Why Less Is More When It Comes To Money's Effect On Your Happiness
It really is a rich man’s world, but how much money do we really need? Is our pursuit of money killing our happiness?
Nobody wakes up wanting to be poor, just like nobody wakes up wanting to be unhappy. Yet, our ability to counteract both of these things often means the two become intertwined.
We spend a third of our lives at work, so what we do to earn money often becomes a large factor for how we see ourselves and how we position ourselves in the world.
This has a direct correlation to our happiness.
It’s strange to think we all end up the same way (dead, to put it bluntly), but we don’t all live our lives with the same values or with the same level of income.
The strange thing is, none of us can take money with us when we die, so why do we nearly kill our own happiness in the endless pursuit of money? Why do we live our lives in both debt and decadence?
If you are born into a first-world country, you’re essentially born into a life of privilege, where money and your own pursuit of happiness becomes the sole purpose of your existence.
Our houses, holidays and designer clothing are matched with mortgages, student loans, credit card debt and endless bills to pay
We're told to get an education so we can get a good job, have all these things and live a good life in debt.
In today’s world, it’s easy to be consumed by the lure of money and the long-term benefits that come with it, but who are we actually trying to impress with the things we purchase or the investments we make?
Is our pursuit of money making us sh*ttier people?
Well, yes, according to one researcher.
Back in 2013, a social psychology experiment involved the hidden observation of participants in multiple contrived games of Monopoly.
In each game, one participant was given more money, could roll both dice and received twice the salary each time he or she passed "Go."
The most consistent behavior observed in those participants who were given more money was their change in manners.
They became boastful and condescending toward their poor opponents, and they would constantly make reference to how much more money they had.
The significance of the research was the finding that money makes people meaner, and this was just in a game of Monopoly where the money itself was not even real.
The weird thing is, though, we don’t actually live for money.
Just as Robin Williams’ character, John Keating, says in "Dead Poets Society":
"The human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for."
None of these things can be purchased with money, so stop gearing your life and your happiness toward its pursuit.
When it comes to money and happiness, less is always more.
Do you really need that new dress? Probably not.
Do you really need to travel three times a year? No. (Travel is a luxury, not a necessity.)
Do you really need a $40k car, when a $10k car does exactly the same thing? The answer again is no!
Stop investing in things that do not matter. Instead, start investing in people, ideas and places.
Less money and less meaningless investments means a greater investment in yourself, your surroundings and other people.
There is only so much money we need in order to live our lives. The rest of our money, well, that’s simply just for showing off. And it's often to people who don't even care, or even as a way to convince ourselves we've "made it" in life.
The question we need to ask ourselves is whether our own pursuit of money is making our pursuit of beauty, love and happiness less prevalent. It’s time we started focusing less on money and more on the things we truly stay alive for.