Professor Heather Johnson
9 July 2013
Money Can Not Buy Happiness
Do you believe that your income is the main factor in determining your happiness? It is a classic debate that has reached its tentacles into the minds of our nation’s individuals and wrapped itself firmly around their minds having them strive for happiness. Money does not buy happiness. Too many Americans are so blinded by their own ignorance that they constantly pursue happiness as if it was a matter of circumstance rather than their own perspective. Such a way of life is crippling to those individuals because they miss the plethora of opportunities for happiness that surrounds them in every way of life.
Today, more and more people argue that money can buy happiness. Proponents of such a viewpoint often argue that money “makes the world go ‘round”. They may argue that it allows us to have carefree lives because we don’t have financial strain with money. They may argue that it gives people the ability to buy whatever they may want and that causes us to be pleased with our purchase. They may even argue that money allows one to be charitable to others.
Those who make these arguments have the wrong perspective of the world. Those who argue that many buys happiness and those who live their lives in such a manner can never really attain true happiness. Clearly, these people who are striving to make money are really just striving to be happy. They dedicate their lives to being happy and thus place very significant value on being happy. One study attempted to determine the paradoxical effects of valuing happiness. It concluded, “valuing happiness could be self-defeating, because the more people value happiness, the more likely they will feel disappointed“ (Savino et al. 807).
Furthermore, those that argue that happiness allows us to live carefree lives by removing the burden of financial strain need to change their perspective in order to truly be carefree. People living life in such a manner are never truly carefree because they constantly have the stress on them to be making more money in order to live a carefree lifestyle. Such a conditional “happiness” is not truly carefree. Rather than living life in such a manner, people should remove the excessive stress of making money and appreciate their own respective situations. That certainly beats caging the circumstances under which they can thrive and be happy to only being included in a specific income bracket. Basically, put less value on how you regard happiness. “Valuing happiness may lead people to be less happy just when happiness is within reach” (Savino et al. 807).
Individuals who believe that money can buy them happiness may believe that money allows them to buy certain objects or allows them to have certain experiences that allow them to be happy. However, one study showed, “… that happiness seekers voluntarily choose to practice up to eight happiness strategies at a time suggests that by experience or instinct they have discovered a successful approach to the pursuit of happiness” (Lyubomirsky et al). However, there was little correlation between the application of these happiness seeking strategies and an actual real-world application’s effect on a boost in well being (Lyubomirsky et al). There is close to no correlation between activities or objects that “happiness-seekers” seek to buy and their own happiness. Rather than believing you can buy happiness with your money, one should perhaps try helping an old lady cross the street. The good feeling in your belly after such a kind and gracious act is true happiness.
Raymond Angelo Belliotti argues that, “…leading a robustly meaningful, valuable life merits worthwhile happiness. But worthwhile happiness does not automatically follow from such a life. If we must choose, a robustly meaningful, valuable life is preferable to a merely happy life…” (Belliotti). I completely agree with Mr. Belliotti. However, I...
Cited: Belliotti, Raymond Angelo. "The Seductions Of Happiness." The Oxford handbook of happiness. 291-302. New York, NY US: Oxford University Press, 2013.PsycINFO. Web. 1 July 2013.
Moïra Mikolajczak, et al. "Money Giveth, Money Taketh Away: The Dual Effect Of Wealth On Happiness." Psychological Science (Sage Publications Inc.) 21.6 (2010): 759-763. Academic Search Complete. Web. 16 July 2013.
Nicole S. Savino, et al. "Can Seeking Happiness Make People Unhappy? Paradoxical Effects Of Valuing Happiness." Emotion 11.4 (2011): 807-815.PsycARTICLES. Web. 1 July 2013.
Sonja Lyubomirsky, et al. "Pursuing Happiness In Everyday Life: The Characteristics And Behaviors Of Online Happiness Seekers." Emotion 12.6 (2012): 1222-1234. PsycARTICLES. Web. 1 July 2013.
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