Tuesday, May 2, 2017
For my second installment I choose a chapter titled “Happiness, Money, and Giving it Away” which directly addresses the question, can making more money make you happy. From just looking at the title I was certain that the answer to this question would be different with each person. Personally I love to travel and am determined to see the world, but traveling can be expensive. As much as I hate to admit it, making more money would let me travel more, which would make me happier.
However this chapter made a few very interesting points, the main of which being a study conducted by Princeton University that found that “Americans in the middle-income range have a level of happiness that is almost identical to well-off American families” and that people that had a higher income “spent more time in actives that are associated with negative feelings, such as tension or stress”. These activists were defined as commuting to and from work or simply being at work longer. I was able to associate this to my former neighbor. While he makes a good living and now lives on a golf course, he drives an hour to work each way and is not particular happy at his work. Because he spends so much time in his car he isn’t able to enjoy the golf course he now lives on, also because he is not happy at is work, he is stressed to a point that even if he did have time to enjoy his new golf course he would probably not enjoy a round of golf and would prefer to just eat dinner and watch TV.
The chapter offers an answer to why my neighbor might have stuck to his stressful life instead of quitting and just playing golf, which is “making money gives us something to do that feels worthwhile, as long as we do not reflect too much on why we are doing it”. But if you work to only make yourself feel worth while then I would argue that we you not living to your full potential, and would bring up Warren Buffet. Mr. Buffet has worked hard for many years to build a massive fortune of $42 million, and was ranked the second richest man in the world. It is also known that despite his massive fortune Mr. Buffet lives on a tight budget and does not spend massive amounts of money at one time. So why continue working after making his first few millions and live a happy life in the same manner? In my opinion its pointless and his work went in vain since he would never use the money. However it is also important to know that he did not let his money go to waste, while he did not necessarily enjoy his money as I might have, Mr. Buffet has given the single largest charitable donation even when compared to John D. Rockefeller. While this might be a stretch, I do believe that Mr. Buffet did live to his full potential by continuing his work to help the lives of others. While I no longer believe that simply earning more money will bring you more happiness, I would argue that money has the ability to allow to do what makes you happy but is not necessarily important to happiness itself.