Sometimes, I read self-help and even scientific books that talk about what makes people happy. And in almost all of them I’ve read so far, the authors try to make me believe that money doesn’t really bring happiness.
Well, I just don’t agree.
No matter how many books I read that say that and no many people try to convince me of it, I don’t ever believe the writers of these books, and the truth is, you probably don’t, either.
No one does.
Because we are people, not scientists or psychologists or researchers, and we remember how we felt before we had steak in the fridge and before we had a car—before, even, we could go to Starbuck’s whenever we wanted. (At least, I remember those times, since for me, they weren’t that long ago.)
As I said before, I enjoyed those times in my life, too, and there were things that I had then that I don’t have now and that were good.
But that doesn’t mean that I’d want to go back.
I like my things. I like new clothes, and a nice phone, and my laptop, and I like going out to eat sometimes. I like good lotion, not because it makes me look wealthy to other people when I carry it around in my purse (I live in Seattle, remember, where ostentatiousness is practically gauche), but because after my bath at night when I put it on and lay in bed it smells really good and then I read a book and it is nice.
It gives me pleasure.
So no, money doesn’t buy happiness, as the saying goes.
But it does buy pleasure.
And though pleasure isn’t everything I need in life to be happy, it certainly plays a part.
Don’t get me wrong, though; there’s a point at which having more money doesn’t make you happier—when the law of diminishing returns sets in and the difference between a nice vehicle and a really, really nice vehicle disappears on your happiness radar soon after purchase. And there’s a point, too, at which no amount of money, even a small amount added to a smaller amount, will make you happier because you feel so bad inside. And the opposite is true, too: you can be very happy even with very little.
You just have to be really, really good at it.
You probably have to be a saint.
And since I’m not a saint, and I don’t plan on becoming one in this lifetime, I like having a little added pleasure in my daily life.
I like money.
One more thought on the subject, though, and then I’ll stop talking about it for now: Those same scientists that try to convince us that money doesn’t make us happy have said one thing that I do very much agree with on the subject. A big, new house and a fast, expensive car gives you less pleasure overall than smaller treats you give yourself more often. So given the choice between the two—between an expensive haircut eight times a year, say, and a new car once a year or less—I’d go with the haircut.
Good hair is more important anyway.
It’s spirituality for the rest of us.
Eckhart Tolle is awesome. So are Byron Katie and all those Buddhist monks we hear about. Why, then, doesn’t their advice immediately solve all our most pressing spiritual problems?
Why are their results so difficult to replicate?
More Stuff to Read:
Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.
There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. (In some posts, I rate the practices on a scale of 1-10, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.)
These Are the Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday
Kids, here it is. Have at it.
- Spiritual-But-Not-Religious Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday
- All Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday
I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.
Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.
- My Mostly Ridiculous Self-Improvement Journal
- 150 Life Hacks for Getting Suddenly Awesome
- Suddenly Awesome Miscellany (And, Let’s Be Real: Book Promos)