ILLUMINATION
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ILLUMINATION

The Misfortunate Pursuit Of Money

How Chasing More, Leads To More Ill-Being

Photo by Jp Valery

Money is everything in today’s world. It’s the main aspect of our lives we can’t live without. Literally. Money grants us food, shelter, healthcare, and even some fun from time to time like shopping, going to the mall, eating out. It’s everything. Money occupies our livelihood. It gives us access to certain luxuries or essential needs. People have needs, whether it be basic or habitual. But money can also have the opposite effect of the “so called” benefits. It can go from being good and essential to addictive and unhealthy. Of course, it depends on the context when someone puts money in an “unhealthy” category.

A good example would be gambling. Gambling is associated with overspending. The dopamine neurotransmitter that plays an important role on our brain is triggered continuously, nonstop. It’s like hitting a piñata with a bat every single second and getting candy again and again endlessly. So essentially, the gambler follows the the logic of “the more I spend (and lose) the more my changes of winning big increases in the long run”. Which is safe to say, that it doesn’t happen. Or it won’t anytime soon for that matter.

That’s just one of the many examples of why money sometimes can be deemed dangerous but there are many more instances that people do not know about. Be it powerful people like billionaires or millionaires, politicians, normal looking citizens. Down the road over my lifetime, I’ve realized that the less I care about money, about spending, about how much I make, I feel more free. More present and more alive. It’s not to say that money is not helpful (that’s not the point of this article) but that many things considering capital makes things more unnecessarily complicated than needed. Which can present multiple problems in the long run.

In this article, I want to explore with you, the reader, the idea of why money sometimes is a culprit that brings more problems that solutions. As I’ve emphasized above, money is a requirement nowadays, but only to a certain extent. You can choose to have and make money (even lots or less), sure, but if you let it control you, if you let it absorb you, you won’t get the remote controller back to your life. You’ll lose yourself deep into the rabbit hole. And you won’t be able to climb out into the light, out of that hole.

Money Makes You An Addict

As the title suggests it’s an unfortunate truth. Many of us who went from being toddlers to teenagers to young adults, and then adults didn’t really understand the concept of money up until a certain age . Because when we’re young we don’t understand the world. We’re taking and perceiving each minor or major experience as a learning curve. Overtime we grow up and get a sense of how reality works and operates. By the time we reach our late 20’s, early 30’s we’ve already spent a chunk of our money on a car we don’t need, a house we didn’t really need, an expensive vacation at the Bahamas, or some other kind of luxury.

As a good recent book suggests “The Psychology Of Money” by Morgan Housel, money is all about behavior and the act of taking action. It’s more or less about being smart rather than thinking with your pleasures or your “spur of the moment desires”. Rather, to put it more simply behavioral money spending is how to “spend in a wisely manner”. I myself at the age of 17, liked to spend my money on videogames. A lot in fact. Each new game that would release on the market I would instantly pre-order it. Boom. There go 70 bucks down the hole. And for what? I could have easily invested it somewhere else. Maybe stocks, a real estate apartment and rent it out to someone, oil even. But hey, 17 is 17. No point in arguing. Countless possibilities and unimaginable ways to earn back what you lost for a far greater profit, yet naïve me wouldn't listen.

Money doesn’t make us obey what we want. It makes us think irrationally and makes us obedient under the name of money. If that makes sense. We don’t get a say in what, or how we spend. Money does. Under it’s own rules. That’s addiction to ya baby.

I’ve known people who couldn’t stop their money spending and ended up in huge debts that put their life at risk (most of course filed for bankruptcy), and people who’ve saved their money for far better legitimate reasons. Such as saving, or investing. Which benefited them long term which is what I like to call the “compound effect”. That’s how Warren Buffet got rich in fact.

Nonetheless, money is addictive. How we get to spend that money is up to us and us only. It’s a behavior and a call to spend whilst being aware on what we spend on our precious limited treasure. When we can’t help it, but buy that little toy, that new jacket, we get overwhelmed, so we instead waste money. Again and again. Money is simply addictive. Or makes you one. Some can control their spending's, but most can’t. It’s a sad fact.

Money Ruins Relationships

If that wasn’t clear enough, I don’t know what is. Relationships are purely based on connection and compatibility. If you think a Lamborghini or a huge mansion up in the hills will get you anywhere near that level of relationship status you’re fantasizing about, you’re awfully mistaken. It might take you to that level but maybe for the wrong reasons. Maybe you got married after 2 weeks of meeting someone and then got stomped with divorce papers across your forehead. Leaving you single and alone, and with less money on your bank account. The triple threat. Yikes.

