When I was a young boy I lived in a mansion with a full-time live-in maid, those were the worst years of my life.
It wasn't that I wasn't grateful, I was, but something else was missing, things that money can't buy.
But this statement isn't always true. A lot of people call bulls**t on this, so which one is it? Let's settle the score once and for all!
Money Doesn't Buy Happiness
What is the argument for money doesn't buy happiness? It's not that you don't need money, nor that money shouldn't be your priority. The argument is that there are things that make someone happy that money cannot buy. It acknowledges the power and fallacy of riches.
What I mean by this is that what makes someone enter a state of mind of peace and overall average happiness are beyond the material world. They are love, friendship, community, and belonging. This statement acknowledges that money can grant you these things, after all, we all know how many people stick around wealthy individuals, however, people who use this statement know that those connections are superficial. Once your status is lost, so are your friends.
Instead, this argument promotes deep and meaningful connections which can often be found in the lower classes of society. The most generous people I've met are, in fact, lower-class people. On average, I've found that these people find their happiness in giving whatever they can, feeding you every time you go over to their house, helping you out with your tasks completely free, etc.
In other words, what one needs to be happy is love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. This was exactly what I was going through, I had a safe shelter with food, I was healthy and had resources at my disposal, but I couldn't find love and somewhere where I belonged.
But there's another point of view I also share.
Money Does Buy Happiness
Many people feel that the previous statement is complete bulls**t. Their point of view is that when money is the problem, something like winning the lottery is an enormous miracle.
Many people's problems are still food, shelter, safety, health. Or, the first two steps in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Without these first two rungs, one cannot find love and belonging, esteem, or self-actualization. So perhaps, once those needs are met the person will then be able to move up to the final stage of the hierarchy.
On top of that, the lack of security, stability, and safety causes immense stress which slowly eats away at someone and although one can learn to cope with it, these things cannot be sidestepped, and everything else you start to build on top of this instability quickly falls apart.
If you've ever seen the movie Pursuit of Happiness with Will Smith, then you know that this is exactly the topic that is being explored in the film. Personally, I've met a lot of people who moved from their home countries which offered very little in their own pursuit of happiness, and having found stability they finally decided to build on top of that and create a family, a business, and their roots of life.
So if both points of view are right, how do we reconcile the two?
Money As A Tool
Maybe the right saying to be said isn't either. The right saying, I think, should be "Money is a tool". Because that's just what it is. It is a tool to use in your own journeys and not something to be relied upon nor undervalued. When overvalued one mistakenly sidesteps meaningful and lasting connections, but when undervalued one falls victim to stress and succumbs to instability.
Instead, money should be used like one uses a car, to get from point A to point B, and just like a mode of transportation, you should aim to get it to make your journey that much easier, but you can still make do without.
And that encompasses the whole spectrum.
. . .
These two sayings are seemingly contradictory, people either agree with one or the other. However, there is a more correct in-between, which reconciles the two and puts a more realistic look at the value of money. Money is a tool, no less and no more, tools make life easier, but a good tradesman works with what he has.
Hi, I'm Matthew, my mission is to spread knowledge about motivation, productivity, and enabling people to achieve the best that they can be! I have a vast background in psychology and a passion for self-improvement. I literally can't remember a time when I didn't have a psychology book in my hands. On top of that, I've traveled around the world from a very young age, and seen many different courses of life, forming friendships with highly successful people, as well as people who are willing to do anything to make ends meet. My own life took me down a roller coaster of highs and lows, and I'm forever grateful that I've been able to overcome everything it threw at me. Now I want to take the opportunity to give back, and help others learn tools and methods for becoming who they were born to be!