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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 December 2, 2018

      How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

      How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

      Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

      The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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      The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

      Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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      Review Your Past Flow

      Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

      Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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      Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

      Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

      Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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      Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

      Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

      We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

      Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

        Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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