We’ve all heard this line sometimes in our lives, from it being parents dishing out sermons or watching a TedTalk of any successful person, who says that, “Being materialistic isn’t good” when they had come to deliver the TedTalk in their Lamborghini. Pretty hypocritical, right?
Materialism in bookish words is defined as a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort over spiritual health and well-being. This sentence can be summed up with the vibe of a rapper throwing money in the streets after having received his first paycheque.
This form of a lifestyle is ridiculed, as well as being highly sought after by people across the world. You meet any newbie during his first week of working at Wall Street, and he’ll tell how his life goal is to pull shit and be rich like Leonardo Di Caprio portraying Jordan Belfort in the movie Wolf of Wall Street, and the rich guy who has probably made millions over the past few years will say that he would prefer taking the subway to work since he values human interaction more.
Well, both of them aren’t wrong in their own perspectives. Any new guy in the first week of his job will probably be dreaming of crushing his year curve to get that promotion, and the rich person might be looking out for venues to do something of his own and escape this rat race, which he once wanted for himself and might’ve gotten into debt for it to go to a business school.
It’s actually quite ironic whenever we see someone who’s on the Forbes Top 10 richest People in the world state that “Money isn’t everything.” Sure, it might not be for you since you get your entire wardrobe courtesy of your sponsorships, and don’t have to commute to work and get stuck in mile long traffic jams when you can literally take a helicopter to work.
This does not mean that what they’re saying isn’t the truth, since after a certain point in our lives, money doesn’t remain a factor that affects its quality. And this is actually a thing many of us experience at a certain point when we are all well in our 40s or our 50s. This concept has been explained beautifully in the book titled Your Money or Your Life, authored by Vicki Robin.
She goes onto state that when we start earning money, we derive extremely high levels of value and esteem from our purchases during the initial years, since there is a positive relation between money and luxuries. As we go on and keep earning money, the level of comfort and value we derive after having purchased those luxuries goes on increasing until the point when the curve is its peak. It is this point she says that we stop equating more money with more pleasure.
Statistically speaking, she says that this feeling of not equating more money with more pleasure comes when someone is earning around $75000 a year. And after having reached this certain level, all our possessions start accumulating, which leads to a pretty dramatic fall in the contentment levels we derive from luxuries, since we are earning more money, but our past possessions have now become too cumbersome for us to now handle.
And the thing is, is that since we have collectively as a society put a pretty negative vibe on materialism, it makes us scoff at anyone who has earning more than us, and somehow provide us with a moral high ground that we are morally superior than them, since they do not think before any purchase, or how that purchase may impact the lives of others.
To an extent, this is true. But the thing is, if you were earning as much as “that” person, wouldn’t you be doing the same things they had been doing? Wouldn’t you be going to fancy restaurants in your sports cars in expensive suits to eat something that looks microscopic on the plate, but macroscopic in terms of gastronomical sensuousness and palate?
The reality is, that only those people who make a shit ton of money, or have had already accomplished making shit tonnes of money can really come up on stages and say, “Money doesn’t matter” since the value they derive after having spent any specific amount is less for them, as compared to those who don’t have enough money to pay their bills and try to save every dollar they can so they can make sure to put a roof above their head, or so that their child can go to the best private school.
There are a lot of people out there you will find saying that “Happiness is key”, or say “Money can’t buy happiness” which is true to some extent after having reached a certain point in your life, but till then it would be better to have money and pay off your own student loans instead of working 3 minimum wage jobs just to support your basic living expenses.
If you are able to find a job that is your true calling, take it up since you’re getting double the value for a buck. But if you’re working a job that pays you well and allows you to manage your expenses and lets you to go off for vacations to Bali for a week, you wouldn’t mind that too. We all have grown up in a society that has held money at the core of its system, yet tells us that money isn’t everything. But the thing is, the value of money will always depend on who needs it more, a multimillionaire who has a house in LA or someone who isn’t able to pay his own utilities.