Popular saying says, “Money is the root of all evil – and yet, it can also become the source of man to be powerful.”
Earlier in history, people had a barter system to trade. They would barter their possessions such as grain, gold, meat, etc in exchange to other goods with equal value. When money was invented around 700 B.C., people began to use it for mutual adjustment rather than sharing possessions with each other. Money is then adopted as a better system for trading, thus humans developed a process to measure the worth of something with money. Until today, money is part of human’s means to survive in life.
The concept of more or less
Since money is one of the important measurements for a man to live, many people believe that having more money equals being more successful. When people have more money, they can buy more possessions – such that they will be regarded as “rich”. On the other hand, having less money would be regarded as poor, therefore being poor means having an unsuccessful life. In nature, humans develop the concept of “more and less” because our brain likes to decide and judge things without working much effort. In other words, people would easily judge whether someone is successful or not by looking at how much “materials” (money) one possesses.
Money + success = ?
After understanding the concept of more and less, you should now understand why money is such an important part of a man regarded as a success. Yet, to some extent, this is just the surface of the concept. There is a simple detail that people often miss here which can be broken down into two:
- You can still be successful and not have the money.
- You can have the money and still be not successful.
How? You might ask.
To illustrate, a man works tirelessly for a multi-national company and he earns enough money to be called as successful by society. Little did people know, this man is often exhausted, gets burnout, and is simply not that happy as he gets little time for himself.
Meanwhile, there is another man working at a local school. He earns enough to feed his family, but he loves his job and loves teaching his students. Whenever he goes home and finds that his son comes running from the inside to hug him, he feels happy and complete.
From the illustrations above, now you understand the concept of happiness. Happiness is not measured by numbers, by money. Happiness is the basic need, core element that helps human beings feel fulfilled with life. When you feel satisfied and happy, you will perceive your life as a success.
The conclusion by far is that money gives you power but it might not result in a happy life which is basic human’s needs.
The psychology behind money and happiness
According to Christopher Peterson at Psychology Today, money and happiness are related to each other. When you have a lot of money and you spend it in a way that keeps you fulfilled, having more money means having a happier life. Peterson also mentioned that money does bring happiness if it is spent wisely and on someone else.
To illustrate what Peterson meant, imagine you have a bunch of dollars that could be spent on anything you want. Your life becomes much more comfortable and you can provide more for your family because you do not need to worry about your finances. This feeling, psychologists said, is a feeling of pleasures and comforts. Pleasures and comforts are two things that keep you happy, for a period of time. They are temporary things. The same goes to when you spend the money to help those in need.
The conclusion is that money is not the root of evil and it does give happiness if spent wisely. However, as mentioned, money is only temporary happiness. If you want to be a successful person by your own definition, what you need to seek is true happiness. A life that makes you full and this kind of happiness cannot be measured by anything. That’s the beauty of it – happiness is the true wealth.
So, which one will you choose? Living to fit in society or trying to please your own self?