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They Say Money Can’t Buy Happiness, It Can Buy Something More Important Though

They Say Money Can’t Buy Happiness, It Can Buy Something More Important Though

Money is construed differently by different people to mean different things. Some see it as a piece of paper. To some, it is synonymous to wealth. But, regardless of the perspective, we have all come to agree that money is a resource that we can use to buy goods and services.

Can Money Buy Happiness?

They say money can’t buy happiness, and to a certain degree that’s true, but poverty doesn’t bring happiness either, does it? Does money bring happiness? Typically, people who say money doesn’t buy happiness are usually the ones who never had money. Hence, why they use the “money can’t buy happiness” motto to rationalize their inability to get out of their financial struggle.

This contradictory line is fast becoming a cliché that plagues our society today. While people seek solace in this line, some even infer that money is the root of all evil. This begs the question: what is poverty? The root of all goodness?

Tell that to a homeless beggar who struggles to have a meal a day or a promising chap who has just dropped out of school all because his parents couldn’t afford to further his education due to a lack of funds, thus, having his hope of a bright future dashed. After all, how many marriages and families have been destroyed due lack of money? How many lives have been lost as a result of abject penury? The answers are countless.

And talking about happiness, it is a myth that we’ve believed in. We are so attached to the idea that happiness is achieved when everything in our life seems perfect, so we actively pursue it every day.

The shocking truth is, the term “happiness” is relative, which makes it hard to define and achieve. What might be a source of happiness for Tom might not be the same for Jim.

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In other words, the nature of human needs presents the argument that money can buy happiness as quite a paradoxical one.

If Money Can’t Buy Happiness, It Can Buy Everything Else.

money can't buy happiness

    Food, shelter, health care, clothing, education, and to a certain degree, even relationships. If money can get you all of these things at your disposal, what more could you wish for?

    In their interesting research paper titled, “If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy, Then You Probably Aren’t Spending Right”, Elizabeth Dunn, Daniel Gilbert, and Timothy Wilson pointed out eight rules to help “buyers” achieve more happiness for their money. Find the summary of the rules below:

    Buy more experiences and fewer material goods

    Happiness derived from experiences is long-lived and tends to last a lifetime with us, unlike material things that we get used to or bored of quickly and want to replace.

    Use your money to benefit others rather than yourself

    As humans, our associations with our fellow beings is a contributing factor of our happiness. There is always this happy feeling and contentment that one gets after spending money on others. To help others, you can give back to charity, sponsor scholarship programs, or donate to NGOs.

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    Booker T. Washington said, “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”

    Buy small pleasures rather than fewer large ones

    The degree that happiness is derived is not necessarily a function of the amount spent on big things. A suit might cost 10 times more than a shirt and a pair of pants, but that doesn’t mean the pleasure or utility derived from such a splurge will be 10 times more.

    So why spend so much on a big vacation once a year, when you can spend less on picnics every quarter of the year and get more experiences in the process?

    Eschew extended warranties and other forms of overpriced insurance

    Buying extended warranties and expensive insurance is a result of the fear of the unknown.

    In fact, people who buy too much insurance tend to be unhappier than those who don’t. Buy less, worry less!

    Delay consumption

    Anticipation of the consumption of a good or service alone can be a source of pleasure. As a matter of fact, this pleasure often overshadows the pleasure derived from the actual consumption.

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    Consider how peripheral features of your purchases may affect your day-to-day

    At times, it is better for consumers to be more realistic in their anticipation for a purchase. Looking beyond the fanciful features often helps prevent any unnecessary unhappiness that may arise in future.

    Beware of comparison shopping

    Comparison shopping can bring about a misconception in the actual intent of shopping. This is because consumers may get distracted from the qualities of the product that will bring them pleasure and settle for the wrong product. Technically, they end up buying unhappiness with their money.

    Pay close attention to the happiness of others

    Sometimes, the true definition of our happiness may lie in the hands of other people. As stated by the authors, “Research suggests that the best way to predict how much we will enjoy an experience is to see how much someone else enjoyed it.”

    Money can at least buy us freedom, which is just as important as happiness.

    money can't buy happiness

      One of the most significant roles that money can play in one’s life is that it makes you less indebted to those who possess it – it brings about independence.

      This must be what William Faulkner saw when he decided to resign from the Oxford, Mississippi. With enough cash in hand, you can do what you want, get what you want, and go where you want. Yes, it sounds good, but there is a downside as well.

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      As much as money can bring liberation, people can still easily be enslaved to it. When people are slaves to their money, they tend to panic about losing their money. They start to worry about futuristic uncertainties (thus, creating problems where there are none). In fact, their relationships with their family and friends begin to go weary.

      This has led us to another pertinent question: Who is better between a well-fed slave and a hungry free man?

      Albert Camus gave his answer when he said, “It’s better to be a free pauper than a rich slave.” He went further to say, “People want to be rich and free and because of, that they become poor slaves.”

      The point is, freedom is not just free. It unavoidably has a price attached to it, but that doesn’t mean you’ll need a million dollars to acquire it. Having money doesn’t necessarily make you happy, but it increases the odds dramatically if you know how to use your money.

      With money comes freedom, and with freedom comes happiness.

      Before using the all too common line that money can’t buy happiness, you might want to give it a second thought.

      Featured photo credit: Getty Images via time.com

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      Damian "Pros" Prosalendis

      Entrepreneur, Business Owner

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      Last Updated on July 10, 2020

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

      We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

      So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

      Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

      What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

      Boundaries are limits

      —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

      Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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      Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

      Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

      Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

      How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

      Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

      1. Self-Awareness Comes First

      Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

      You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

      To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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      You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

      • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
      • When do you feel disrespected?
      • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
      • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
      • When do you want to be alone?
      • How much space do you need?

      You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

      2. Clear Communication Is Essential

      Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

      Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

      3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

      Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

      That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

      Sample language:

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      • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
      • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
      • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
      • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
      • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
      • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
      • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

      Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

      4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

      Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

      Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

      Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

      We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

      It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

      It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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      Final Thoughts

      Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

      Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

      Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

      The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

      Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

      Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

      They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

      Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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