People have fantasized for millennia that massive amounts of wealth can solve all of life’s problems. While this isn’t true, let’s not pretend that money isn’t important. Folks with higher income levels typically live in safer neighborhoods and have access to better health care, education, and nutrition. If we solely invest our time and energy in the relentless pursuit of wealth, we’ll miss out on the great abundance that life has to offer. Greed for the “almighty dollar” can restrict us from pursuing the things that truly move our heart.
We cannot go to the store and purchase happiness; its origins are only accessible from within. We become happy when we are fulfilled, when we live with meaning and purpose, when we remain true to ourselves and our values. While financial wealth can and does contribute to happiness, it is less of a driver and more of a common side effect of living lives characterized by honesty, integrity, and good decision-making.
Poverty & Wealth
Poverty often leads to distress and misery. While lazy habits can perpetually derail us from living our best lives, poverty itself is not a static condition. With faith and commitment, we can dedicate our souls to any learning process, continuously improving and building ourselves up. As our value to the marketplace increases, it’s important that we aren’t driven by greed. The happiness derived from the amount of wealth accumulated follows a law of diminishing returns; once we have a reached a certain threshold of earnings, we’ll find that the correlation between more money and more actual happiness is only a mirage. Regardless of socioeconomic status, greed can infiltrate integrity, undermine our values, and cause unhappiness.
Consequences of Greed
American philosopher, Erich Fromm, wrote, “Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy a need without ever reaching satisfaction.” Greed can lead to stress, exhaustion, loneliness, and depression. Never satisfied, we fail to appreciate what we have. Backstabbing behaviors associated with trying to take more than our fair share typically result in fewer friends, more enemies, and compromised inner peace. Unethical shortcuts for financial gain can result in prison… and death.
Teaching Children to Not be Greedy
Remember, dad sets the standard for our household. As we encourage children to earn and teach them to manage their finances, remind them that while money is important, it is far from everything. During the holidays, promote the reason for the season by getting children involved in the gift-giving process—teach that celebration isn’t only about receiving gifts—but about giving them too!
The Greek philosopher, Plato, said, “The greatest wealth is to live content with little.” Once we have a certain amount of money, the benefits enjoyed by each additional dollar received grow smaller in proportion. When we focus too much effort on money, this tunnel vision can create barriers to true happiness. Humans are usually part Scrooge and part Robin Hood; luckily for Old Ebenezer, he saw the folly of his ways before it was too late.
“Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!” —Ecclesiastes 5:10 NLT
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PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Fathers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist.