Can Money Buy Happiness? 5 Very Simple Ways It Can
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” -Maya Angelou
Does money buy happiness? At some point in our lives we ask ourselves this simple and yet daring question. Some would argue that money is the root of all evil and could never buy happiness. Others would argue that money can’t buy you total happiness, but it’s better to be sad and rich than poor and living in a box. (Though I do see the benefits to that logic.)
But what’s my answer? There was a story I heard a while ago:
There was a man who used to order a meal worth $300 every Sunday for his family.
After some days, the Spring Festival was round the corner. This family had a maid working for them. The guy’s wife asked him to give the maid $300 as her Spring bonus. He said it’s too much and they ended up giving the maid only $150.
The maid took 3 days off for the Spring Festival and came back on the 4th day and was visibly happy. The guy asked her, ‘How was your Spring Vacation’? Her answer left the guy speechless,
It was very good sir thanks to the money you gave me. I used $50 for traveling to and fro from my son’s village. Used $45 to buy sweets for them all. I bought my grandson a shirt and a pant for $25. And donated $30 to the handicapped beggar near the temple.
Money can buy you happiness if you share it with people who know its true value and desperately needs it. Money can only bring you so much happiness when you spend it towards yourself before it begins to feel repeating and bothersome. The more objects you buy for yourself, the more it clutters your life and eventually get stashed somewhere in your house.Before you know it, you have a stack of old objects sitting around your house that you assumed would bring you happiness.
For instance, I used to believe that my source to happiness was having a Playstation 2. (This was a long time ago people.) Every time I spoke to my friends, they always seemed excited whenever they mentioned how much fun they had with it. This only led me wanting the Playstation 2 even more than before. It was all I could think about.
By Christmas, I received what I had asked for and thought I finally met the climax to happiness. And it did excite me for a short period of time. But within a week, there was something missing. Though I loved my Playstation 2, I wanted something else to fill the gap in my heart. That was when my friends who didn’t have a Playstation 2 came over to my house and played with me. One of the best moments in my childhood was sharing my Playstation 2 with them as if it was theirs and enjoying the happiness I brought into their lives.
People like to shun video games as useless tools that does nothing but waste a person’s life. But I think it was video games that helped me connect with many of my closest friends. It gave me the chance to feel happy because I was bonding with those who didn’t have the same toys as I did.
Even doing something simple such as sharing your games with those less fortunate to afford them brings you a joy you don’t receive while playing alone. (So long as they don’t continue hitting the same buttons repeatedly on any fighting games.) Video games gives you a time to bond with anyone you desire and that’s why I never considered video games as a useless trait because it builds a unity. Whether you play with someone online or in person, it unites people in strange ways. (But getting back to the main point.)
Your happiness nearly doubles itself when your spendings are aimed at bringing someone else happiness. You buy happiness whenever you purchase food for a starving child instead of wasting it on some overpriced Starbucks drink.(I’m extremely guilty of this rule sometimes…I’m a Starbucks addict.) You buy happiness whenever you have the ability to open up a door to education for children and young adults. You buy happiness whenever you’re in a position to help repair somebody’s ruined home.
But what about me? I want something for myself too.
Money can buy you a lot of things that can give you a temporarily period of happiness. Those objects give you a high feeling of enjoyment and a false belief that you’re satisfied with life. Take for instance buying a brand new vehicle, or a new phone. At that moment, you receive an ecstasy dose of life and believe you’re the luckiest person in the world. But the longer you drive that vehicle or play with your phone, the less you receive that same dosage of ecstasy and you begin yearning to refill those happiness needs. Before you know it, you’re waiting several days in line to receive the newest iPhone.
A personal example is whenever I buy new clothes, I thought it was the best clothes in the world and I wanted to wear it everyday if possible. But after a week, I got over them and looked for something new to replace them. (I used to be a cloth shopaholic, but I overcame that.) When you change the lives of other people by opening their door to happiness, it brings a personal fulfillment of joy. You receive precious memories that reminds you of your personal good deeds and that subconsciously makes you feel better.
Don’t believe me?
There’s a variety of studies that prove that is the case. A personal favorite is a research paper written about Feeling Good and Giving. It goes over the benefits and rewards people receive by simply giving rather than receiving. Throughout their many social experiments with college students, they uncovered the positive reactions they received by sharing their finances with someone in dire need.
Back when I was 19, one of the biggest decisions I made was to travel across the world instead of attending an University such as my friends did. Of course it was a mad decision at the time and I faced many doubtful moments about the path I was committing too.
But part of my reasons to traveling was to escape the limited mindset I kept for most of my life while living in my small town. I had a limited scope of knowledge to what was out in the world and my only sources came from the media and News.(And we all know relying on the News for accurate information rarely goes right.)
During my travels to become independent, it sucked because it was scary, new, and way out of my comfort zone. But the longer I continued getting up earlier, the more strangers I spoke to, and the more light I brought into my life, I began seeing life in a new fashion.
