Money and happiness – A contrarian perspective

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authored, with loads of love & thought, by Pranjali Pratik

I have a few questions for you today.

  • What does money mean to you?
  • What is your relationship with it like?
  • Do you think you have enough?
  • How much is enough anyway?
  • Are you a saver, or a spender, or a bit of both?
  • Does money have the power to make you happy?

If you are able to answer these questions immediately and the answers make you feel content, well done! You are on the right path, my friend. But if a few of them tripped you up, let me offer a couple beautiful nuggets:

“Money’s greatest intrinsic value – and this can’t be overstated – is its ability to give you control over your time.”

The Psychology of Money, Morgan Housel, 2020

“The farmer is trying to solve the problem of livelihood by a formula more complicated than the problem itself.”

Walden, Henry David Thoreau, 1854

Two books, written centuries apart, interestingly offer very similar answers to the questions posed above. Money is supposed to be the tool that allows us the freedom to do interesting things with life – whatever our hearts truly desire. Somewhere along the way though, we begin to associate our worth with the money we make. But it’s not always money that counts towards our life’s riches.

A contrarian perspective about money is the need of the hour for a lot of us.

If you are not happy doing the job that you do, a paycheck of 5 lakhs, 10 lakhs, 30 lakhs, isn’t going to be what brings you satisfaction. But if you make the same 10 lakhs, and continue playing in that band you started with your friends, or are able to spend time writing stories like you always wanted, or are able to realize your dream of having dinner with your parents and kids at the same table – these experiences enrich our lives in a way that money can not buy.

This is the idea that we have explored on our podcast, The Unlearning Playground in Episode 13.

We discuss similar ideas in other videos on our podcast playlist on Jobs, Careers and Money.

More episodes on the same theme coming soon!

“Money can buy a house, but not a home.
It can buy a bed but not sleep.
It can buy a clock, but not time.
It can buy a book, but not knowledge.”

– Unknown