Most of us (I think) would agree we don’t have to choose between money and happiness. But money consumes nearly our entire awake lives. When we have it, we’re trying to protect and maximize it. When we don’t have it, we’re figuring out how to make more of it. Or make the best of what we do have.
Stop and think about a normal day. We are absolutely overwhelmed with money thoughts—spending it, saving it, investing it, and earning it.
And everything is measured in monetary terms. Gas went up 10 cents in 2 days. I saved $50 on groceries. I will get a 3% raise. I’ll be debt free in 20 years.
Even though we may be money thinking creatures, studies continue to show that critical components outside of money matter—a lot.
Once recent study, titled Meaning Really Matters, revealed in a MarketWatch column states:
Being healthy, creating deep relationships with family and friends, having a sense of purpose, and feeling like you belong are major components of a happy life. What’s more, those ingredients are just as true for those in their 20s as those in their 70s—and in the midst of a recession, too.
So, how do you know you’re living a happy life?
In the study, those living the good life uttered such comments as “Being spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically healthy,” “Having enough money not to worry about whether or not I can pay the bills; good friends to share life with” and “Having a safe, healthy, and happy life with family and friends.”
So, in that sense, as long as the bills are paid, there should be no sense stewing about money, right?
The study also stated that…
74% of those living the good life were completely content, as opposed to only 24% who weren’t living the good life.
Ahhh. Therein lies man’s greatest secret—contentment. So, how do we get there, to the wonderful place of contentment?
The chief component is having a sense of purpose, according to the study. That sense of purpose is “interrelated with vision—having clarity about the path to the good life and focus—knowing and concentrating on the most important things that will get you to the good life.”
So, is this equation right? Being happy = contentment + purpose (which is comprised of clarity and vision).