Do you think true happiness is an inward thing or something that can only be attained by external sources such as other people material goods? it’s a complicated question really and this debate I guess goes on and on there is no debate for me it’s quite simple. In fact anybody who says money can buy happiness is not spending it right!
Okay that’s the first thing I think we have such a downer on money and people with money or people with lots of money. I will answer that question directly but the ‘money is the root of all evil’ thing could well be a part of your belief system like it was mine and it can be quite difficult to break out of belief systems as we’ve talked before. If it is then you’re always going to have this thing that it isn’t good to have too much money and you probably even feel guilty if you do have lots of money.
Some people feel guilty about erm about earning lots of money. As I said it’s about how you spend it. It is not about actually having money. Money in and of itself is not powerful. It’s what you do with it and I do believe in the Bible it doesn’t say, ‘money is the root of all evil’ it says the ‘love of money is the root of all evil ‘So let’s get that one out of the way.
Money IS the root of all evil – it is, if you believe it is. It’s as simple as that and I don’t because we see all the time the good that money can do and that’s the point I’m making about money can buy happiness if you spend it right .And by that of course if you spend it helping other people. it’s as simple as that. As my mother said there’s only two reasons to have lots of money one is to travel and one is to help other people .
That’s that one put to bed. um So in terms of material goods oh no let me talk about other people first. Obviously our relationships, I keep saying this are at the top of the list in terms of what’s going to help us to increase our happiness the most.
QUALITY relationships are important to us and therefore give us happiness. So other people can give us happiness. Loving other people and having other people love us back gives us happiness. What we have to be careful of is giving all our power to another person, giving our own power away to make ourselves happy and that’s the inward thing that we’re talking about here in this question, is about happiness from within and of course that’s what happy stuff and fluff is all about.
That’s what Stitch your own Silver linings is all about that’s what the gratitude exercises about all of those things are things that you do that give you happiness from within and once you have done that, once you’ve built that kind of strong core of being able to create your own happiness, that then helps you to be able to love another person you know that, the saying you can’t love someone else unless you love yourself and so on Happy stuff and that’s the bit to a concentrating on getting you in the right place.
from your belief systems your thoughts and so on to enable you to then go out and have healthy relationships but not depend totally on other people to create your own happiness.So that’s that. Now material goods, do they bring happiness?
well I know this is not going to be popular but I think yes they do. However let me just read obviously is such a big subject this but just let me read what I say in the book – material goods in again in and of themselves don’t necessarily make you happy.
If you think back to the 1950s for example when people had very little in comparison to what they have now in terms of material wealth and yet we are ten times more depressed today than we ever were in the 1950s and we are obviously financially better off so that kind of knocks that one on the head. Income ha reason along with the standard of living and our lives have become much easier much easier but we are not happier now than we were back then. Gosh I think somebody needs to clean their glasses.
In terms of accumulating material goods for status or as toys or to try to create our happiness through material goods is not going to work. Again I talked all about that in Stitch your own Silver Linings we talk about what we do know that makes us happy and it isn’t your circumstances.
After you’ve earned a certain amount of money that’s going to pay your bills and give you food your happiness level does not increase correspondingly to the amount of money you have and you’d be surprised at how little that is I think it’s probably £40,000 a year in the UK obviously a little bit higher than that in the States but after that your happiness doesn’t rise if you earn millions of pounds.
Again we talked about lottery winners who obviously get lots of money – although I must admit I do find it irritating when I see again forgive me for saying this but lots of celebrities or lots of wealthy people telling us that money’s not going to give you happiness, I think that can be a little bit condescending.
When I say material goods CAN bring you happiness they bring you they can bring you pleasure but because of adaptation we very quickly adapt to what we buy and then we need bigger and better and that’s the problem .
The material goods I’m talking about are things of beauty – artworks, sculpture things that you have in your home that you enjoy looking at that give you pleasure to look at. Now we know that pleasure is fleeting but an object of beauty, the pleasure you get from an object of beauty – from a flower, personally I never adapt to that.
I have never adapted to the beauty of flower I don’t take that for granted. There are certain paintings I have there’s a huge photograph that hangs in my lounge that I that gives me pleasure every time I look at it. It lifts my spirits.
Now what we have to do with pleasure because pleasure is fleeting is to prolong it so savor that pleasure and you can do that by, if you for example have a an ornament or a sculpture of some kind on a table that you love then move it around keep moving it around. You see it in a different way. You see in a different way you prolong the pleasure that that item is giving to you that kind of pleasure is part of happiness.
As I said pleasure itself is fleeting but it does come under the umbrella the overall umbrella of happiness I think. So it is a part of happiness and in that sense material goods bring me joy. Little things in my house bring me joy and bring me happiness. Acquiring goods for status, acquiring goods because you’ve got so much money you don’t know what to do with and so you keep buying more and more and then move on and buy bigger and better – it’s that kind of and I suppose that’s tying back into then the love of money that’s the problem.
Not necessarily money itself so in terms of material wealth. you know in the book in Stitch Your own Silver Linings, I talk about the fact that when I first started to talk about these issues my son Josh said to me – No, you are wrong. If I had a brand new Ferrari in my drive I would be very happy and of course yes he would be – for how long? S
ix months possibly he’d enjoy the status it gave him, of people looking at his car or thinking he must be Mr. Big or whatever it would give him for a certain length of time but then in order to achieve that same gratification he would need to change the Ferrari and get a bigger better car. Okay once you’ve learned to create your own happiness from within and you know what your meaning and purpose is and you know how to create that happiness and contentment yourself, then get the Ferrari if you’ve got the money.
You know it’s if you are attached to that because that’s the only thing that’s going to give you happiness so that if he then lost the Ferrari for some reason what would happen to him then? You know it’s this comes back to the Buddhist principle of being able to let go and not be attached to material goods and I think that’s the key point and I’m speaking here as a person who has completely lost a business and everything that went with it , all the wealth that went with that, not my home fortunately but the cars the holidays the nannies, all of those things lost them all and started again.
Now, that feels like. It won’t happen again because if today I lost everything I own then I know without a doubt it’s not going to change my deep core sense of happiness and self-worth. Now I know it’s a complicated subject and doing it in five ten minutes is a very difficult thing to do.
That’s why I wrote the book that’s why I’m writing a course at the moment to you know to talk about this in more depth but for now that question do you think true happiness is an inward thing or something that can only be attained by external sources eg other people and material goods I think you’ve got to get the sense of inner happiness first, spend money wisely and then enjoy the things that money that you’ve presumably earned and worked for can give you.
I bet quite a few of you disagree with me there that’s okay I love to hear your comments tell me what you think. Any experiences you’ve had that bear one thing out or another I’d love to hear it that would be great and next week I’m going to continue I think with the question and answer because I like you to get to know me a little bit better in that respect and until then remember that on the happy stuff and fluff we are getting happy and growing younger. thank you for sending that question in keep sending your questions in because I do want to do a part three at some point until then, I’ll see you soon.