What is Happiness and Can you Buy It?
Before the debate, let’s define what is happiness. This question is philosophical, but I tried to simplify it. Wikipedia gives an answer like this: Happiness is used in the context of mental or emotional states, including positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. It is also used in the context of life satisfaction, subjective well-being, flourishing and well-being.
Can money buy happiness? There’s no definite answer. But we know the way you spend your money can affect your happiness. You can learn spend money to become happier and happier.
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Understanding of happiness can vary depending on person. Someone will say “I absolutely don’t need a nice house to be happy.” Maybe he don’t even lie. According to research, wealthy people are more optimistic. In 1998 there was the biggest research published in the British newspaper “Town and Country”. According to the polls, wealthy people find their marriages happier, have stronger relationships with friends, and find their work more interesting. No one is saying that you can just go to the market and buy happiness, but these two concepts are consistent. Let me show examples of what money can change on the way to happiness: to give health and time.
With money you can solve any problem. Everything can be bought and sold. The only question is price. Money gives the opportunity to extend tour lives by using advanced technology in medicine. You can afford the best doctors, expensive surgeries, nurses, treatment abroad. If you watching TV or listening the radio, you will discover a lot of ads asking for financial help. People die because they have no money for treatment. Besides, rich people have much more opportunities to prevent the development of disease. Therefore, they feel much better.
The elderly people from Europe and America are constantly traveling in their 70s, they are active and cheerful. And if you could just see the retirees from Russia or Ukraine… At this age they are so broken from hard life that getting to the bench near the building is a challenge. Why? The answer is obvious. The first group of people lived their life in normal conditions. They had good food, normal healthcare, they never had a choice between buying medicine for high blood pressure or a jar of stew for dinner. And the second could not afford anything from listed above. Result of this affects their health.
But this only works with the condition if an effort of earning money is less than joy of spending them. In a more global way to prove that rich people live longer is a simple statistic of lifespan. With the exception of a small number of islands, where the favorable climate and good food is available, the length of life in poor countries is much less than in developed countries.
Another example of how money can make us happier is to give time. Have you ever thought of when someone mows your lawn or washes the floor, that you in fact buying his time. Meanwhile, you can do what you really want to, without burdening yourself with thoughts of what to eat tomorrow morning. You can travel around the world and get educated, change the world. This is happiness. Lack of money makes you think about more pressing issues.
Each person needs to determine its “course”. That’s what Gandhi once said – “you should decide exactly how much money you need to be happy, because you are wasting your happiness on making it”. But the best choice of all is to find a way of earning money with pleasure. Do something that brings you a joy. “Find a job you love and you’ll never have to work a single day”.
Also money availability is the way of self-expression, self-affirmation in front of family or society. Most people call that happiness. Sometimes we can be sad and best method get distracted is spend lots of money on pleasure. Moments after that we again getting comfortable. Shopping is the best cure for stress (at least for women). In the same time, food improves mood, alcohol can increase it too, even watching a good film at the cinema can cause a feeling of happiness. You can say these are all small things. But isn’t it from small things our life composed?
One proverb says: you can buy bed, but not good sleep; food, but not appetite; medication, but not health; women, but not love; education, but not a brain and so on. And the most interesting thing in this is that without a bed sleep is not so good; you can have great appetite, but without any food it won’t do any good neither; and as I said earlier proper medications can significantly improve your health. And love…indeed, love cannot be purchased. But would you just look at those elderly millionaires walking along with beautiful young ladies besides them, who are often their wives. For me it is absolutely clear that the guy is absolutely happy. The girl in this case is far from suffering too, because she has material goods coming from this person she doesn’t love. And this is her happiness.
Let’s get closer look at the last statement you can buy education without outstanding intellectual skills. But are they really needed if you have big money or right connections? I can provide excellent example of one person in Ukraine politic. I came from Ukraine originally and this topic is close to me. So, the major of Kiev (capital of Ukraine by the way) is a former professional boxer Vitaly Klitschko. He is definitely is a very talented in sport, but has no knowledge or experience in politics. All he After boxing career was over he got bored and bought a master’s degree in the specialty Management of social development, and immediately became a mayor. Over the past few years, position trading has become commonplace in many government agencies.
