Opinion | Speak Your Mind

Focus: The formula to happiness

Can money and financial freedom ever be separated from happiness? How practical is it really to say “money can’t buy happiness”?

  • Compiled by Huda Tabrez/Community Web Editor
  • Published: 00:00 April 13, 2012

The formula to happiness
  • Image Credit: Illustration: ©Gulf News
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We’re all in the pursuit, but how many of us are really able to attain true happiness? If the prime minister of Asia’s happiest nation — the little Himalayan country of Bhutan — is to be believed, all we need to do is to stop obsessing over money. In a new model he is proposing for countries, he is urging them to stop focusing on the gross domestic product (GDP), which is often used as an indicator of a country’s development. Instead, he suggests focusing on what he calls Gross National Happiness. But can money and financial freedom ever be separated from happiness? Aren’t people who are unable to make ends meet often bitter and sometimes miserable? How practical is it really to say “money can’t buy happiness”? Post your comments on our Facebook page ‘Gulf News Al Nisr Publishing UAE’ or tell us at readers@gulfnews.com

15:36 Gulf News: Money is necessary for happiness.

15:39 Shereen Mir: Money — in no practical way — can buy happiness. It is just one’s selfish nature that makes us want to ‘buy’ anything we want. But sometimes, what we need cannot be bought; it is just something to be felt. Certainly, money may be necessary for happiness but it is not capable of buying happiness.

15:39 Masooma Bilgrami: Happiness comes from within a person. A rich man may not be happy. But a poor man, on the other hand, may be happy even with fewer resources to satisfy his wants.

3:42 Shereen Mir: I agree that we may be unhappy if we are unable to provide for our basic necessities. But at the same time I would even like to ask — if you are the richest person in the world, but you don’t have a loving family, will you still be happy? Will you be able to ‘buy’ the happiness that the love and care of family gives?

15:45 Dorothy Naveena: Money is a necessary evil in today’s world. It is needed for survival, and an improvised version of ‘survival’, which often creates happiness in people’s life.

15:47 Prachiti Talathi: I don’t think money is evil. Anything that can be used wisely isn’t evil, and similarly money can be both a boon or curse. It is ultimately in your hands to decide how much influence it should have on you.

15:50 Akshaya Parthasarathy: But if one is so immersed in making money, they usually have the fear of it being stolen. Life may become stressful rather than happy.

15:54 Shereen Mir: The more you have, the more you want. Those who don’t have enough wealth, slog their entire life to achieve it, while those who have it stress out thinking how to further double it. The problem is indeed with our greed and it is because of this reason that so many financial issues are coming up these days.

15:58 Dorothy Naveena: With what the world has become in terms of technology, and every other aspect of progress, we need money — that is the practical truth. With a little money we can only live a nomad’s life.

15:58 Samuel Victor: Of course money is important to help us live our life to the fullest. But at the same time, an increase in money does not bring proportional happiness with it. You need to be aware of that.

16:05 Gulf News: The only way to be truly satisfied is if you are willing to settle for less.

16:06 Prachiti Talathi: No. Those who are content are not those who have settled for less. They simply made a choice to stop.

16:07 Dorothy Naveena: Content people are happy with the little or more they have. Those people don’t see how much they have, they just look at what they have and are happy with it.

16:09 Akshaya Parthasarathy: Contented people are those who have a great family, loving friends and enough money to live with the basic necessities in life. They have not settled for less, in fact this means that they have achieved a goal. For example, if a man from rural areas moves to an urban place, gets a good job to support himself as well as his family and is already living a better life, why would he still want to strive for more?

16:20 Gulf News: The shortsightedness of governments is stopping them from investing in people and creating truly happy nations.

16:22 Dorothy Naveena: Every government in every country usually starts off like a ‘union bank’. But gradually the influences of the world, people and society change these governments and make them more like commercial banks. The fact is they still cater to the needs of the people, still provide them services, but do not have the same manner with which they began. But then again, doesn’t such change apply everywhere?

16:23 Shereen Mir: Yes. A happy economy leads to a developed economy. People will be readily willing to work without too much stress and this will even impact the overall output of the country. Yes, I agree with the statement. If the ruling parties and politicians look into this aspect, all nations would definitely be in a better state than what they are in now.

16:23 Akshaya Parthasarathy: Yes, the shortsightedness is stopping governments, but that also does not mean they are doing nothing to improve it.

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Adel Yousuf Al Attar
Management graduate living in Dubai
Money is required to have your basic necessities, without that you cannot survive. But let’s say you have so much money you don’t know what to do with it, but you are not healthy, or don’t have time for your children. What is the use of the money then?

Omar Al Bu Saidi
Government employee living in Dubai
You need money to be happy. Even if you are poor and the government is providing subsidies, it is because it has money. It is also cultural, there are so many Filipinos who I see working ... and they always seem cheerful! I ask them how they can be so happy. They say: ‘We don’t think about the problems, we let the problems think about us’. I do envy them. Ultimately, it is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs — your basic needs need to be fulfilled for you to have true happiness.

Comments (1)

  1. Added 09:58 April 13, 2012

    First of all it is foolish to compare money and happiness because fundamentally both are opposite of each other, money is economic, tangible & quantitative whereas happiness is exact opposite of it e.g. social, intangible and subjective, A thing which money cannot buy even can't be purchased with happiness then how happiness is better than money, the bottom line, there is no point seperating happiness from money since they are fundamentally seperate.

    SATIQUE, ABUDHABI, United Arab Emirates

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