Does money equate to happiness? Not exactly. Here's what to read when you want a career that's more than just a paycheck.
"Does money equal happiness?"
Ah, the classic "money" question asked by almost every person in which you divulge your plans for world domination.
"I'm not sure," you respond meekly while your brain screams "YES!"
But now is time to broaden our entrepreneurial minds and to absorb some knowledge from great philosophers on the topics of money, life and our journey.
Perhaps only then will we reveal the secret behind the time-old money question.
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1. The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman
“The journey is what brings us happiness, not the destination.”
An achiever in every sense of the word, Dan is a talented gymnast that is popular with the ladies. The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior follows his journey guided by the wise petrol station attendant: Socrates.
Based loosely on the true story of the author himself, Dan takes a journey into his body to understand that his self and his mind are separate and that perhaps leading a life of awareness as opposed to pre-occupation with thoughts can lead to fulfilment.
2. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”
After a traumatic experience late one night fueled by suicidal thoughts, Eckhart spent two years sitting on a park bench in London developing an intense focus on the present moment. He is now a best-selling author and renown international speaker.
If we were to pose the "money" question to Eckhart, I am pretty sure he would say there is no correlation between money and happiness, as any pleasures or disappointments associated with the pursuit of money exist in the past or future and not in the now, and therefore, do not exist at all.
3. The Bhagavad Gita by Eknath Easwaran
“You have the right to work, but never to the fruit of work. You should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should you long for inaction."
In this ancient Hindu scripture, Arjuna the famed warrior speaks with his teacher Krishna on a battlefield where Arjuna is about to fight a war against his cousins. For obvious reasons, Arjuna is unsure of whether he should proceed due to the results that could occur from his actions, yet Krishna provides an unfailing insight: "You must play your role" and Arjuna heads off into battle.
Though this could be taken as a ruthless message: you must fight regardless of your feelings or morals but there may more subtle lesson: you should not claim any right of the results of your actions as these are fleeting, all that truly exists and that you lay claim to are the actions themselves.
4. The Alchemist by Paul Coelho
“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure"
In The Alchemist, young Santiago sets off from his small village in search of treasure. His journey takes him on a wild journey through cities and deserts meeting a strange man called The Alchemist that acts as his guide.
SPOILER ALERT - And as you might expect, after this epic journey, Santiago returns to the field which he left at the start of the book to find his buried treasure beneath a tree.
Maybe our entrepreneurial treasure is already within us?
5. Spent by Geoffrey Miller
"The rich covet the new iPod, not for the sounds it can make in their heads, but for the impressions it can make in the heads of others”
And finally, once we have our million pounds, what do we do with it? Well, Geoffrey Miller suggests that the majority of humans partake in what he calls "conspicuous consumption." Where we consume products not because of the way they make us feel but because of how we believe they could change the opinions of other people.
He then goes on to argue that this tendency is not actually that effective and that greater fulfilment can be achieved through other activities not so dependent on the opinions of others.
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You may have noted that each of the titles above promote a lifestyle that moves away from identification with material possessions or thoughts and towards action and the present moment.
They state that if we focus on the action and derive joy from the present moment and the process itself, this can lead to a more fulfilling life.
And strangely, since I started to obey this principle in the past six months I have found that I have been able to produce greater value for my customers and audience which, has in turn, lead to greater material wealth. Therefore, as an entrepreneur, maybe it is useful to read the books referenced above and the next time that you are asked that question:
"Does money equate to happiness?"
You can say: "Well potentially not the money itself, but I believe fulfilment can be realised through the process of creating value, that will result in money."
Ok, so now I need a favour from you. Remember the last person who asked you that protruding "money" question, or the last person in which you spoke about the "money" topic with? Use the share buttons to the right to send this post over to them. Who knows what effect it could have?