; Can Money Buy Happiness-
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Can Money Buy Happiness-

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									Aristotle famously determined, "Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the
whole aim and end of human existence." Though most Americans would not dispute
this dictate evidence suggests Americans believe the most typical and direct route to
happiness is by way of money. Many have come to believe money can buy happiness.

In a literal sense money cannot buy happiness, as happiness is a feeling. Happiness is
a state or condition of contentment or satisfaction, jubilation or joy. Happiness
ultimately is an internal sensation, a state of being. Dollars cannot create a permanent
state of happiness, but seemingly money can generate temporary elation.

Though money cannot buy happiness it can buy freedom and opportunity like nothing
else. Having money, and the power that money represents, affords the possessor the
ability to pursue a host of options and opportunities in the material world. When you
have money you can live where you want, do what you want, travel where you may
and in general, "live the good life." One must, however, be wary of the dichotomy of
power.

We tend to think the more money or power we have, the freer we are, and in turn the
happier we will be. Buried within the equation of power and freedom is responsibility.
The more things you possess, the more commitments you have, often the less time
you end up calling your own. The owner becomes slave to possessions.

By way of a simple example, consider if you were to purchase a boat. Your vision
would likely be of relaxing trips on the water, enjoying the wind and waves, fishing
and other water sports with family and friends. Realize, however, along with the boat
comes responsibilities: cleaning, maintenance, storage, transportation, insurance,
licensing, and so on. Does the notion of freedom tied up in the boat lose some appeal?

If you buy the big house you have to work to keep up with the mortgage. If you drive
the expensive, luxury car you take on another debt, greater insurance costs and
increased concern about theft and parking. If you own or run a business the
responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders - responsibility for hiring, firing,
disciplining employees, determining product lines, marketing, distribution, customer
service and a multitude of other tasks. It seems the more you possess, the more power
you have, the more responsibility and stress you face - hardly a formula for happiness.

We live in a dualistic world. Every force has an equal and opposing force. Every
decision, every choice, presents an opportunity cost - the value of what might have
been, had the choice been different. Money and power bring responsibility -
responsibility that can confine. Select carefully what you want. It would be a shame to
acquire all the stuff you believe will bring you happiness to then spend all your time
and energy working to maintain those things.

As Frederick Keonig once offered, "We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as
a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating
what we do have."

The key, to achieve the ultimate objective - happiness, is to know what you want,
what makes you happy. Focus your time, energy and talents on those activities, not in
pursuit of happiness but for the intrinsic satisfaction those activities provide.
Happiness is an elusive prey. So seek not happiness, rather engage in worthwhile
pursuits - in the end you will be happy.

Money can't buy happiness. Happiness is both far too valuable and so readily at hand.
Money is not a prerequisite nor a requirement for happiness. The sooner you realize
this truth, the sooner your life can become full and fulfilling.

								
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