If each of us ask ourselves, “how much money is good enough?”to lead a happy life, we may not give the same answer. Each of us try our best to be successful in life. Each of us define success in our own way. There is nothing right or wrong about our own definitions in life. After all, each of us have a way of defining success and happiness in life and have our own priorities.
As we grow in life and career, we work hard and put our best foot forward. We assimilate material wealth one by one as we gradually increase our purchasing power in life. We buy a two wheeler, a car, a house and so on. Every time, we think we have arrived in life, we dream for more. The needs increase and so does the greed. In my view, there is nothing wrong with this journey. We all have gone through it and so will the future generations.
However, it may be worthwhile to understand why this happens ? If you ask a college student, when she would settle and be happy in life, she may say, the day I get a job and settle down. If you ask a single working professional,when he wants to get married, he might say that the day I am able to stand on my own feet, I will. If you ask a newly married couple, if they have arrived in life, they would say yes the day they are blessed with a kid. If you ask a young mother, if she considers all her needs in life fulfilled, she may say yes the day her child finishes her schooling. Then, you may ask a middle aged parent, if he is happy, he may say the day his child finishes education, gets a job and gets married. This way the cycle repeats itself.
Does this mean that we are never happy in life ? Does this mean that nobody feels content with what they have ? It may or may not be true. It is human nature to seek more from life all the time. As I said, all of us go through this cycle of life. Some of us realize that this is an endless cycle sooner than others. It is this ability of fulfilling needs and balancing greed, which may help us to the road of happiness.
I remember I started my career with a meagre salary in 1981. I have grown in my professional and personal life. However, I did realize somewhere in my mid career years that happiness and wealth do not necessarily have a direct correlation. You could be happy in life with whatever you have or be unhappy in life with all that you dream to have and elusive today. Happiness is a state of mind. It’s an attitude to life and living. Happiness is derived from contentment and our ability to balance need and greed. We need to fulfill our needs and not our greed.
Hence, if I try to answer the same question today- ” How much in life is good enough ? ” – I would say that much, which fulfills all your needs. The day we can draw the line between need and greed and also learn to be content in life, we may be happy. Many a time, we wait for a tomorrow to be happy in life. That tomorrow may not arrive. It may be a good idea to enjoy today with whatever we have rather than regret waiting for that elusive tomorrow in life, which never arrives.
Like in the photo above, my wife was filled with joy after buying this attirein a road side shop in Cairo. It is not the brand or the price of the dress but the joy of being colourful and content with what you have.
The choice to be happy or unhappy is always with us. Enjoy today, forget tomorrow.
S Ramesh Shankar