What would you do tomorrow, if you won the lottery today? That’s the dream, isn’t it? To win big at the lottery so that you can either retire early, travel the world, enjoys the pleasures of life without the encumbrance of work, bills and debt. I’ve always heard that “Money can’t buy happiness…” While this may true, I’ve usually quipped that I’d prefer to find out for myself. And perhaps someday I’ll get that chance, since I partake of the occasional lottery ticket. But that day is not today.
The way of the modern world is as such that money is a necessary evil in order to exist with any modicum of comfort and sustainability. Unlike previous generations, who lived without the benefits of internet, online shopping and grocery stores, they lived off the land, growing their own crops, making their own clothing and taking life one day at a time without necessarily knowing what was happening in the rest of the world. Sometimes, ignorance can be bliss.
The thing is, life was never meant to be easy. Most things in existence will always seek to take the path of least resistance, so it would make sense that we would choose to suddenly come into a large sum of money and live a life of ease as opposed to working hard and punching a clock. But that isn’t the way of things. And as The Notorious B.I.G. once said, “Mo money, mo problems…” The more monetary value your household holds, the more likely that you’ll face other issues, such as increasingly higher bills and debts. Money can lead to an endless spiral of needing more and more…
I remember a story from years ago, when I was young and foolish and decided to join a multi-level marketing company (I’m looking to start a war with y’all, so if you’re part of an MLM, no disrespect). We were asked by one of the big wigs giving the presentation what we hoped to get out of life and joining this company. There were about a dozen of us, and he came to us one-by-one for an answer. Most people answered exactly what you’d expect:
- “I want to retire early…”
- “I want to be debt-free…”
- “I want financial independence…”
- “I want to own a big house…”
All the answers provided indicated some desire to have a life of ease and comfort, to lessen the burden of everyday life and make things easier. I watched in silence until the presenter came to me and I gave him an answer that threw everyone for a loop. I answered, “I want to be happy.” He looked at me for a moment with a mixture of confusion at my answer and frustration that I wasn’t answering on-par with the rest of the sheep, but continued on with his presentation without missing a beat. Leave it to me to provide an answer that would throw him for a loop.
It didn’t take me long to recognize that MLM’s were not for me and that I wouldn’t find happiness there. And like most people, I had to try it to find out. But one of the other attendees came to me after the presentation when we were enjoying some coffee and socializing, and asked me to explain my answer to the presenter’s question. My answer was this:
“I don’t need to have millions of dollars to have a fulfilling life. I just need to be happy. I can do without a mansion, so long as there’s a clean, comfortable roof over my head, food in my fridge and clothes on my back. What I need in order to be happy is simply having the ability to live. What I mean by that is, if I want to grab a medium cup of Tim Horton’s coffee every morning on my way to work, I want to be able to do so without having to calculate if I have enough money in the bank. That’s only one example, but it demonstrates that I don’t need to be rich; I simply need to do better.”
Money CAN’T buy happiness. It can certainly ease financial burden and allow access to resources one may not have, without the added money. But happiness comes from what you get out of life and how you achieve it. Working and being out in the world is about more than the salary you make; it’s about the self-accomplishment you feel and the impact you have on the world. THAT’s the lesson! THAT’s the message we need to pass on to future generations.
I have a friend who often feels he needs the top quality of everything; half-million dollar home, huge camper, newest vehicles and all the fun little “adult” toys one can obtain (And I mean stuff like a hot tub or motorcycle! Get your minds out of the gutter!) I remember when this fried came to visit our home for the first time, when we moved to Regina. We had purchased a reasonably-sized, reasonably-priced bungalow. I remember seeing the look on his face when he walked through; almost looking down his nose at everything and judging the house based on its appearance. It felt as though he couldn’t get out fast enough.
Sure, the house needed (needs) repairs. Sure, it isn’t a grandiose mansion. But you know what? It has the room we need at a price that doesn’t have us living poor to make payments. Meanwhile, the friend in question may have a shiny marble of a house, but he often complains that he has difficulty with his month-to-month. I may be straying a bit off-topic here, but the point is that our home has warmth. Our home has comfort and we can make do with what we have and be happy. And that’s what’s important.
Life isn’t meant to be easy. As a colleague of mine commented last week, “What if it were all easy? What if?” Where would the challenge of life be, if there were no obstacles to overcome. The struggle is ultimately part of the journey, and each journey is unique. So, stop wishing for what you don’t have and start working towards what you want. The results of your efforts will bring you unbridled happiness and once that happiness is rooted in you, you’ll be richer than you can imagine. ☯
“Do Not Pray For An Easy Life, Pray For The Strength To Endure A Difficult One.”– Bruce Lee