Is material success an essential component of happiness?
So many famous and successful people, one after the other, tell us that once they got to the summit — once they achieved fame, wealth and material success — they were disappointed. Success didn’t satisfy them the way they thought it would. It did not feed their souls. At their core, things didn’t change. They didn’t feel any different. They still felt empty and unsatisfied. Some, in fact, felt worse, more miserable than ever.
We are fed this myth that if we work hard we will achieve fame, wealth and material success, and that once we get these things we will be happy. So, from a tender age, we are pushed into the competitive arena. We put ourselves in motion to compete and prove to the world that we are better than others. In this process, we separate ourselves from others — we isolate ourselves — and this isolation brings about pain and suffering.
No matter how rich and famous some may be, and no matter how many people they may be surrounded with, they still feel lonely. In the end, they feel angry, feeling that they have been deceived, that they have been told a big lie, and that they have sacrificed themselves and wasted their lives pursuing the wrong things.
“I had everything a man could want. I was a millionaire. I had beautiful women in my life. I had cars, a house, an incredible, solid-gold career, and a future, and yet, on a daily basis, I wanted to commit suicide.” ~ Eric Clapton
“As a Beatle, we made it. And there was nothing to do. We had money, we had fame, and there was no joy.” ~ John Lennon
It is about time we learn this lesson once and for all: Fame, wealth and material success do not automatically bring about happiness. We will never find happiness in those things alone.
So, if wealth isn’t the answer, what is?
Material success is neutral to happiness; it is neither good, nor bad. Both rich and poor individuals may be happy, or not. Wealth and poverty are external conditions, but happiness in an internal one; it comes from the inside.
So, again: if wealth isn’t the answer, what is?
We begin to get closer to the answer when we go inside ourselves and inquire, “Who am I ? Where did I come from? What am I doing here? What was I brought here to do? What do I love? What makes me happy? What makes me come alive? What gifts do I bring to share with the family of the Earth? How can I alleviate someone else’s suffering? How shall I live, knowing that I will die? Where am I going?”
We enhance our happiness when we start living more mindfully.
Work on yourself.
Sit still and listen to your inner voice.
Be true to yourself.
Do what makes you come alive.
Do what you like and like what you do.
Let go of the need to win.
“I don’t believe we are these miserable animals wired to maximize self-interest. I think that actually goes against our nature and causes us a lot of pain.” ~ Josh Radnor
“… [It is] an insane philosophy: ‘gotta keep everybody separated, gotta compete against each other, whoever is the winner gets the toys and the spoils…’ and I believe you guys are in a culture that is depressing your authenticity, your creativity, it’s putting you against each other, and it’s up to you guys to birth a new culture.” ~ Tom Shadyak
We blame society, but we are society.
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– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”
– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”
– “Silent Peace Walk”