Priceless Success and Happiness

If you’re a material girl, like Madonna, you might think that happiness can be found in the things that money can buy.

Americans (as well as industrially advanced populations all over the globe) are programmed from the moment they breathe their first breath to desire the finer things in life. As an adult, it is fully ingrained in your being to equate certain material things with success and happiness, though the mix is a little different for each one of us. You’re likely to believe nice cars, a big fancy house, wearing garments and baubles made by designer labels, and a bank account with lots of zeros to the right of an integer are considered to be signs of success and happiness.

Then there is also the school of thought that is the total opposite, where people think that people who have a lot of material things are inherently bad people or evil. These folks are all over the map in their disgust of people who have much more than they do. You might find them saying,

  • The Bible says, “Money is evil”
  • How many bodies are hidden for the acquisition of their wealth?
  • How much does a person really need?
  • They have so much; they should give me some of their cache.
  • People are starving, yet they live in the lap of luxury
  • They are so selfish and narcissistic, they only think of themselves
  • It is an honor to be pure of heart and poor.
  • A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.

It’s as if these people want the nicer things in life but are reticent to acknowledge their own hidden desire and must demonize others who have what they believe is out of their reach or not within the realm of their possibility.

I remember a recording artist (I am not going to cite who, as there have been many, and I do not desire to engage in mudslinging or name calling) that was a struggling independent singer/songwriter who publicly put down successful artists signed to labels, claiming they had sold out or sold their souls to the devil for their success and fame. That is, until this particular artist was signed to a major label and selective amnesia set in, as if the words were never spoken.

The very same thing happens when a mediocre family experiences an unexpected windfall. One day, they’re putting all the haves down, while they are suffer through lives with all the other have nots, and they make their disapproval of the “one percent” well known. Then silently sneak off to greener pastures following hitting the big one (sung to the tune of the Beverly Hillbillies).

Even if you’re not living in a $50 Million home with a 90210 zip code, going to nightclubs with a $1,500 bottle of wine table minimum, or laughing it off when one of your kids pushes a Lamborghini off a cliff and into the drink for fun, doesn’t mean that your life is any less happy, or your are less successful. Because it’s true:

Success and happiness is not dictated by what you have.

Rather, success and happiness is found in the heart, and unfortunately, for the people who have the most money, it is often heard that their hearts are empty. We all can think of people who were at the peak of their income earning potential who have taken their lives. And it’s not because it’s the fashionable thing for rich people to do (though it does bolster the ideal of “live fast die young leave good looking corpse”). No, it’s usually because even though they had it all, they became painfully aware that all the money in the world does not have any value if your heart is empty.

Among those of us on a more spiritual journey, emphasis is placed on loving and focusing on our hearts. This is where true happiness lives, and is the vibration we seek to maintain for our lives. If you’re one of us, you do not put down others for what they have, instead to bless them and hope that one day they, too, can find deeper meaning in life and true love.

You may be attracting this kind of wealth to you. While it has yet to materialize, you find joy in the little things, for many things in our live are priceless. If you don’t believe me, watch someone with low income run into a burning building to retrieve something that may be more meaningful to them than their own life. Their priceless treasures might include photographs, letters, cherished mementos, or their beloved pet.

You may also be guilty of imbuing something intangible with such admiration, like poetry or a particular song. Or the priceless love-filled moments in time that are forever recorded in our memories, which allow us to relive that moment just by the mere thinking of it. Money cannot buy these things, nor can it replace them if they are lost.

Society has twisted us up and fouled up our priorities so badly that we become addicted to the sense of lack, focusing on the not having of a thing so much that we can find it difficult to focus on anything else, as we are overwhelmed by jealousy and a feeling of worthlessness. You might even catch yourself think, “If I only had” (fill in the blank) “then I would be happy.” Yet something inside you knows that things do not satisfy, they only leave you wanting other things.

Sure, we all desire to have life just a little bit easier, to have enough left over after paying the bills to reward yourself for all your hard work and dedication, but to acquire ill gotten gains may be too much a price to pay for you. So, you focus on your vibration, embrace you happiness quotient and remain open to receive the abundance that is in store for you.

Think on those things which are precious and priceless, and treasure these things because, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

Ask yourself what does success and happiness mean to you?

And remember, nothing is more precious than authentically true and loving friends, your family (as dysfunctional as it might be), your stellar and integrous character, your health and wellbeing.

Review your truly priceless things which you surround yourself with and have a joyous and grateful heart for having the things that few of the wealthiest people in the world could never have.

You are so blessed.

 

Is Materialism Blocking Your Efficacy?

What are people on the move doing to live a better life?

The people I find myself working with are the shakers and movers in society, yet while they are being highly successful at having an impact in the world we share with them, they are also taking the time to focus on the intimate details of their life. In doing so, I believe (and so do they) they gain far more meaning and enjoyment from all life has to offer.

What are some of the things these influential people doing to increase their efficacy and quality of life?

I find them spending time looking inside, digging up their pasts, exorcising their personal demons, finding new ways to increase love exponentially in their lives and decreasing (or eliminating) the negative influences that may loom in the areas surrounding their lives.

While that is somewhat vague, I find many of them seeing materialism from a different perspective and taking action to prevent materialism from blocking their efficacy, and you might like to give it a go, too.

They find themselves re-thinking their connection with material things. It’s as if, at some point, something clicks inside them and they see the high value of the things most valued by the world as less meaningful, and these material things lose their sheen when they no longer offer any degree of satisfaction. In some cases, a loathing emerges as they see these high fashion items as an immense con game. It doesn’t mean they stop playing the game altogether, but they are able to remove the false emotional connection to their former materialism.