Everything is bought and sold. I don’t need to go far for examples. I live literally hungry life myself. In early childhood, my family of four, huddled in a small dorm room. We shared toilet, kitchen and sink with other 80 families. The plan was remain in those conditions for only two years, because after we would be entitled to free housing. That was a life in Soviet Union. But in 1991 something went wrong and basically overnight we found ourselves in Ukraine with quite no laws around. New government wasnt really interested to distribute free houses, so we end up staying at old place for 11 years. Production cessation and factories shutdown, our finances got very short.
People started stealing. We started to starve. Most of the time we survived on soup, which consisted boiled water and some vegetables in it. For school I used to have only two outfits daily one and for holidays. I wore same clothes for countless years. Every year my mother was sew an extra piece of fabric or lace in my skirt or blouse. But haven’t been bullied at school, since many kids were in the same conditions as we are.
The only discomfort I had in school is my stomach it wouldn’t stop bubbling from hunger. By the age of 12 I was close to gastric ulcer condition. Back in that times, healthcare was still free, so I could take care of that problem. Otherwise I might end up in different place. Money really makes it easier to solve all the pressing issues, but what I can agree with is they can’t change resurrect the loved ones or buy you a talent or feelings. If you find yourself in a desert with a suitcase full of money, it will no longer bring a happiness, money will be completely unnecessary, heavy burden.
Of course, a rich person can be both happy and unhappy. When the poor is always unhappy. That’s the way we are. In order to feel comfortable, we need food, shelter and confidence in the future. And the money gives it all. How can a woman be happy if she doesn’t know what she’s going to feed her kids tomorrow? How can be man happy in his, let’s say 40s, when he forced to live with his parents because he cannot afford to rent an apartment?
All those talks that we need to think not just about money, but about eternal values, is appropriate only if the money already earned. If a person have nothing to eat, then he is not in mood for the literature or painting. He will try to earn his living by all means by killing, stealing, robbing. And he won’t care if that’s immoral. Love, morality, kindness all this comes only if your stomach is full. It’s a nature law. That’s why wealthy people tend to be more generous and tolerant. They just can afford it. Easy to share with others, if you are not starving yourself. Of course, the needs are growing constantly. But, if you are short on a private yacht, you are much happier, than who can’t afford winter boots.
According to a new research, which was published in the National Academy of Sciences USA (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor. If you don’t have enough time you can increase your enjoyment of life by exchanging money for minutes, which can be used the way you want. Researchers, led by Professor at Harvard business school, Ashley Whillans, began with the participation of about 4,500 people in the United States, Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Participants were asked whether they pay other people for going “unpleasant daily shores” to increase the number of a free time. In 28% of cases the answer was positive. Those who have answered positively spent on average 147,95 dollars a month “to buy” extra time. Participants of a research have reported having less stress because a lack of a time. Also they felt more pleasant emotions (such as joy and enthusiasm) and less negative emotions (such as rage, fear and nervousness) that week when they “have bought” themselves time.
Money provide many of those things that can make you happy, including peace of mind, the feeling of success and freedom to live your life the way you want. Researchers at Boston Private got into this conclusion, after conducting a survey of “The Why Of Wealth”, with 300 participants with financial status of $1 million to $20 million. When respondents were asked what is word wealth meaning for them, 54% have answered that this is happiness, and 65% is a peace.
On a question what the money allows them to do, 70% of respondents have answered that it allows them to feel financial independence and freedom. A half of respondents have answered that the wealth makes their family life happier, and 44% to give the chance to travel more.
For some people wealth means the opportunity to be your own boss. It happened with Tom Aley, the businessman, whose income allowed him to leave a high-paying job and start his own business.
“I loved being independent and I was able to do more. I no longer needed to be subordinate by someone,” Ali told The New York Times.
Each of us has a dream. Name it and think, can you make it come true without money? Can it be done without a single dollar? Our modern world has reached the point that you can go to the space. Yes, without special training. Space tourism is gaining steam now. Similar was impossible when meat was traded for grain, and hay on pearls. All you need here is money, a lot of them. So if you are the one who can experience happiness only at the moment when the body will be in earth’s orbit, then experience that you can only for money. There is another way it’s devote your life to astronautics, but it’s more difficult. There’s less astronauts, than dollar millionaires. Money is not a happiness, it is a stairs that lead to it.