Buying Happiness

“Master, all my life has been spent in poverty and in arranging basic amenities for my family. You talk of human happiness, but I believe if I had enough money I will be happy?” said one villager interrupting a conversation Master was having with a village elder.

Master, as was his wont, when he encountered anguished people blessed the man and then said “Let me tell you today about the relationship happiness has with money”.

“There are two kinds of factors, that contribute to human happiness. Those kinds whose absence contributes to happiness are called hygienic factors and second whose presence creates happiness are called joy factors. Now stress, lack of security, lack of control, poverty, noise are all negative or hygienic factors. Their presence causes unhappiness. However their absence, for example absence of stress, does not ensure happiness but merely that you now are no longer unhappy.

Happiness is only created by having lots of positive or joy factors. Relationships, activities that you really enjoy, work that engages your passion, kindness, sharing are all joy factors. More joy factors you have in your life more happy you are.

So best strategy to be happy is to minimize hygienic factors and maximize joy factors.

Now lack of money or poverty is a hygienic factor. It creates unhappiness. So if you are poor and your needs are not met, you are unhappy. However after you have enough money to meet your basic needs additional money does not create incremental happiness. You just adapt to whatever level of wealth you create. Unfortunately people without realizing that money is merely a hygienic factor, keep running after it with the mistaken belief, that it is a joy factor and more money they accumulate more happy they will become.

“So Master, money just removes resident unhappiness but does not create additional happiness, that’s what you are saying” The villager wanted to confirm.

“Yes, except in one condition where it does create happiness by becoming a joy factor” The master replied “when you share that money with others to help them remove their unhappiness.”

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