If you want to see where someone’s heart is, take a look at where their money goes.

These influential people who are looking for deeper meaning in life are using their resources, including their financial resources for doing or promoting the greater good in the world. Of course, they all have their particular flavor, and no two philanthropists hearts are the same, therefore these individuals are able to impact the world independently in an invisible collectivity that really does make huge differences in the world we share with them.

You, too, could take an active part

In fact in many ways I am endeared to that percentage of the 99% who are sacrificing to contribute to a better world, who you think wouldn’t be able to afford it. One statistic that comes to mind is the comparison between the giving of the WalMart owners, versus the giving of the employees of WalMart who are often barely getting by. The low-remunerated employees out-give their employer 100%.

You can see these people have heart and they’re putting their money where their heart is and they are making a difference. Even though their contribution may individually be small, say ten to a hundred dollars a month, collectively they have a profound impact, while it appears the owners could care less.

Unfortunately, you do seem to find the most wealthy one percent of the world’s population not giving a rat’s care about the rest of the world which is stuffing money in their pockets 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For many of these people nothing matters more than the money they can glean from the masses, and you find them frolicking in lavish lifestyles that some of us (maybe even you) desire to mimic, because don’t we all want a better life?

But is this the definition of a better life?

The people who I find myself working with see their monetary health as a key component in their enjoyment of life and feel like it is the energy which fuels their ability to have a greater impact on the world. You can tell by what they do with it, and they are not enslaved by materialism, which would only take the energy and put it back in the pockets of the one percent.

What are you doing with your resources?

You can use your resources to make the world a better place.

If your knee-jerk reaction is to insist that you do not have the money, take another look at people with so much less than you, who are taking action, giving a portion of their resources, including money and time to help make the world a better place.

Are you ready to make a difference?

Materialism What Your Stuff Says About You

It starts at about 22 weeks of age and peaks in early teenage adolescence, depending on your sense of self, if there is a deficit, you are more likely to be inclined tosuffer from materialism, the obsession with stuff. All kinds of stuff, like bags, books, clothes, cars, toys, jewelry, furniture and electronic devices.

In an effort to feel better, feel good, obtain happiness or validate our sense of personal value, we tend to make up the difference by surrounding ourselves with identifiable things representing the value or success we demand we be associated with by others.

It is likely we are more apt to go buy something impractical or beyond our means when we are feeling blue or victimized or suffering from low self-esteem. The purchase of a luxury item sends a flood of dopamine to the brain that makes us feel good, but the purchase does not sustain the feeling for long, resulting in the common caveat, “You cannot buy happiness.”

materialism-what-your-stuff-says-about-you

No matter how much we realize the possession of things cannot make us happy, we still do it… and the economic virility of our nation depends on it. The system is built and structured around commercialism, breeding and nurturing a materialistic nation of over-anxious consumers, willing to rob from Peter to pay Paul, risk the failure of relationship and financial wellness, to obtain object of desire that may be beyond our means.

Our first major purchase as a young adult, our car, sets the pace for our future as a materialistic consumer of goods which we identify ourselves with and help to make us feel better by being supported or admired by peers based on this item.

What does your cache of possessions say about you when you are out and about town? While you are confidently sporting your latest luxury wardrobe, bag or other accessories, people who do not know you are more likely to assume that you are a member of the snobby, self-centered one percent and unapproachable as a kind, sensitive or caring person. Which is fine, if that’s your intention, to be viewed as such.

Our obsession with stuff helps to mitigate the damages of a fragile ego and could explain our tendency to over-purchase luxury items amidst our “mid-life crisis,” an explosion of demand to be recognized and noticed by valuation of our possessions, regardless of our lack of self-esteem or accomplishments in life.

Men who are prone to one-night-stands surround themselves with flashy possessions to lure unsuspecting women, which works like a magnet as women are prone to associate luxury items with stability and success. Researcher Jill Sundie ascertained that women interested in casual relationships are likely to seek out men with high-priced belongings as a likely candidate for a brief sexual encounter.

Psychologists find that the more expensive your personal belongings, the less they are likely to volunteer, or find satisfaction in community, family, country, religious organizations and are less inclined to join in demanding social activities.

Materialistic consumers are as a rule more depressed, personality disorders, anxiety, selfish, have poorer relationships and are admired less by their peers.

According to a Tufts University study, “People who are highly focused on materialistic values have lower personal well-being and psychological health than those who believe that materialistic pursuits are relatively unimportant.” Also, that they are more likely to suffer from physical problems such as headaches, and to personality disorders, narcissistic, and antisocial behaviors.

The Materialistic Virus

It actually spreads like a virus fueled by advertising and media exposure, most of us are available toward off the materialistic bug, until we are bit and infected by a friend or neighbor who makes an outlandish purchase.

You see them quietly flaunting their purchase and you’re impressed because you feel like you are more deserving of it than that person who earns less than you do. (Even though they cannot afford it, and they themselves have been bitten by the same bug.)

After a while, your natural defense to warding off such irrational thought beaks down as you start to rationalize and find ways to possess such an item – or a better one – for yourself to in effect “keep up with the Joneses.” Regardless of your otherwise sound purchasing practices.

This sense of materialistic competition finds us over-extending ourselves to match or supersede the efforts of our neighbors or co-workers.

Maybe consider asking yourself before you make that next luxury purchase,

“Can I actually afford this?”

And consider additionally asking,

“What will this purchase say about me?”

And,

“How will this purchase affect others?”

If it alienates others, makes you seem unapproachable or spreads the materialistic virus to others, maybe it’s worth re-thinking your potential purchase.