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Who Said Money Can’t Buy Happiness?

Entrepreneurs – the modern day warriors who volunteered to take on society’s most epic battles, with no roadmap, no rulebook, they set sail in the hope of finding a better way of doing things. They’re in it for the prestige, the money and the good will. They’re characters who have those individualistic qualities that make the individual thrive and prosper into stratospheric heights. These are characteristics that make it possible for you and for anyone else who has the guts to walk down the entrepreneurial road, to become, in lack of better words, moneymakers. But the closer you get to achieving that “bonus”, the more jealous criticism you’re going to get – the more envious crap you’re going to go through, a bunch of “constructive criticism” aimed at you, flying in from all angles. But amid all the hate and the talk, you don’t have to give in or fear that you’ll die alone, all blue, with no friends. You’re successful, wealthy and awesome, absolutely nothing can beat you. And if some people come across with the statement that “with all your money and success you can’t live a happy life”, well, you know what to do! They say “money can’t buy happiness”, I say, good for you!

How can someone have the audacity to say that money can’t buy happiness, what are you then working for, charity? Why are you going to your 9 to 5 job five days a week, to satisfy your boss? Whether you like it or not, capital is what keeps this collective society going in a vicious circle of reliance, capitalistic reliance. Now I won’t get into the sensitive materialistic topic just yet, so let us start slow – philanthropy.

A Harvard Business School professor, Michael Norton, discovered in his scientific research “Happy Money; The Science of Smarter Spending” that “having money may not buy happiness, but spending cash on life experiences might bring people a certain amount of joy.” His whole theory was based on conducting behavioral science, which lead to the conclusion the individuals who spend their money on others can significantly stimulate their general overall mood and their actual perception on life. Still don’t get what I mean? Lets take Bill and Melinda Gates’ vision as a perfect example. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the ultimate philanthropic model that illustrates how money does, in fact, buy happiness, as these extraordinary people have an endowment of a total of 38.3 billion dollars that has saved, supported and sustained millions of people around the world, buying them a smile for a lifetime – let me show you what I mean.

An astounding 1.3 billion dollars have been donated to the “Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria”, an astonishing amount that has literally saved millions of individuals in developing countries, giving the young and the old a fighting chance to live through life with a smile on their faces, a fighting chance that makes them just that much safer – and if that doesn’t portray the perception of “capital driven happiness” then you might as well stop reading. Education also covers a large part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations’ vision of a better, happier world. With that being said, they spend millions of dollars supporting thousands of students in the US, supplying them with a much-needed scholarship so that they can attend a diverse range of educational institutions. Alongside with scholarships, they also invest their hard-earned fortune into developing schools infrastructures, giving students a much more appropriate and modern study-environment, which we all know is an essential educational-trait when your goal is to achieve higher grounds.

What I’m trying to highlight here is that, just because you own millions of dollars, drive a Bentley on Mondays, a Maybach on Fridays and live in a 10000 square foot mansion – doesn’t mean that you’re an ego-centric, cheap capitalistic prick – on the contrary, it opens up monumental opportunities to invest a portion of your wealth into the good of man-kind, improving and finding solutions to the worlds’ most devastating problems, resulting in true and genuine happiness for you and others. Now I know what you’re thinking, it’s Bill Gates, the guy has literally a swimming pool filled with money – well let me tell you where you are wrong. First of all, no, he probably has four swimming pools that are crammed with money. Second of all, there are millions of philanthropy-driven individuals out there who donate small amounts of their earnings, be it 50 dollars or 50 cents, to support critical global issues, and that my friends makes them, on a more local scale, philanthropists.

Now lets dive into the more “sensitive” materialistic angle, and to top it all off, I’ll pour some gasoline on the fire by quoting one of the most materialistic statements out there: “If money doesn’t buy happiness, I’d rather cry in a Ferrari.” It’s a citation that has so much more depth and complexity than what it actually sounds like, establishing a multidimensional interpretation of a very simple “arrogant” quote.

I sure as hell can’t be the only one who gets a little overwhelmed of the idea of getting new stuff, be it getting the latest smartphone, buying the newest game or wearing the latest Louis Vuitton handbag – we all get caught up in the materialistic sphere that evolves around us. It’s one of those things we usually don’t want to think about, considering it may harm your current relationships or even stress you out mentally. But as we walk down the streets of this developing world, watching Hollywood blockbusters, sighting over photoshopped commercial ads and listening to the newest hit on Spotify, we constantly surround ourselves with the temptation of buying “the next big thing” in order to integrate ourselves into the modern society we live in today – we all do it. So how about you stop pointing the finger at the “stereotypical” materialistic individual who is seen as a high-class snob who can’t choose whether or not he will be driving his Porsche or Aston Martin this afternoon, because the only difference between you and that “snob” is that he/she can afford that pricey product and you can’t. And let’s face it, at the end of the day, you’re still supporting the same materialistic “crime” you’re discouraging. But nevertheless, there is obviously a substantial difference between how the lower class and upper class perceive the power of money, so lets get to it.

You see, from a “lower class” perspective, materialistic ownership is what lifts you from that “inferior” socio-economic division. It’s Willy Wonka first class golden ticket to a more “prestigious” hierarchy. Think about it, what separates the lower class from the upper-class? Their state of mind? Their smile? Their generosity? I can go on forever, asking stalling rhetorical questions, because the main thing that separates you from them, them from you – are the glorified materialistic possessions they behold that puts them under the public scrutiny. And take this from a former lower-class member, that new BMW you would see driving down the street, the new Ralph Lauren shirt that prick you hated used to wear, those new Jordan’s you used to glance at – there is a reason why you fantasized about possessing those “things”, there is a reason why those daydreaming moments brought a slight smile to your face – because it made you happy. Now if you’re still boiling up with critical thoughts about this “hypothesis”, thinking that everything I just mentioned is pure BS, then you probably haven’t lived the “lower-class” life, you’ve just heard about it, because yes, materialistic possessions do buy happiness as it sparks the desire to reach stratospheric grounds in order to have the power to, as messed up as it may sound, to buy more and align your social profile with the “rich and glamorous”, but once you get there, things might change.

From an upper class perspective, materialistic possessions portray and reflect a position within the capitalistic hierarchy. That “stuff” is what represents them and thereby works as a necessary and almost mandatory certificate that lets the world know that they belong to the superior rich elite. With that being said, wealthier individuals might be living more comfortably -materialistically speaking-, driving the latest BMW, spending the holidays in the Hamptons and while we are at it, wearing the hottest Jimmy Choos, but more than often, they encounter “money related problems”: let me elaborate on that.

A while ago the Gates Foundation conducted yet another research, asking 120 people, with a net-worth of over 25 million dollars, about their “happy-meter.” The whole point with this research was to give the people an insight on why wealthier people were not necessarily happier than the average-paid individuals. They were also showing how the burden of wealth helps motivate the case of giving more – wait burden, what burden? The socio-economic burden of reliance, where everyone needs them, the burden of having the resources, which obligates them to help the ones less fortunate, the social burden that blurs out the line between friends and “friends”, establishing a dishonest and untrustworthy social-circle, the burden of dealing with the complications that you have to deal with as your paycheck grows bigger.

So lets face it, it’s not like more money will make you miserable, it really all comes down to how and on who you spend it – that’s it. Now whether or not it’s perceived as a yardstick for success, you can’t deny the fact that more money does in fact open up more doors, more opportunities to help, support and inspire millions of people around the world, i.e buying them happiness.

Picture Credit: Tumblr.