us have the talent to wield that art so that others may take comfort from it.

Perhaps the arts are not for you.  Perhaps it is sports, or initiating or being active in a worthy charity.  Perhaps it’s serving as a mentor to a disadvantaged child.   For examples, don’t look too closely at those who seem to have achieved monetary success and yet, have managed to muck up their lives as well as the lives of others.  The headlines abound with the Lindsay Lohans of this world but rarely focus on the average person who has found his or her bliss and had the guts, or at the very least, extended himself/herself, to attain that bliss.

Granted, celebrities who command huge salaries have more time and money to pursue what makes them happiest.  But even if you maintain a 9 to 5 job and carry all manner of obligations, you can still seek out what makes you happy and carve out a little time for yourself to enjoy that happiness.  If you don’t, you’ll make everyone around you miserable — if not immediately, then eventually.  It’s inevitable.  If you don’t, you will have done nothing more than move through your life no better than an animal concerned with gaining only the barest necessities.

Find what makes you happy, and go for it.  And don’t give up if it escapes you for a while.   The quest itself can offer many happy and enlightening moments.  If you keep at it, if you envision it, it may come to you.  Often, just the dream of happiness can see you through your darkest hours.  Walt Disney’s Cinderella featured a song titled “A Dream Is a Wish your Heart Makes,” written and composed by Mack Davis, Al Hoffman, and Jerry Livingston.  It has a beautiful melody and lyrics that can chase away the blues.  So why not listen now, dream a little dream, and have a happy day! 


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5 Responses to “Does Money Buy Happiness?”

  1. Editor says:

    I’d like to find out!!!

  2. Jack S. Fogbound says:

    Great article, Money does not buy happiness, it only creates more problems. when you have to much money you have to worry about where to hide it from the prying eyes of the IRS (Income Removal Service)and your relatives who are always in need. Look at St Francis who was a wealthy man, but he chose to give up his wealth and follow Jesus. You’ve heard the old saying “it’s better to give than receive” So follow the footsteps of St Francis and go on welfare!

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