Can Money Buy You Happiness?

Growing up in the United States, I have always thought about the “American Dream.” In other words, to have a successful life, you must have a good-paying job and find a place to work in corporate America. But to what extent does money actually buy happiness? Sometimes, when I find myself contemplating the answer to this question, I imagine my reality as it is right now. I have a wonderful family and am fortunate enough to go to a private school where I receive an amazing education working with passionate teachers. However, I am continually envious of those who have more than me. Whether that’d be one of my peers on Instagram or the Kardashians themselves, in comparison my life can sometimes feel dull. It’s easy to view a vacation to Bora Bora or that one new makeup product as the item that is going to increase my happiness– and in some ways, this thought is somewhat true. Nevertheless, vacations come to an end, and the joy I feel toward a new blush in my collection will wear off sooner rather than later. In other words, humans have an innate instinct to eventually become used to the excitement of their lives. This is because it is simply unhealthy for people to be living in a constant state of excitement– or any emotion for that matter. Humans need to have a constant range of emotions in order to actively engage and participate in life, and that is why money will never be able to buy a constant stream of happiness for anyone.

Rather than seeking out happiness through material things and short-lasting things, I have set new goals for myself in the coming months. For example, performing nice things for others more frequently. Through action and kind deeds, I believe that others and I begin to establish a more consistent stream of positive emotion. After all, most of us feel a sense of satisfaction or pride after complimenting someone or helping a friend with a task. So, why not try and incorporate these actions into my daily life? Some may argue that over time, just like the acquisition of material things, these actions may begin to wear off, having a positive effect on my emotions. To some extent, this idea is true as, eventually, the pride that comes with helping others will dull down into a simple aspect of daily life. However, what skeptics of this idea fail to realize is that satisfaction over human experience is much greater when compared to what is achieved after spending money on goods. In this way, action in the name of others is a greater tool for achieving happiness as opposed to monetary gain. Moreover, as previously described, stagnation in one’s life is a common aspect of boredom and lack of happiness. Thus, change in life can be a good stimulator of happiness. In order for change to be meaningful, it should look different every day. For example, stopping to get a smoothie after school. I’ve found in my life that doing this every Friday as opposed to more frequently allows me to have something to look forward to at the end of every week.

In conclusion, we may constantly hear that “the grass is greener on the other side,” but small changes in life and striving for kindness towards others can be great ways to curate happiness. So, if anyone believes in the idea that money can buy ultimate happiness, they have yet to realize that nothing in life lasts forever—especially material things and the feelings provoked by them.

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