Last week’s blog post – MythBusters Episode 10: Money Can’t Buy Happiness sparked more controversies than Adolf Hitler has in the last 70 years. Well basically, Hitler is dead and here I am following the opposite of his legacy – writing amazing life-changing blog posts with poop jokes that bring people together for an epic intellectual gangbang.

Read: MythBusters Ep.10: Money Can’t Buy Happiness

Photo courtesy yours truly, DrC

For the record that entry is officially the most read post in the MythBusters series(Stat count: 962 views). What’s more, I received a ton of comments, emails, and WhatsApp texts regarding the topic. A big bear hug to everyone who commented. Interestingly, some recurring questions and statements common to most of the feedbacks were:

  • If money can buy happiness, why aren’t people always happy even with enough?
  • Can we say for a fact the richest people in this world are the happiest?
  • Happiness is a state of the mind, so you can have little and be content which means you can be poor and happy.

Brilliant feedback mon amis. Although I aimed to shed light on some of these in the previous post. I was left with a horrible throaty-feeling I didn’t do it enough justice. So here is my not so sober take on your feedbacks. Let’s provide an epic conclusion once and for all.

Jesus Christ made rich friends and dined with the rich(Mat 9:9-13). Although Jesus had poor friends, he used the rich to help the poor.

Dr. E.K.P. kwARKO

TO WHAT EXTENT DOES MONEY IMPACTS OUR HAPPINESS?

Let me reiterate this fact: Money isn’t definitely the most important thing in the world. However, I am beyond doubt convinced the impact of money pertaining to achieving happiness in our lives is in gaining of choices. Your whole life is bound to change with that cocaine rush feeling- you begin to see needs and wants you didn’t realize you had. Don’t lie- haven’t your taste buds mutated all of a sudden per an increase in your finances? The luxury of having a larger pool of options and choices is what money brings and this has a huge impact on your happiness.

Strangely I have come to realize, after fulfilling the basic needs per Abraham Maslow’s Theory Of Needs- food, clothing, shelter and warmth, the impact of money on our happiness has a progressively lesser impact. And even this is subjective. Let me explain.

Imagine you’re a business associate on say Ghc 1 million salary. A 3% per cent pay rise isn’t really going to move the happiness dial for you enormously. Yet for someone on Ghc 1,000 per month, to get an additional Ghc 5,000 per month which is 4 times what he usually earns, you would almost certainly agree, that cash would have a bigger impact. Their housing options would change, their ability to support children would be enhanced, they could afford better medical care and spot a hotter girlfriend. Just saying.

In summary, excess money after a certain threshold will have a progressively lesser impact on your “happiness”.

DRC

WHAT THE HELL IS H-A-P-P-Y?

A key with Happiness tag

Think about it. How can we really have happiness when we truly don’t really understand what it is? So I went online to dig up some definitions of happiness. These few caught my eye.

Happiness is a feeling, not a thought.

finding joy within: Tsetsewaa(blogger)

Happiness  is a state of well-being and contentment.

MERRIAM-WEBSTER DICTIONARY

While these definitions are cool in their own ways, I think I have big problems with them in many subtle ways. Are content people happy? How do they prove their happiness through content to the world? Granted, sometimes back, I was just like you, following in the narrow mindedness of the dictionary’s definition of “Happiness”.

The problem is we basically see Happiness as an emotion. And that is fucked!

DR. C
WHY HAPPINESS AS JUST AN EMOTION DOESN’T REALLY WORK

Many in the world out there see happiness as a feeling. Say the word, and you can convince yourself you are happy. I tried this the last time I failed a major exam in medical school years back and trust me it was disastrous. Honestly, I couldn’t really convince myself I was happy. Fake smiles, reciting “you are a happy child of God Charles” a hundred times per day, yet the more I tried, the more I convinced myself I wasn’t really happy. This is what Mark Manson in his book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck calls The Feedback Loop from Hell. Did you see the remarkable thing I did with the “u” in fuck? I starred an f-bomb first time on my blog. Miraculous! There is still salvation for my sexy mind innit?

Okay, so yes your emotions are fucked. Christ! Take away f-bombs from my mind. Thousands will read this. See, I couldn’t stop typing fu-c-k no matter how much I tried. Why?

The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience

the feedback loop from hell, subtle art of not giving a f*ck by Mark manson

This is a total mind fuck, brethrens! Pursuing happiness(emotion) is like beating your meat during the dry season without lotion. It leaves you sore. Oops, bad joke! Trying so hard to be happy will leave you unhappy. Trying so damn hard to get what you want further reiterates the fact- you don’t have it! And this I have come to realize is what the problem with happiness is. We try so damn hard to be happy- buy the flashiest car, shag a record number of males(let’s assume this was meant for my female readers) and yet we still end up being unhappy.

Truth is your emotions and mine are flawed. And that is what makes us humans. We are irrational at best. We try to be logical, but we are driven by emotional biases. Emotions are just biological signals put in place by our 2.7 pounds grey matter to guide us. If signposts do give wrong directions when turned upside down, how much more your imperfect brain? Pursuing an emotion isn’t really a brilliant idea if you think Happiness is a feeling. Do you remember one thing in your past that brought you so much happiness but doesn’t anymore? Yes, your emotions are flawed. And happiness as an emotion isn’t the right perspective to have.

WHY CONTENT DOESN’T WORK: YOU WEREN’T DESIGNED THAT WAY.

