Power, Money, Happiness: Why You Can’t Have All Three
Our new generation has dramatically changed. The perception of what we desire to achieve overshadows our ultimate purpose. Some work the ranks of power, some chase money at all costs, and more importantly, some forget the true meaning of happiness: love.
What is your ultimate goal in life? Do you want to become President of the United States and the most powerful person on the planet? Or is your aim in life to join the billionaires’ club and become part of the wealthiest elite in the world so every materialistic object is at your leisure? There’s nothing wrong with, either, just the moral aptitude you choose to accomplish each.
These are aspirations many people have. Or maybe they’ll settle, instead, for becoming a governor and not president; or CEO of a Fortune 500 company and not a Top Ten company; or maybe becoming a simple multi-millionaire instead of a billionaire. Either way, these goals are all fixated on measuring success through the accumulation of power and money.
My take is that you can acquire all of the power and financial fortune this world has to offer, but it doesn’t necessarily give you the biggest prize of all: your ultimate happiness. In fact, all of the negative energy directed towards gaining power or money or both can make you downright lost. I consider all three attributes a form of currency. Power is something driven by your ego’s desire, money driven by your materialistic needs, and love driven by your passion for others.
The Ego Warriors
Look at the Machiavellian politician Frank Underwood so ably played in the “House of Cards” drama by Kevin Spacey. Consider the ego of this vengeful man and the extremes to which he is willing to go to achieve the highest office in the land. Once he gets there, he may truly be satisfied, but the question remains: Is he really happy? And if you think that show is mere fiction, let me be the first to tell you from my own experience, it’s not – that’s real life.
Then there are folks that will acquire currency at all costs and who fall into the same mold. In their aggressive climb up the ladder, in the satisfaction of their own ego, they don’t care who they demean and denigrate on their way to the top. They conduct business in an immoral, even demonic way. They chase profit over compassion. They chase greed over ethics.
They watch, wait, but leave their moral compass behind to gain the currency they always wanted at all costs. It doesn’t bother them that they routinely jeopardize the livelihood of others. Result: Happiness never shines light over darkness. Karma just won’t let that happen.
What Money Can’t Buy
Money does matter. It’s a form of currency that quantifies what you can buy in life. But, as the Beatles famously sang back in 1964, “Money can’t buy you love and money can’t buy happiness, either.”
Just this past week, I was in a grocery store and overheard a personal dilemma between a family. I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation they were having about what groceries they could afford to purchase when they had a cracked window that really needed replacing. They couldn’t do both. That’s when they were deciding what to put away from the counter. It struck a real chord with me because it brought flashbacks of what my family went through when I was a child.
We went through the same dilemma, counting our coupons and money just to make sure we had enough to pay the final amount. That’s the way I was raised — struggling to make ends meet. My folks made tough decisions like that all the time. There were seven of us in a one-bedroom place in a bad part of town. And money was tight. But, the love we shared was infinite.
So, what really struck me was — in spite of their financial problems — you could feel the love and affection that this family obviously had for each other. You can measure power by ego, you can measure wealth by numbers, but one thing you can’t measure is the power of love; you can only feel it.
Belief and Choice
Don’t get me wrong. There’s absolutely nothing wrong, of course, with making money honorably — with making lots of money based on honesty and integrity — driven by your moral compass at all times. We all have choices to make from the first day we become able to think for ourselves. Belief is inside all human beings. We can believe in our abilities and ourselves; we can believe in the power of love; we can believe in happiness as being the ultimate achievement in our lives.
As an ancient native proverb goes: One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is Good.
It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Photo credit: House Of Cards