"If you have an apple, and I have an apple and we exchange apples then we both still have one apple. If you have an idea, and I have an idea and we exchange ideas then we both have two ideas." George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Money Doesn't Buy Happiness, But it Enables it

    There's a common adage that says that money can't buy happiness.  Earning large amounts of money won't bring happiness.  Saving large amounts of money, as Ebenezer Scrooge of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol did, won't bring happiness.  However if money is not used to enable happiness then it is really of very little value.
     There is of course money's usage to provide the necessities of life, but I don't think there is any real discussion there.  At least not one I'm interested in.  I'm more interested in how money can be used for good and to bring about happiness.  In the last year or so I've adopted a philosophy of "it's only money".  I have had opportunities to help others achieve happiness and the only real barrier to me was time and money.  By saying "it's only money" I mean that there was really no reason I shouldn't have used money at those times.  I am quite capable of getting more money.  As Charlie's grandfather says in Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory": "There's plenty of money in the world.  They print more of it everyday."
     One of those experiences occurred when I was faced with a choice of going home for a family event or staying in Logan where I lived.  I tried to justify to myself that I had recently been home and there was really no reason for me to go home again so soon.  After some thought I decided that family was more important and that it was worth sacrificing for.  I had the time and the money to do it, so I decided I should do it.
     Another experience was with a cousin of mine who was struggling a little financially.  I owed her gas money and when I found out that she really needed it because she was waiting for her paycheck to come and needed food I gave her the rest of the money in my wallet.  It wasn't much, but it helped her.  I reasoned that I had it and she needed it.  It felt good to be able to help her out.
     More recently I came across a game that my brother enjoys playing and so I went and bought it.  I enjoyed the game as well and thought that if it was something I could do with my brother and that he could do with the rest of our family, then it was more than worth it.
     In all of those cases money didn't buy happiness, but it enabled it.  When I made the trip home or when I played that game with my brother I created memories, and built relationships.  When I helped out my cousin, I was able to serve her, and as King Mosiah teaches: "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of you God"
     Money can mean many things to many people.  To some it is power.  To others it is stability. And to still others it is simply a means of providing necessities and sustaining life.  To me, money's greatest value comes when it is used in the service of others; in enabling happiness.

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