I was walking the streets of Africa witnessing most of their cars built together from other vehicle parts. Though there were some wealthy parts of Africa I enjoyed, I also saw some of the worse. There were people who were well dressed and people who couldn’t dress themselves in different clothing everyday. It was common to find people struggling to eat from day to day as they sat on the street corners and watch life roll by.
At the time I wasn’t sure what I could do because I was young and knew I couldn’t save everyone around me. Poverty felt like a pointless battle. It was until later when I saw the way someone really appreciating a meal bought for them when I realized the importance of giving to others.
Sure, you can’t help the entire world. But by helping just one person, you’re making the world a better place by .0001%. You’re helping one person’s life who will forever remember your deed.
Bystanders who witness your action will be encouraged to help others in need. (Such as me and many, many people before me.) Before you know it, a positive domino effect is taking place and strangers are helping an entire community. And that’s how you save the world and increase that .0001% into .1%. Don’t assume poverty is a hopeless battle. Helping at least one person can lead them or others into sharing their own kindness with another stranger.
5 Ways to Buys Happiness
#1. Help a Disaster Victim or Family:
Just because you don’t live in an area that experienced a hurricane or a natural disaster doesn’t mean you’re powerless to do anything about it. You don’t have to travel thousands of miles to other countries to help them either. There’s a variety of organizations that obligate themselves to helping those survivals and all it takes is whatever support you can give them. Whether it’s donating money, your clothes, or sending encouraging letters, helping someone who’s facing challenging times could boost their spirits. One of the best resourceful websites are:
1. Central United States Earthqauke Consortium (CUSEC): Stay updated to the latest natural disasters and become part of a movement that aims to help people suffering from it.
2. American Red Cross: A humanitarian organization that focuses on providing emergency assistance, disaster relief and education inside the United States.
#2. Donate to Charity and Nonprofit Organizations:
Maybe you don’t have the time to go somewhere and give them your full time support. By simply donating to a nonprofit organization, you’re already helping at least one person whose life was going downhill. You’re providing them with the hope no one else was able to provide for them. A few resourceful areas to begin are:
1. Justgive: Choose from a variety of different nonprofit charities that aim to help those less fortunate. Go from sending gift cards to poor families, influence others as a mentor, or be part of nonprofit fundraisers.
2. Veteran Tickets Foundation: Help a Veteran who’s in need.Thousands of veterans are walking the streets begging for someone to give them a chance.
3.Youtlinc: Help provide children with furthering their education and receiving the proper mentorship to live a happy life.
4. The Wild Animal Sanctuary: Even animals need help just as much as humans. We live iin a cruel world where animals have been abused by their owners or illegally kept in bad living conditions.
5. Voices for Pets: If you’d like to give a voice for abused pets and help stop the violence that’s occurring against animals, this will be a great choice for you.
#3. Help Someone Achieve their dreams:
I meet people all the time, whether in my family, friends, or strangers who want to chase after their dreams but are unable to. And when I say dreams, I’m not referring to becoming wealthy or planning to jump from one dream to the next after five minutes.
I’m referring to the simple dreams of just trying to meet the basic needs for survival. Find someone whose dream is small and simple such as fixing their homes, their food supply, or their clothing. Even though we live in a wealthier society compared to other parts of the world, there are people surrounding us who have very little.
Even if they’re not struggling with basic material needs, they still might need mental healing. Help someone overcome their depression by simply listening to what they have to say. You don’t have to give an entire world just to make someone smile. Sometimes all they really need is for you to be by their side when they’re down.
#4. Help Your Environment:
Something that plainly irritates me is when I find people vandalizing their own neighborhoods. They’re not only ruining their own neighborhood, but they’re destroying their friends and families as well.
When people from outer areas drive into that neighborhood, all they’re going to see are the outer layers you show them. And if all they see is trash, graffiti, and ruined lawns, your home values decrease because it shows the entire community doesn’t care about it.
You may not be able to immediately influence the entire neighborhood to stop harming itself, but you can start small by picking up any trash you find near you. You can paint over the graffiti areas one day at a time. Overtime, as more people are watching the way you’re saving the neighborhood, it will raise their awareness to want to maintain their homes too.
#5. Send Small, but considerate, gifts to those you love:
It’s wonderful to see the look of someone’s face after giving them a small gift they never asked for. Whether it is candy, bouquet, or even coffee it’s not the gift that matters but the consideration. You’re showing them that you still cherish them and they’re still an important part of your life.
And if you don’t have the money to spend on someone, even writing them a friendly letter and hiding it in their clothing will put a smile on their face after they find it.
Highly Recommend Reading: Romantic Bargain: 30 cheap, but passionate dates
For Further Reflections….
Can money buy happiness?
Money can buy happiness. The only problem is that people don’t understand what they can buy that will lead to it. Most people spend their money on things that doesn’t relate to being happy or finding ultimate pleasures.
There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself, but if you think that’s the secret to gaining long lasting pleasures you’re missing out on connecting with the world. Humans are social creatures that need communication and bonding with others and assisting those in need is one of the greatest ways to reach it.
Need more Information about How to Buy Happiness? This TED video by Michael Norton is available to watch below: