It is an irony of life.The unmarried folks think the married ones are getting all the goodies (timely gastronomical and other forms of nourishment). Conversely, the married ones sometimes reminisce about
when they were single, with not much direct responsibility, and the freedom to live life, unfettered and untethered, wishing they could turn back the wheels of time.
The ones inside want out, while the ones out there are looking to get in.
That same scenario plays out in the issue of wealth, or lack of, where someone earns far more than needed, and the other does not quite earn enough.
Many look at the wealthy in awe, jealousy and envy, and wish they could be rolling in the cool stuff too. Surprisingly, however, being wealthy, very wealthy, has its own serious challenges, just like not earning enough has a different set of challenges. Like my mentor would ask, which problem do you want.. the problem of too much money, or, the.problem of not enough money?.
Clearly, most people would choose the former, and I would too.
The question here is, does being wealthy guarantee happiness, and does being non wealthy translate to a life of unhappiness ? Or, is it all about the state of the mind, attitude to life with?
Happiness probably means different things to different people, lets take a look at a dictionary, which defines happiness as:
“State of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy”
That definition seems to be saying that happiness is mostly a state of the mind. External factors may (not ) contribute to that state.
We don’t always have control over what happens to us (external) whereas we have control over our reaction to those things. That’s why you see people being happy/unhappy despite and in spite of the state
of their personal portfolio.
Obviously, one cannot be in a state of well-being without basic physical needs being met. But beyond basic needs, how much wealth is needed to make us happy ? (Note I said, needs, not wants . Wants
are generally limitless, with needs being more narrowly focused.)
From the definition above, one can deduce that one way to stay perpetually unhappy is to be in perpetual want.
Can one be wealthy and still be in perpetual want? Yes , a wealthy person can be in perpetual want just like the man with more modest means. It is mostly a matter of controlling and being moderate in one’s wants and tailoring them within the ambit of one’s means.
I am of the opinion that, beyond a certain point, more wealth does not necessarily translate to more happiness. It is said that the best things of life are often free of cost. A loving family, great friends, all these have very little to do with state of the bank account.
Note that, a materially wealthy man can be just as unhappy / happy as the man with modest income, and vice versa.
For me, the trick to happiness lies in being satisfied with, and thankful for, what I have while striving with a positive mind for what I don’t have. The important thing is to whittle your “wants” down to “needs”, and be careful of attempting to keep up with the Jones. That’s the recipe for unhappiness, irrespective of wealth /poverty level. Also, learning to enjoy nature’s abundant blessings do great wonders for our feeling of wellbeing.
Poverty is a state of mind, just like wealth is. It has nothing to do with networth, but rather self-worth. A wealthy man with insatiable wants could be just as unhappy and as “poor” as the man with far more modest means with more controlled life purposes.
In our relentless pursuit of wealth, let us remember … to be happy… to stay happy..
What shall it profit a man indeed, if he shall earn humongous wealth, but remain unhappy in the pursuit, or attainment of that wealth?
Are you on touch with nature, friends, family, the things that truly matter in the pursuit of happiness?
Stay happy, folks.