Happiness is a highly subjective term- to each its own. There are different sources of joy – it may be from materialistic pleasures, from experiences and the learnings that we get from them, or by giving and sharing what we have enough of. As contradicting as they might seem they all fulfill our heart in different ways. Let me break it down, show you how each of those categories are more easily obtained when we have enough money at our disposal.
Materialistic pleasures: As shallow as this sounds, money delivers us things that bring a smile to our faces. As short-lived and fleeting as it may be, it’s a smile nevertheless. It can be as expensive as the latest Ferrari, or a large house or as simple as a slice of our favourite cake. These are the kinds of things that give us joy while they last, temporary comfort. They all bring us gratification in one way or another and that’s undeniable. In its simplest form currency buys us comforts, which satisfy our wants making us happy.
Exposure: Having money provides you with exposure, and access to certain kinds of learning. Looking within the country, good education is now a utility for the well-off. It is known fact that students graduating from private schools have a significant upper-hand in comparison to those from government-run schools. Private schools give students life-skills, focus more on delivering concepts, as opposed to government schools where topics outside textbooks are neglected. The advantage that these students get is apparent. These private schools have a fee that is outside the affordable range of a major population of the country. This creates a gap that only gets harder to bridge with time.
Experiences: There are certain experiences that only money can buy, and these experiences teach us lessons in life that cannot be learnt otherwise. “Travel is the best teacher,” is a frequently used quote, and undoubtedly precise. Travel allows you to learn new languages, to understand different cultures, gain independence, become aware of the world that you live in and imparts basic survival skills. While all these can be obtained through local travel, leaving one’s own country enhances the learning process. Unfortunately international travel is a luxury that very few people get to experience, and the factor that separates people who do from those who don’t is money. This kind of travel gives you memories, and putting a price tag on that is impossible.
The joy of Giving: This might be contradictory to the title, but it cannot be neglected. The satisfaction that one gets by giving to others, be it money, time or even just your learnings is something that is invaluable. The validation, neuroscience says, that one gets when they make others happy is of a different kind. Money can buy you the fulfillment that you obtain by helping those in need, by sharing what you have with someone who deserves it but isn’t lucky enough to have it.
While I stand by my point and say that money can buy happiness I also say this- this joy is of a certain kind only. And this one kind isn’t nearly enough to ensure that you are satisfied, as an individual. To be content in life, innumerable factors play a role- personal relationships, validation, self-esteem and a sense of responsibility for your action are a few of them. This is why shopping makes us happy, it makes us feel in control. And unless all these factors fit together in harmony you, as an individual, cannot be happy. And if nothing else works out, wouldn’t you rather cry in a matte black Ferarri?