Lifestyle Enhancement #4:
[WEALTH/FINANCES/MONEY] I have enough money to cover my basic expenses in addition to saving for my retirement. I manage my money well and feel in control of how I spend it.
Money is such a loaded issue. So many people are convinced that it is the key to their happiness. If only they had more money, could afford to buy a bigger house, take an extravagant vacation or go shopping every week, they would finally be happy.
Well, I’ve got to tell you – that’s a crock. Money, in itself, does not have that much power. Yes, our society trades on money and if you had more money you could certainly buy more stuff and do more things. But none of that has anything to do with your basic level of satisfaction in life.
Getting more stuff and doing more things might help you mask your feelings about your life, but it will never help you to feel a deep level of satisfaction and fulfillment each and every day.
There are loads of examples of people who have achieved a deep level of happiness even though they live near the poverty line. Then there are others who leave their lucrative careers to pursue ones that are closer to their heart but barely generate enough income to cover their basic expenses.
So many people spend the best years of their lives praying to win the lottery or working feverishly to earn six-figures that they never take into account that they are wasting their lives away on something that will never provide them the most basic level of true happiness.
Of those who do win the lottery or finally achieve that coveted level of income, many report that as a result they lost those things that meant the most to them – their relationships with their family and friends.
I don’t play the lottery because I don’t want to “win” money. I know it won’t bring me the true happiness that comes with liking who I am and living a life that reflects my truest desires and passions. Money just makes you more of who you are. If you aren’t happy now, you’re not going to be happy with more money.
At its most basic level, money is only needed for covering our domestic expenses and providing for our futures when we’ll no longer be able to earn an amount sufficient to provide for ourselves. Beyond that, it can enable us to do and buy things that we’ll enjoy, but those things are not the key to our true happiness.
Money, in itself, is just an object. It takes on whatever meaning you assign to it. If you value money as a status symbol or as a reflection of how important you are, you force yourself into the role of either the victim (your lack of money rendering you powerless) or the victor (money being the basis for your feelings of power).
If you give money that much power to determine your level of happiness, you’ll wish your life away always wanting more and seeking it out as if it is the answer to your dissatisfaction or lack of fulfillment. And, you’ll base your continued level of satisfaction on your ability to maintain and expand upon your financial status.
What most people never realize or acknowledge is that money is just another form of energy. We exchange money - as one form of energy - for other forms of energy (products someone made, services someone renders, ideas/expertise someone provides, or talents someone shares).
We give our energy to some person or workplace in exchange for money. The money we earn only has value insomuch as it can be exchanged for other forms of energy that others willingly give us for a specific portion of our money.
Of course, earning enough to not only cover your expenses but also to take exotic trips, visit the spa, buy a luxury car, or eat at trendy restaurants is desirable. These are things that we would very likely enjoy. But don’t confuse the enjoyment of a time-bound experience with the true and lasting day-to-day happiness that has no basis in the amount of money you earn or possess but purely in your perspective on life.
Here’s the bottom line – after you’re earning enough to cover your basic needs, you have the power to choose whether to be happy and satisfied with your life. If you decide to give the power for that decision away to how much money you have, you’re choosing to be a victim of your own mindset.
Money doesn’t have the power to make you happy – that power belongs to you. Money is the icing on the cake that can only enhance the happiness you’ve already got.