When money is the main contributor to our happiness or purpose, we often forget the most important aspect of life itself. Relationships. Humans have been socializing and interacting with one another for thousands of years. Even during the prehistoric times, our ancestors didn’t have or understand the concept of money. It was nonexistent. It was like trying to explain to them how to light a fire with wood and rocks without them having figured it out yet. It just didn’t make sense. At least back then. The only thing we had was one another, food, shelter, companionship. and the safety and protection from arousing threats.

I don’t wanna go on a wrong foot and say that relationships are affected by money at all times, but in many cases they are. The more rich you are (or the more you’re willing to flex, or more of the fact that you love money) the more you’re willing to put yourself on the spotlight for failure and embarrassment and disappointment. As I said above ,money is everything, but not everything. Certain people become more dependent on their income number rather than a real life connection. It’s not that money ruins your chances of finding someone or establishing a friendship. No. But the idea of money that will enhance that specific relationship is the problem. It will instead make you look greedy, ignorant, and arrogant. Maybe that’s why rich people are often portrayed as evil or incompetent. Due to the fact that they crave more money than meeting new people. But hey what do I know. I’m broke.

So to finish with a simple mathematical equation “Money + acceptance in relationship= Not enough pal”.

Money Dependency Leaves You Vulnerable To Mental Health Issues

This is where it really it hits the fan. Really. It’s one thing to be addicted, it’s another to be depressed and ashamed with tarnished self-esteem. If it’s left unchecked it can really change you as a person. Not just mentally but even in some severe cases physically. Like starving yourself or the opposite which is overeating. The most logical thing to do would be to contact a health professional to talk about your problem. There’s no shame in that whatsoever.

And it’s true. Money truly has such an impact on us people. Money leads people to overwork, leading to fatigue, exhaustion, burnout, depression, more anxiety and stress and loneliness. This is more prevalent in Japan with the work culture there. People tend to work more and longer hours in the hopes of earning a promotion one day that will grant more financial freedom. But it comes at a major cost. Japanese people oftentimes sleep in their office, waking up the next day to do their work all over again. They miss family time with relatives and with friends, marriages fall apart, some even reach the point of very very severe mental health issues such as suicide. Which is another unfortunate phenomenon amongst Japanese work culture.

And I understand that. They say:

“It’s better to cry in a Ferrari than on a bicycle”. DJ Cuppy

There’s some truth to this, but the opposite is also factual. Finding a balance is the key to all to this. Amongst work, relationships, mental health. It really comes down to how you organize your time and schedule, whether it be social or personal.

It’s safe to say, that regardless of work or money, or both, they can lead down to a destructive path. And not a good one. Work is work, but people let it become a norm despite the clear signs of something being very wrong. Money doesn’t lead to happiness, it leads to a more desperate cry for help to those that put it first above all else. If we are able to acknowledge the fact that money is a major precursor to mental health, we can find solutions to improve and lead a better life. Spiritually, mentally, physically, financially (make better finance decisions, such as changing jobs, and making time for family).

Money Reveals Character

It’s often said that when you have everything or certain things you truly reveal what kind of human being you truly are deep within. And it’s true. I don’t see that as bad, but it can be. In many cases, money reveals a lot of stuff we wouldn’t expect out of someone. Maybe you gifted someone a book, and they got mad for you not buying them a more “expensive” item that would suit their needs. That’s the moment your realize “Oh, well. I didn’t expect that from you. Jeez”.

Money can change someone in a good way, but at the same time it can completely alter their way of life. I had a friend who was obsessed with gaining as many gifts as possible, because his dad wouldn't buy him anything he wanted. One day when he got a present from a relative, let’s call him grandpa for now. Next thing you know, he starts bursting into heavy tears, screaming, and being all insane. Basically he got mad. Really mad. By that moment I realized that my friend was addicted to money. Addicted to the idea that having something many can’t afford is better than getting a simple gift. Which doesn’t make sense, but whatever.

It just goes to show what money is really capable of on such a big scale. And not just on one, but on many people across the globe. Money can ruin friendships and relationships and reveal the true nature of someone close to you. If money was never invented everybody would be in a better place. Including you. We wouldn't have responsibilities, stress, or burnout, we would have survival as first priority. Just like our ancestors did.

Money is good, but it can be detrimental at the same time. I don’t know who you are, how, and what you spend your money on, but I’d recommend that you tread carefully from now on when it comes to how you act towards your everyday bacon. Because if you keep eating bacon, there will be consequences in the future.

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Panos

Storyteller by heart. One story at a time.

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