Be Happy, Be Wealthy

Wednesday 7 October 2009, 11:48AM

One of the most interesting philosophical questions about money is whether having more money makes you a happier person. It can be argued that the old adage ‘money doesn’t buy happiness’ is something that was propounded by those with no money as a validation for their monetary status. In other words, if you have no money, one way of feeling better about that is to say that you are happier than those who have a lot of money.

There are two ways of interpreting the concept that money doesn’t buy happiness. The first is to consider that it implies that those with a lot of money often find themselves in a state of unhappiness and the second is to consider that it implies that happiness comes from something other than money. In either case, the adage contends that there is really no direct relationship between money and happiness.

Wealth is nothing more than a state of mind. Whether you describe yourself as wealthy or not will depend on how you feel about your current circumstances and who you are comparing yourself to. Wealth is a relative concept. Some people feel wealthy even if they have a small amount of money because they have more money than what they need to live the life they want.

On the other hand, others can feel poor even though they have a large amount of money because they don’t have enough to live the life they want. The difference between these two groups of people is that the first group, who feel wealthy even though they don’t have a lot, get their enjoyment in life from things that don’t require a lot of money.

Being happy is being accepting of what you have already. Happiness is not about having it is about being. Just like wealth, it is a state of mind and it has very little to do with tangible possessions that are bought. In saying that though, there are basic necessities that everyone needs in order to meet their physical needs and to feel secure. People who don’t have enough money to feel secure will worry and will therefore be unhappy but beyond security, true happiness comes from relationships, friendships and simple enjoyment of life.

Those who focus on money for its own sake will find they are never satisfied with how much they have and as we know, dissatisfaction creates unhappiness. Happy people place less emphasis on income and wealth and more emphasis on relationships. They are content, without being complacent.

You are responsible for your own happiness, because you are in charge of your own feelings. It is never the fault of another person, your employer, another organisation or the Government that you are unhappy. Happiness comes purely from within, from focusing on the good things about life and not the negative things.

Finding happiness should not be conditional, that is, you should not be saying to yourself that “I’ll be happy when…” or ”I’ll be happy if….” Happiness is about accepting things unconditionally as they are now and being grateful for what you have. The really interesting thing is that because happy people place less emphasis on money and wealth, paradoxically they are more likely to become wealthy. There is a simple reason. Happy people spend less and save more. Be happy and be wealthy.