An Instagram post asked this question “Can money buy happiness?” Well above 95% of the responders commented “Yes”. I started wondering what people smoke these days!! But then, there was this other post that I had come across, that was making a distinction between happiness and joy. I was intrigued when I had come across that post. Reason: I never knew the difference between the two. Being a non-native speaker of the Queen’s I wasn’t aware that there’s a distinction between the two. How are they different?
A quick search on your favorite search engine will help you with a list of websites that have already answered this for you. In short, happiness is that which is “in the moment”, it’s materialistic. Joy is its half-brother, the one that deals with peace and contentment, more of a long-term person. So, the question is? Can money buy any of these?
I’m not sure if the 95% of the responders who commented “Yes” on the post that posed this question in the first place knew the difference between happiness and joy. Most of them agreed on one thing though, that money can buy “things” that can make them happy. From a barbie doll to your favorite lollipop, from a Netflix show to spotting a celebrity, a trip to Disneyland or the taste of Masalae Puri.. That’s happiness. We relish it in the moment. Our career successes are momentary moments of happiness as well. Remember Will Smith asking “How did Thomas Jefferson know that happiness is something that we can only pursue, but never achieve?” in The Pursuit of Happyness? When he does get that job for which he worked hard, he announces that it was that moment when he earned it, when he felt that rush inside, felt the want to share this news to his closed ones, not being able to hold it within… that’s happiness. In that moment. Like the moment when your girlfriend proposes to you. That’s the moment of happiness. Can money buy happiness then?
Yes. Money can buy many of these, but not all. You can pay someone to propose to you, but will you feel the same as when it’s a real proposal? Will you feel the same if you bribe someone to get that promotion or position that you aspired for? You can certainly buy yourself a trip to even space these days, if you have money. But is Bill Gates happy right now, today? With Melinda not being around in his house, to complete his family? Is Jeff Bezos happy after having to pay out a record alimony to his ex-wife on divorce? Did money really bring happiness in such cases?
Splurge the money that you have, because you can always earn it back. There are ways to earn more and more. Everyone deserves to be happy. If you think you can buy it, then you should buy it. But then, don’t be under the impression that this buying of happiness will bring peace to you. For peace and contentment are at an altogether different level of happiness, something money can’t buy.
The more you have, the more you want. Bigger flat, better hikes, higher positions, faster cars, quality dress – our world has way too many ways to empty our pockets of what we earn with our hardwork. A single guy is looking for love. The one who has a girl, wants to move in together. The girl with a nice boyfriend wants him to fit into the 101 points in her checklist. Those living in, want to get married. And those that are married, want something else… May be kids, may be world tour. One is never content, that’s our innate nature. And if you’re not content, you’ll not be at peace with your own self. But then, that’s contradictory? Isn’t it?
Find peace, there are those who are really content, with very less in their hands. Ask parents their most joyous parts of their life and they’ll tell you that the courtship period and your own entry into their lives and all those years that zipped past their eyes, greying their hair while you were growing to be one arrogant, selfish kid wailing for PlayStations and dance-parties. Ask those who are landless, living life one day to the other, there’s a high chance they’ll tell you that money isn’t everything.
But then, this isn’t a post that’s sermonizing that joy is greater than happiness, that one shouldn’t pursue material success. We all have our lives, our ways. What works for me, may not work for you. If buying happiness really works for you, then that’s good for you.
For me, however, Joy > Happiness. Something that money just can’t buy.