Does Money Buy You Happiness?

Please take a look at my recent exploratory paper I got the pleasure of writing a few weeks ago. I hope you enjoy.

 

“Fetch me my jimmy choo flip flops, Where is my pink prada tote?  I need my tiffany hair band, And then I can go for a float.”  Most of you probably recognize this these famous lyrics from High School Musical’s “Fabulous”.  In Sharpee’s case all of these things give her happiness.  We all aspire to be great in life.  We all dream of having a beach house, a Ferrari, and a giant pool in the back of our huge house.  But to have all these luxuries, you need one thing, money.  Money just doesn’t buy you all the fancy things in life, it also buys you power and respect.  Power and respect are both things you earn from working hard.  Obviously, if you are rich, you have put in hard work into your job and it has paid off greatly.  Say you’re a millionaire, you have much much more power than a middle class man or women making only a 5 digit salary.  Think about it, everything you do costs money.   Money is essential to living a happy, healthy life and in society today we see people around us who are unmotivated/unwilling to work for more money or simply don’t value the worth of money.  Today I’ll be talking about how money enhances happiness, the effects of consumerism on our society, and simple solutions to make us value earning money.

 

Money is a very powerful motivator.  You want to be able to provide and give the best lives possible to your family, your loved ones, and also yourself.  There are many things in life that bring us happiness. Often times these things become a priority in our lives.  Relationships, faith, and other activities we spend large amounts of time on tend to be the areas in our lives that bring us the most happiness.  Some of these require money while others are simply enhanced by it.  Take for example, relationships.  No amount of money will ever buy true love and happiness, but money is necessary for some relationships.  In relationships such as dating and marriage money also brings happiness. Who doesn’t like being taken out on a date and being treated to a nice dinner?  This money isn’t what is buying the relationship but it buying experiences between two people.  The role as a parent to a child relies on monetary income. Without being able to provide a child with food, proper shelter, and in some cases education, a child will grow up in conditions that set them behind in life.  Immediately from birth they will be unhappy and need better conditions to survive.  With sufficient money, a parent will be able to give a child everything they need and even extra time because they will not be out working extra jobs, trying to scrape together enough to pay rent.  Also, they will be able to afford to send their children off to college and get a good education, so in the future they will be able to do the same for their kids.

 

Many people see faith as separate from monetary or physical belongings.  But the truth is, money also has its roots in religion.  Growing up, anyone who has been part of some sort of faith is preached to be charitable.  This in essence means to give both time and money to be able to provide for the less fortunate.  Money in this situation may buy your own happiness.  Many feel good about themselves if they are giving money to a good cause.  In this scenario, you are literally buying someone things they need to survive.  Much of the money given go to missions that gives deathly poor people food and shelter to survive.

 

Consumerism raises its head in many ways in our society.  Just a couple of weeks ago the major news was the Powerball lottery had hit 500 million dollars.  Many people were dreaming of the what if’s.  If only I had the winning numbers I could change my life.  Not only that but I could change the lives of my friends and family.  As the post-Christmas credit card bills roll in, most of us would say that a little more money wouldn’t go amiss.  The emphasis on consumerism inclines every year during Christmas time.  Every commercial, poster, or billboard is promoting one of their latest, greatest, and newest products they hope every parent has wrapped under the tree for their child on Christmas morning.  This relates back to money buying happiness because when the consumer buys the product, they become happy because of their purchase and the companies become happy that they are selling their products and making a profit.

We all have those items that we say we “need”, like “I need those shoes”, “I need that new video game”, or “I need to go on a vacation”.  Those things are not what you need in life, but what you want.  I don’t know about you, but when I finally get the new pair of shoes I’ve been wanting I can’t help but feel so happy and so excited to show them off to everyone.  On vacation, people bond with friends and family, see new places, learn new things, and create new memories that’ll last a lifetime.  Without money, you are unable to feel and experience certain emotions, like the excitement of days leading down for your departure of your vacation, or the feeling of joy after smelling your brand new sneakers.  Of course there is more to life than going on vacations and buying all the wants in your life.  But just think about it, how happy would you be if you only had the things you needed in life?

I think our society today does not value the worth of a dollar bill, what the dollar bill can do for you, the opportunities are endless.   According to The Guardian, “Money is the biggest source of anxiety for people.”   Money just doesn’t buy you all the materialistic things in life, it also buys you confidence, a peace of mind, comfort, and not the stress of tossing and turning through the night wondering how you’re going to scrape together money to be able to pay for your bills.   These goals are very easy to achieve if you work hard and put your mind to what you want your future to look like.  We prefer to copy someone’s homework rather than take 20 minutes to do it ourselves, we would rather drive our cars down the street rather than walk, we’d rather lay in bed all day than go to school and get an education.    This is where all the laziness starts and will continue to grow and grow in the future.  Our generation has become lazy and unwilling to put in work to be successful, simply as that.

