I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase “money can’t buy you happiness”. I don’t really like using the word “happiness” in this context, because it doesn’t really fully represent what people are trying to say then they repeat this saying.
Happiness is more or less a fleeting emotion, and isn’t necessary 100% of the time to have a fulfilling, amazing life.
I enjoying playing adult kickball and I am super competitive (laugh all you want, that shit is serious). When my team loses a game, I can’t honestly describe my emotional state for the next few hours as ‘happy’. But at the same time, I am not depressed or miserable and I am still content and satisfied with most aspects of my life. You don’t need to be ‘happy’ 100% of the time. You can’t be, really.
But to be fair that normally isn’t what people are getting at when they say “money can’t buy happiness”. What they really mean is that money can’t give your life purpose or fulfillment; what author Caleb Jones calls “long-term consistent happiness” to distinguish it from the fleeting dopamine-rush ‘happiness’ you feel when see a few likes on your facebook post. And in this respect they are right –
Money won’t give you purpose or long term fulfillment.
So superficially, it may seem that this statement is correct, but the problem is the mindset behind it (and as we know, mindset is everything).
While money won’t give you true purpose or long term fulfillment by itself, the fact is that nothing else does either, by itself. But instead of saying that, and, and explaining that to truly have long term consistent contentment you have to master several areas of your life ( financial, relationships, physical, etc), they just make this obtuse statement. The meaning has been lost.
It has become a credo for people too lazy or afraid to do what it takes to try and make more money; an excuse they give themselves for failing to improve one of the most important aspects of their lives.
It’s much easier to demonize efforts to make more money than it is to have an abundance mindset and go get some.
It’s a built-in excuse for not doing what it takes to try and make more money. “I don’t need to go back to school because, well, money doesn’t buy happiness”. “I’m not going to risk my time and resources to create online sources of income, because everybody knows money doesn’t buy happiness.”
But if you ask these same people what the greatest sources of stress are in their lives, nine our of ten of them would be eliminated if they had significantly more money.
Gaining new experiences, travelling, creating and nurturing relationships, learning new skills, indulging in your favorite hobbies and interests, spending more time with family, Fixing nagging health issues, getting more sleep, exercising more, giving more to charity – Almost every person on the planet would agree that adding more of these elements could drastically increase our long term contentment. Do you REALLY think you couldn’t accomplish most of them a LOT more easily if you had more money?
Studies have been done that actually do show an increase in reported happiness as income goes up, to a point. Happiness increases until you reach about $80,000 dollars a year. After that point getting more money doesn’t increase your happiness. The reasons for this are that at around $80k a year you have the ability to do all those things I mentioned above – IF you consciously structure your life that properly.
If you are undisciplined and making unconscious decisions based on your mental programming instead of conscious decisions based on your goals and desires, then it doesn’t matter how much money you have, you won’t be fulfilled.
At the same time, even if you ARE making conscious, disciplined, goal-oriented decisions, if you are only bringing in $25k a year in will be very difficult to be truly fulfilled in all areas of your life – that’s just a fact. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy the hell out of life and live without many of the stresses and drama that ‘normal’ people endure, but you aren’t maximizing your long term contentment.
Don’t let the losers drag you down by convincing you that trying to make more money is materialistic, shallow, or pointless. Work to maximize ALL areas of your life. One of the best ways to do that is to make more money.