“The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another…” – The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith
How much is enough? There are common themes coat-tailing the issue of money. First, money is necessary for survival, which is an argument I concede. However, the problem I see following that logic is that many people have not distinguished the difference between “want” and “need” for themselves. Functional shelter and mode of transportation are necessities; however, I am not of the opinion that excess adds to happiness or fulfillment, rather they bring problems. The bigger home and the latest vehicle is not worth a lifetime sentence of wearing golden handcuffs. To clarify, the more you consume, then the more you will be subject to money’s ruling.
Working a job only to have its pecuniary allowance enable a more expensive lifestyle is not only futile, because more will always exist, but it is also tiresome. Moreover, the reason for the uselessness behind acquiring more is due to human’s tendency to adapt. Purchasing a new wardrobe, property, or vehicle is deceptive on its return on happiness, because the novelty is soon lost and the thought about the next purchase rapidly resurfaces. Also, in working to make more money regardless of its type earned, passive, or portfolio, you may acquire more, but you either lack quality time to experience it or you do not have anyone to experience it with or both. Materialism offers fleeting joy; it does not endure. Do not fall victim to its trap.
Similarly, seeking the next promotion in order to afford your overstretched finances is ineffective, because your level of consumption is not analyzed nor reorganized. I often hear from the seasoned attorney to a retail sales associate that they “need” another or higher-paying job, because they are tired of being financially compromised. I think, rather than seeking more pay, perhaps one should reduce one’s level of consumption and pinpoint the real needs. Also, realizing they can work to acquire their wants, but know that they are not necessary for their happiness. Free yourself from becoming a servant to money. Consciously think how you spend and heed your patterns.
Consumption is the basis of capitalism, which is arguably the least evil of economic systems implemented historically. I am not arguing to cease all consumption or that capitalism be replaced, rather I am arguing for thinking about the meaning behind every consumed product and service. What purpose will the purchase fulfill, if any? In addition, let us find work that both pays the necessities and offers meaning to the holder and the community; seize your potential.
Time is finite; therefore, give thought to what investments you make. Get out of the rat race or the “work to spend cycle” and breathe in the fresh air that comes with doing something you love and believing what you have is enough.