How Much is Enough?

Every time I turn on the TV these days I am confronted with infuriating advertisements forcing me to buy useless products, all with the implication that I cannot be happy unless I own them. Riddled throughout the media, I find inexorable claims stating that my happiness is somehow correlated to the consumption of these worthless objects, that my life will be miserable without.

This is a fundamental flaw of modern society; we are forced to believe that life is dreary, just because it is different from what the media says it should be like. Regardless of what you possess, you can be happy. Happiness is intrinsic; it is the result of being able to appreciate the things you already have.

Every time you watch an advertisement, what do the characters look like? Usually, there is a successful celebrity telling you that if you use the product, you will be just as happy as them. Only, they are not happy, they just pretend to be. Happiness, unlike the media’s interpretation, is not dependant on fame and fortune.

The media presents happiness as if you must scale a mountain first in order to reach it; unless, of course, you have money or are famous. This is detrimental, as the system is not designed for everyone to be wealthy; in order for one person to be rich, hundreds have to be poor. Materialistic happiness is forced, but remains unachievable to most people.

The concept of materialistic happiness derives itself from human nature; we are so focused on everything we want, that we lose sight of everything we have. Money is a perfect example of this; people are never satisfied with the amount of money they have, they always want more. You may work your whole life trying to save $100 000, in order to buy an expensive car and make yourself happy. Yet, when you reach $100 000, your goal has risen to $500 000 then $1 000 000, and so on. Similar to a treadmill, you exhaust yourself trying to reach happiness only to end in the same place you started. In this endless cycle, you tie your idea of happiness to an ever increasing monetary amount, and as a result, go your entire life unhappy.

This fixation is detrimental, not only to an individual, but to society as a whole. It causes majority of the problems we face as a society: greed, high suicide rates, addiction, etc. This obsession with money compels generations of children to think that they are worthless and live meaningless lives, because the media enforces such. As a result, they too will fall victim to the trap set up by society, and they too will be despondent.

So how much is enough? As much as you have right now. We need to spend less time ranting about everything we could have, and focus on what we do. Regardless of what the media says, we should not be motivated by money. Rather, we should be motivated by the passion we have to do what we love. For even a homeless person can wake up every morning happy that they are alive. Happiness is a matter of nothing more than perspective.