For the past 15 years, Joe has dedicated his life to his job as a manager at a tech company. His job gave him something to look forward to, a place where he could socialize with this co-workers, have small talk around the water cooler, a place that challenged him and paid him a handsome paycheck.
That all ended when Joe received word that the company was down sizing and nearly half of its workforce would be cut. Joe had his concerned but seeing that he’s been with the company for quite some time, he was confident his job was secure… at least until we was called in and was given the news that he had 2 weeks left with the company.
Internal or External?
There are plenty of things that can happen to us in life that can suck the joy and happiness right out of us. From lost of a job to lost of a loved one, it would seem to many that happiness is an external source. Whether we feel happy or not at a given moment tends to have a lot to do with what’s happening to us.
How does someone react when they win the lottery? How about buying their first home or car or landing that big paying job? Most people would act rather happy.
So the question is, “Can money buy happiness?”
To answer this question, we must first look at what happiness is.
What is Happiness?
Happiness isn’t some object we can hold in our hands, it’s a feeling, an emotion. Just like with any other emotion, it’s created internally. In other words, you decide what makes you happy and what makes you unhappy.
Since happiness is internal, can you be happy without anything external happening to you? Of course you can. However, it’s easier to feel happy from external sources. When you think about all of the happy moments you’ve had, it’ll likely include other people, places you’ve visited, and things you’ve bought.
In short, money CAN buy happiness but not because happiness is an object you can buy but because money can get you things that brings out the feelings of happiness within you. Money gives you a very good reason to feel happy even though, technically, you don’t need anything to feel happy.
The Rules of Happiness
Sure, with more money comes more responsibilities but at the same time, with more money, you have more options in life. Maybe spending time with your kids and family brings up happy feelings within you. With enough money, you can have more time.
Perhaps traveling and experiencing different cultures is what brings you joy. With enough money, you can do all the traveling you want.
Whether you feel happy or not comes down to whether you allow yourself to feel happy or not. What rules have you set up for yourself to feel happy? In other words, what has to happen in order for you to feel like you can be happy? More importantly, why did you set up those rules?
When we were babies, almost anything made us happy, we didn’t have any rules. As we got older, feeling happy got harder. No longer were we allowed to feel happy hearing the sound of jingling keys. Now, we had to have certain products or achieve certain things. We had to get approval and recognition. In other words, we created rules for ourselves and made it harder for us to feel happy.
Although the ideal method would be to rewrite our rules, not everyone can do that. We’ve been conditioned way too long to simply be happy with nothing. So in this case, money can and will buy us happiness.
Yes, Money Can Buy Happiness
Unless you don’t have a job or bills/expenses, don’t need food, and have no desire to do anything, it’s safe to assume you’re going to need money. Many people work in order to make money just to survive. If these people made more money, enough to go beyond just surviving, don’t you think they’d have more reasons to feel happy?
Now, some will argue that there are plenty of rich people who aren’t happy and that may be true but it’s mainly because they’ve set up rules for themselves that make it way too hard to feel happy. It’s not money that’s making them unhappy, it’s their rules. If they have enough money to do whatever they want and have the time to do it and still can’t feel happy, then they have no choice but to change their rules which may be an impossible task for some people.
With most people though, money isn’t something they have an abundance of and therefore, having more of it can allow them to experience more things that can make them happy.
Money isn’t the answer to happiness, setting up easier rules is, but if you can’t do that, having more money is the next best thing.