“It’s always better to cry in a BMW than it is on a bicycle.”
I’ve heard that quote before, and variations of it. It always comes up when someone is debating whether money really does make you happy. If you look at it like that, it’s perfectly right. I’d rather cry in a 10-bedroom mansion than in a one-room bedsit.
But the way I look at it is I’m still crying. I’m still not happy. And so many people miss the point when it comes to this. You’re still not happy, so in that sense money doesn’t bring happiness.
That doesn’t mean you can’t be rich and happy or poor and happy (I fall into the latter); however, I’m going to say that the two are completely separate things.
On some Reddit chat that I was browsing when I should have been working one guy said something that’s always stuck in my head. He said, “Wealth is like seawater.”
Before I decided to change my life, I was your standard worker. Always looking for that promotion and always looking for more money to put into my bank account at the end of the month. And it’s true that wealth is like seawater. The more you drink of it the more you want.
Think back to when you were kid and your parents gave you £20 to do whatever you wanted with. I bet you felt like a king. You felt like you were rich.
Now let’s fast-forward a bit to your first job. You might have received £300 for that month of work. You likely felt proud and that you were rolling in the money. The same goes for when you were worth more than £1,000. For some of us, you may have felt the same when you had more than £10,000 in the world.
But what I noticed (and it’s likely something you noticed) is that it never felt like the first time you got that £20 as a kid. Again, the seawater just makes you thirstier.
Does that mean money has nothing to do with happiness?
I’m not saying that at all. You just have to see money as what it is. It gives you peace of mind, security, and, crucially, what you need to make you happy.
Let’s say that travel makes you happy. You need money to do it. So in that sense money can bring you happiness because it’s enabling you to do what makes you happy.
This is a distinction you absolutely have to make. Getting lots of money for no real purpose at all is pointless. It’s not going to change your life.
It’s something I changed about my own life. I didn’t think about the amount of money in my bank account; I set a goal and worked towards it. For example, I really wanted to buy a classic Rolls Royce. Those things are expensive. I didn’t think about the money I needed; I thought about the thing I wanted because I knew it was something I wanted since I was a kid.
Have I bought that thing yet? No, but just working towards that goal gradually has allowed me to feel like I’m no longer a slave to money. I can work on the things that really make me happy.
If anyone ever tells you that money doesn’t matter, punch them in the face. They’re either lying to you or are deluded. Life costs what life costs and few people living in the Western world are going to be happy if they’re totally broke.
Just focus on the goal not on the amount. Do you feel the same way as me?