Thursday, 26 July 2012

Money can solve problems, but it cannot buy happiness

Money. Either a piece of paper, a coin, or increasingly these days, just a numerical figure. And yet there are so many issues that are linked to money. Jealousy, hatred, resentment to name but a few. Most people have a bad relationship with money, and most people who do the lottery in the hope that it might buy that elusive ticket to heaven are likely to lose all their winnings somewhere down the line if they won it.

I hardly need to tell you that the work culture revolves around money. Most people (myself included) would not be doing the jobs they are doing if money wasn't an issue, or at least not working so many hours. If we were a bit more honest about why we wanted a particular job, maybe the work world would be more transparent. And businesses these days only seem to care about making as much money as they can - other things such as the welfare of their employees and excellent customer services seem to be secondary in importance.

But what really is it about money that makes it so sought after? Freedom I guess is an obvious answer, but does having lots of money make you free? It's well known that some rich people are scared of losing all the money they have. I think that the desire for money, along with the desire for a relationship, exist because we think they will fulfil some need within us. But I'm not sure that people even know why they really want more money.

I'm not going to be super spiritual and say that money isn't important. In our current culture, money is what it is and we need it for our basic needs. And it's not as easy to make money from doing what you love as some New Age teachers make it sound. You're fairly likely to go through some sort of financial challenge if you are to make money from what you love, and human nature craves security, so often it is easier to remain in an unsatisfactory job with a modest income, as long as it pays the bills. I totally relate to that, and do somewhat envy people who are doing work that makes them totally fulfilled, although I dare say the majority if not most of these people have had to go through challenges that many people would not be prepared to.

It's important to have 'enough' money, but once we have enough, it seems to be human nature to want more, more, more. Footballers are surely ideal proof of this. Possessions, the house, the car .. all of which may be nice things, but no possession can buy you lasting happiness. Anyone who thinks that having lots of money will bring them all they could ever want has not learnt to be happy with themselves. Money, possessions and the like are not wrong, but they were never intended to bring happiness in themselves. Perhaps if we learnt to look within for happiness, we might actually get more of what we desire without being so attached to it?

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