Most people spend considerable time wishing they were earning more, but not very much time thinking about why they deserve to earn more.  There is one foundational habit that you need to develop if you want to make as much money possible.  No matter what you’re doing, you should always ask yourself:  Am I just working or am I adding value?  Many people confuse the two concepts and we have a tendency to look at their lives in terms of how much work they’ve done.  Many people tend to try to walk the line of providing only as much value as will keep them from getting fired from their job and think they’ve done themselves a favor.  They don’t want to give a penny more value than they feel they’re being paid for.  This is where we fail in terms of hard work.  People just always do the minimum of what they’re asked and won’t do an inch more.  The key here is to think long term of what your career will look like 20-30 years from now, not simply reaching for the immediate gratification you can receive by putting in the bare minimum to get your paycheck.  Overall, you will probably get paid in proportion to the value you add to your job, so the harder you work the better paycheck you will receive in the end.  So, if you want to be successful in your career you need to add value, hard work, and time into your job to not only be successful with the numbers, but also feel a sense of accomplishment within yourself.

Money is crucial to living a happy, healthy life and today I explained to you all why this I believe this.  Money enhances your happiness by providing you with a good education, the ability to provide for your family, and the new experiences you’ll find during your life. Consumerism plays a major role in our lives because we all do want to go on those extravagant vacations and have the newest iPhone each year.  The ways you are able to achieve your goals are simple, work hard, do more than the bare minimum, and add value to your craft.  So does money make us happier?  Yes.  We need enough to cover our basic needs, and a big enough salary to support our families, but we also need to remember the positive effects of generosity and building relationships. So, our focus should be less on how much money we have, and more on how we use it.

#ForTheKids

As hard as writing is for me, some things just flow easily. When it came to my exploratory paper, the guidelines of this paper were a bit sporadic for me while the topic itself came to mind quickly.

The kids. The kids of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

In my opinion, one of the greatest things that God could’ve granted for these amazing kiddos. I could go on and on about these kids who need every last bit of hope and prayer. These families that are there for their kids are struggling to find the energy and smiles to get up every morning and tell themselves it will get better. This horrible disease that kills thousands every year will miraculously leave their child’s body and never come back. Cancer that is. The leading cause of death and one of the most painful experiences to watch someone go through. Now days it is so rare to find someone that hasn’t been affected by cancer within their family or someone they knew.

I was able to express everything I knew and got to research and learn about St. Jude and put it all in a short six page paper. I wouldn’t have changed my topic or the wonderful things I got to read and write about for the world.

Keeping this short and sweet as this topic can get, I encourage you to donate to organizations like St. Jude. Let’s find a cure for these kids and for everyone that has been or will be affected by cancer.

Superman and Me

Superman and Me is a short story written in 3rd person by Sherman Alexie. It is in the point of view of an Indian man who shares his story about growing up. It begins with his Superman comic book that he remembers nothing about, only that he would stare at the pictures and guessed what the sentences were by how many words were written. He learned how to read by doing this repetitively with his fathers’ books. His father was a great reader and writer from going to a Catholic school. It was very rare for an Indian to go to a Catholic school, therefore only a few went from his reservation. He was so smart in fact he compares himself reading “Grapes of Wrath” to other children struggling to read “Dick and Jane.” This little Indian boy could’ve been considered a prodigy if it was outside of the reservation.

            He had claimed that Indians weren’t supposed to be smart and if they were they were considered dangerous and feared by. The other students would yell at him for answering the teachers’ questions because he was so smart that they couldn’t even get a chance. He said he would read at any time of the day, any time he could. The writer then fast-forwards to the present time claiming that he is still in awe with the fact that he is a writer and not a pediatrician like he had planned. In hopes of teaching the Indian reservation school system about literature and writing, kids crowd his classroom daily writing their own poetry, short stories, and novels; reading his books, many other books, and with bright eyes and wonder of what’s more. In defeat, there are still children out there who carry neither a pen nor pencil, no book, no desire to find what is more and save the brilliance within their reservation.

            There is nothing I love more than ending with a few questions that will keep readers thinking. What would you predict to happen next? Do you think changing this one reservation could change all of the others? If one person can change the lives of a whole reservation what could a whole reservation do to change the world? Who is the superman in this story… the comic book that allowed him to begin this journey or the writer himself?

“In A Camp of Migratory Pea Pickers”

Looking at the image “In a camp of migratory pea pickers” by Dorothea Lange my first thought and feeling was sadness. This photo was taken in 1936 and was often the time of drought for migration. You can see the sadness in her eyes while her and her three children are sitting on the road most likely starving. The woman, who is more than likely the mother, is looking out into a daze with filthy hands and raggedy clothes on herself and her children. I believe that in this photo the family would be waiting for the father (the man and provider of the house) to be bringing back food. This piece is very moving and allows us to feel compassionate not only towards this family, but other families that were also going through this hardship during this time period.

The focal point of this piece is the face of the mother, then surrounding with the children next to her with their faces turned around. You notice that they are small children, like toddlers, and then it takes a moment to see the baby in her arm. Once you see the picture as a whole you feel the heartache and agony that this whole family is encountering on the streets. The photo being black and white has little hue but much value, and since your eyes are drawn directly to the mother at first glance that is meaning that she has the most value and the most saturation concentrated on her.

I believe that the more individuals who encountered this photo the more awareness we could bring to the topic. Starvation was not just a problem in 1936 but is also an ongoing problem still happening today. If you feel the desire to help out there is more than one way to do so, but to start here is a link listed below for the World Food Programme:

https://give.wfp.org/?step=country&utm_source=2013-wfp-billion&utm_campaign=2013-wfp-billion&utm_medium=legacy