Allow me to shine some light on your DNA code. You probably might unsubscribe from my blog but that’s fine, losing a modified chimpanzee isn’t much of a loss, is it? Millions of years ago before the Internet, Instagram models and Twitter came into being, our ancestors lived the most rugged and dangerous of lives. Every second was dangerous. Wild animals roamed the Earth like a plague waiting to wipe out you and I’s existence from living records. But you see, despite all the looming danger, our wild ancestors had to survive- they had to eat and feed others. They had to overcome all odds to survive and this meant taking a lot of risks. They were one failed hunting session from starvation. Resting on their laurels was bad business, they thought of other’s survival, unlike African politicians.

Wild men. How our happiness evolved.
Wild Wild Past.

To them, having enough never seemed like enough- it was risky and dangerous.

THAT ONE THING: LIFE’s BIGGEST LIE

Several millennia down the line, this trait has been ingrained deeply in our gene codes. We just can’t have enough at default. It is why I struggle to understand the lie people tell themselves – I am content. Stop it. Take a deeper look into your life, and you will realize, you aren’t really content. The desire for more is always buried in there. Maybe yours might not be money as is the topic discussed here but could be something else- fame, glory, the sense of being loved, the quest for desire. We don’t change.

THE BRILLIANT REASON WE DON’T EXPERIENCE TRUE HAPPINESS

I am saddened I never realized and wasn’t taught this- problems are inevitable. A lot of the issues many face concerning their happiness is problems! People, like myself, grew up thinking my life should be devoid of problems. Thus, I went a long way to avoid them and this led to a not really good end. Ask the husband who avoids problems with his wife by doing everything she asks- he is the worst of men alive.

Problems are a part of life. It never goes away. It is one of nature’s ways of making us obey one of its fundamental laws- Growth! You were designed to grow in totality(mind, body and soul) and what better way to do this than shit testing? Problems are a constant in life. They evolve from one form to another. Life will test you to the limits! We bargained for this eating a mystery fruit. But we in our own brilliant wisdom think otherwise. We notoriously avoid problems. This means you can have everything in life which includes money yet be unhappy – life will shit test you with problems.

WHAT TRUE HAPPINESS IS AND HOW TO GET IT.

Money in isolation won’t make you happy. As an illustration, we often see successful celebrities who earn huge amounts of money succumb to drug addiction. Some of these prima donnas probably didn’t know fame came with its own problems – 24hours paparazzi and absurd demands of the limelight. Money, in this case, is perhaps the enabler of self-destructive behaviour.

Money can be a means of reaching true happiness- the reason I think money can buy happiness. This brings us to what real happiness is:

Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of travelling.  


Margaret Lee Runbeck

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.

Dalai Lama

I totally love these definitions of Happiness. Instead of bottling what Happiness is, it gives a deeper dive and thoughtful meaning to what Happiness truly is. And this is where the beauty lies: Happiness is work-in-progress. It isn’t a station or milestone you reach and say hey I made it.

This is the reason the “One Thing Mentality” is flawed. You want something so bad only to get it and ask yourself- “is this what I really wanted?” Then like a fart, your happiness is gone. But taking happiness as a journey where we constantly solve the problems life throws us is true happiness.

Happiness then becomes a double-edged sword. An emotional byproduct that results from constantly solving problems by taking action.

dr. c

This removes the idea of “permanence of happiness” because problems never end. Happiness comes from solving problems. The keyword is “solving”. If you’re avoiding your problems or denying you have them in the first place, you are going to feel miserable. See, I failed spectacularly trying to convince myself to be happy by avoiding the fact that I had failed my exams.

To experience the true form of happiness, we need something to solve. It is the reason being idle is the worst thing you can do to yourself. Happiness is, therefore, a form of action- an activity, and not some touch-feeling that is passively bestowed upon you. How did you feel the last time you did what you love doing best? I sure damn think you were happy right? Right there is the emotional byproduct of taking some form of action.

Happy Children playing in a stream. Happiness in action

Look at this beautiful shot! These kids are happy if you will be honest. But look closely and you will realize, these kids are taking some form of action. They probably love playing in streams. It is in doing this, they are experiencing the emotional side of the double-edged sword of happiness.

CAN MONEY TRULY BUY HAPPINESS?

A happy kid pointing a finger. Happiness is a form of action
Photo Courtesy: Unsplash

After reading this post, you and I will admit money can be used as a means of solving a lot of problems.

Now, let’s tear apart the last question of “can we say the richest people in this world are the happiest”? Just like I mentioned earlier- not many people understand happiness this way. Many are still stuck with the “Life’s Biggest Lie” and the flawed idea of “permanence of happiness”.

One commenter asked: “Can we say Bill Gates is one of the happiest people on Earth”? Hey man, I could put my left testicle on the line and say I sure as hell can say Bill Gates will qualify as one of the happiest men on Earth. This amazing guy despite all his money is solving incredible problems in Africa with his Malaria vaccine funding. He will save millions of lives on this side of the planet.

Bill and Melinda Gates visiting Tanzania. Happiness for Tanzania children
Bill and Melinda Gates speak with, Neema Malachi Najwale, nurse in charge at the Mapinga Dispensary in Tanzania on June 24, 2011.

Can you say the same for the greedy depressed rich man in your village who only hoards his riches? Maybe I don’t know. Fuck him nonetheless.

THE END

Money can buy happiness however, focusing on using money to gain choices and solving problems is where I believe the potential exists for happiness to flourish.

DR. C

Summarize this into a 10 seconds TED Talk- Money can buy happiness!

Don’t read this alone. Let your dad, mom and all your friends read this. Tell them, to chill with the f-bombs – I have my amazing demons. Share this blog post everywhere, like it and share your thoughts in the comment section below.

NB: Hitler never got this opportunity. Don’t be a dickhead like him. Subscribe and let’s have an intellectual gangbang with protection of course.

Cheers, DRC

Feature Image: Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash. Shots taken on a trip in 2016 with World Vision to Sierra Leone.