Do we need to choose between money and happiness? Is there a choice? Are they both intertwined or separate? Is there a crossover point between no money and happiness? I don’t know the full answer to this.
You see I have been blessed to have experienced both. having money flowing abundantly into my life and those hard, barren times when it has been completely absent. And I am talking about both extremes here.
Looking back, what I find strange is that before I became ambitious at the age of 26 or 27, I never had much money. I was working – but in real dead-end and underpaid, menial jobs. But I cannot recall being really unhappy.
Last year I earned $50 million. This year I earned $70 million. I am no happier. Arnold Schwarzenegger
It was only when I became ambitious that I chose to become happily discontent with my lot. It was then that I wanted more. But this didn’t make me unhappy either. I can put that down to the fact that I built a rock solid self-belief in myself that I would achieve more.
And I did.
But later on it was at the expense of a marriage. I worked all the hours I could to attain my dream goal of accumulating more money – and lots of it.
Apart from that, on the whole I was still just happy. The money, in my case, hadn’t changed my internal state of being.
The unhappiness stepped in when I lost everything. I couldn’t believe that all I had worked for had suddenly gone. It just seemed to disappear faster than yesterday’s trend on Twitter.
Yes, it was only then that I realised the sacrifices I had made to obtain my dream. The weekends at work. The bank holidays missed. The family BBQ’s. The birthday parties. Time away from family and good friends.
And this I guess made me kind of unhappy. I really don’t think it was the lack of money. It certainly wasn’t the fact that I may have ‘failed’ in life. Besides, you can always try again. I did. And bounced back.
Maybe it was because what I had tasted when I had lots of money. The better holiday destinations, the 5* star hotels, eating out 3 and 4 times a week, the big 6, ensuite bedroom house I had lost…I just don’t know what it was.
When I had money, I never found myself in a situation where it made me unhappy or unhappier. Rob Hamilton
So for me I decided to go back to being happily discontent with what I had or rather didn’t have.
But I hear people saying I would rather be happy than have money. Or that money can’t buy you happiness. But from my experience, they aren’t joined at the hip. You can be happy and rich and you can be happy and poor.
It’s all a state of mind.
Money, like power, is simply a magnifier of what is already going on inside. I was still happier when I had loads of money; just in nicer surroundings.
When I was working my way back from loss I can say that I honestly felt more uneasiness at my lack. It took me a while to get back to the happily discontent state I mentioned.
Now, I try and balance the two. I like to think I have learned from experience. Now I don’t place as much emphasis on what I earn if it’s going to be at the expense of missing my family. Or weekends in the fun (Not a typo).
What about you? Do you think money and happiness come hand in hand? Do you think you would be happier if you suddenly won the lottery? Or landed a job that paid you a million a year? Or could you not see yourself being happy if you were suddenly thrown into poverty?