Do you think you have a long life and procrastinating on all the new things that you want to try? Well, you have very short but four lives.
The narrative "Money can't buy you happiness" which has been fed to us and has become a dogma in every culture, amongst people of each and every socio-economic level is wrong. Money might not hand over happiness to you, but it gives you the possibility to have happiness, that freedom to make choices which can make you happy isn't something that you'll get from anywhere else.
"Money can't buy you happiness. You need to follow your passion" - Everyone
In search of this mysterious thing called passion which is nothing but consistent practice done by individual that over a period of time, generally before they are 18, they start associating it with their identity and think that it is something they are good at *ahem* familiar with *ahem* so they'll pursue it as a career instead of researching their expected returns. Most people on these paths are clearly doomed. Are you about to explain how John Mayer, or some other artists followed their passion and became successful? Well, let me tell you that they were following their passion along with some job like working at a gas station which was paying their bills to follow that passion. Surely, they weren't making much but they were getting enough money to buy them time to follow the passion which might or might not have made them successful.
Dreams don't pay the bills. Am I sounding old school? Well, try doing that, I don't know if it would or not but Money does. It's the only way in this world to get your basic human needs met unless you're ready to live the life of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Even worse is telling young people to throw away their option to choose freedom that money provides for the "perciveable" freedom that following your passion as your sole career comes with and leads you down to misery.
I am fairly certain that the Stoics considered money to be a preferred indifferent, meaning that all things being equal, it would be better to have it than not have it (like health). I agree that money isn't something which inherrently makes you happy and there's more to happiness like health, friendship, love, etc. But if you think about health, you can't have good health if you don't have money to buy good quality food, and lack equipment or membership to gym to stay fit just because you have limited money or maybe they are simply out of your reach. You can't maintain friendship or any relationship if you have to think about spending on every dinner or movie night. You'll be stressed to death if occasional splurge is something you can't even think about. In all of these cases it's not like that money handed over happiness to you, but it at least gave you the freedom to make choices that can make you happy. There are people who will eat junk food with all their money and ruin their health or be jerk around people even though they have money. So be it. They'll not be fullfilled in that aspect of life.
Data is beautiful
A study by Kansas State University found that arguments over money were the greatest predictor of divorce.
"Arguments about money is by far the top predictor of divorce," said Sonya Britt, assistant professor of family studies and human services and program director of personal financial planning. "It's not children, sex, in-laws or anything else. It's money -- for both men and women."
It takes longer to recover from money arguments than any other kind of argument, according to Britt, and such arguments are more intense. Couples often use harsher language with each other, and the argument lasts longer. Lack of money is a genuine detriment for your happiness.
Millennial and Gen-X around the world are drowning in credit card debt, home loans, medical payments and what not. They can't afford multiple kids and the last thing they might wish for is less money.
Money is a tool and money is an enabler. If put to right use then on the contrary to what social media posts, those wanna be higher beings or your parents suggest, Money can buy you happiness. We are not talking about stuffing your house kind of happiness but freedom to achieve more fulfillment. It's true that after certain needs, in which I would include your splurging habits as well and not just basic human needs, are met more money won't even enable you to make any better choice that could make you more happy but untill then, money is what you need.
Musonius ordered a thousand sesterces to be given to a charlatan who was portraying himself as a philosopher. When several people said that this good-for-nothing was a bad and devious man, worthy of nothing good, Musonius smiled and said: "Then Money is what he deserves"
Just meeting the basic human needs in the modern world is no more enough to help you lead your life. But surely minimalism and sound knowledge about personal finance is a game changer for anyone. So, follow your passion as much as you can, but be realistic. Strike a balance between you basic needs and passion. Passion doesn't necessarily have to be your career choice until it can start providing you with a liveable income. It might not be "perceivably" as fulfilling because definitely, dopamine has made you create an image of more jolly future than what reality might dictate but the calculated truth is that it'll provide you happiness. I'll talk about personal finance soon.
That's it for this blogpost and if you feel that you've something to add to this or you've a different perspective then share it and discuss it on r/StoicHuman or go to the reddit discussion post for this blog post linked down below.
Stay healthy, Stay safe.
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