Have you ever heard someone say, “If I only had _____ I would be happy?“ Have you ever said it yourself? I know I sure have, but it wasn’t until I started learning about becoming debt free that I realized why that was a huge misjudgment. Like me, many people have made the mistake of thinking money is going to buy them happiness, when really it’s just our way of trying to satisfy the unsatisfiable. It sort of reminds me of a cheesy love story from the 80’s called Can’t Buy Me Love. I consider love to be happiness, and I know for a fact you can’t buy that. If you had to buy it, it sure wouldn’t be love that’s for sure.
Fun, however, can be bought – just like a politician!
Regardless of what you may think, fun and happiness are quite different. People should have fun, and even buy it when they can, but when you confuse it with happiness, you may be missing the bigger picture. Fun is nice. Go on a 10-day trip to Europe, take a cruise, visit an amusement park, go see a movie, but don’t think for one second that it’s where happiness resides. Happiness comes from a completely different place, and it cannot be bought. Happiness is family, love, contentment, and financially it is debt freedom. Money is not happiness, but it sure is a lot of fun!
If you go around trying to buy happiness you will find that there will always be “one more thing” to buy in order to achieve it.
- If I only had a *better house* I’d be happy.
- If I only had a *newer car* I’d be happy.
- If I only had the *newer model* I’d be happy.
- If I only had the *60′ Plasma* I’d be happy.
So as you can see, chasing happiness with money will only result in a cycle that will continue on to the *next best thing*. There will always be something else you can buy to “fill that void”, but what if you were happy with what you had?
Chasing contentment will give you much greater satisfaction.
Seeking contentment in your life will provide a better chance at achieving happiness, not to mention a greater sense of freedom. Being happy with what you have is just like already having everything you want. Go have some fun, and you can even spend some money on it, but don’t expect it to make you happy. Fun goes away after a short period of time, but happiness can last forever.
I admit that temptation can sometimes cloud our judgment, it certainly gives me some trouble from time to time, but all it takes is a mental slap in the face for me to realize that I am chasing something I could never buy with money. Sometimes I’ll still buy it, but at least I was able to see it for what it really was — some fun! Are you chasing happiness, or are you just having some fun?
Can you recall a specific time when you caught yourself chasing happiness with money? What was it, and what made you come to your senses? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Brad Chaffee blogs over at Enemy of Debt – one of my all-time favorites out there. The passion this guy spews is incredible :) You better not like debt if you click on over though, he’s pretty hardcore…
(Photo by irina`)
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PS: If you don't trust yourself with another credit card, ignore this! This strategy is to help you get out of debt quicker, not risk adding more to it.