Chasing after millions? It’s cliche but true: money can’t buy happiness. Here’s why you should give your happiness more weight in job decisions.
Money can buy everything else, but it can’t buy happiness. You might’ve heard this phrase once, but there’s a lot of truth behind it.
In a 2013 Philips/Work Life Survey, 96 percent of working Americans believe they’d be happier if their job incorporated more of their personal interests. That means a majority of working Americans aren’t already in a job with their interests.
We often take the mundane job for one purpose: it pays well. But money shouldn’t be the most important thing in the world. Here are three reasons why happiness should take precedence over money. (Click here to tweet this list.)
1. Happiness has long-term effects
Buying the new pair of shoes or television you’ve wanted makes you happy — at first. It might even make you happy each time you wear those shoes or turn on the television after a long day.
But what happens when those shoes wear thin? Or when you turn off the television? They can’t make you happy forever. Eventually they’ll break or wear out until you buy something else, and it begins an endless task of finding what money can do to please you.
The truth is, all these material possessions are temporary. Long-term happiness comes from the things money can’t buy, like a night with your best friends, time with a romantic partner or a good morning run. Those activities don’t wear out, and they fill you with good memories by creating much deeper feelings like love.
2. Happiness improves your physical well-being
Think about the daily struggles from working hard in a 9-to-5 job just to produce a paycheck. If we don’t get our work done, we can’t get paid, and if we don’t get paid, we can’t pay our bills, and if we don’t pay our bills, we can’t have a nice house, car and other fine things. The cycle goes on.
That cycle is bound to create mounds of stress, and it’s difficult to cope with because we’re trapped in a place we don’t enjoy. Stress drains positive energy, creates anxiety and even causes physical problems like back pain and weight gain. It can make us turn to unhealthy substances for relief.
Working at something you love removes almost all this stress. When you put happiness before a job that pays the bills, you enjoy putting in the hours and don’t experience anxiety. You turn to work instead of harmful substances for pleasure. Pursuing your passions helps you lead an overall healthy and mentally rewarding life.
3. Happiness makes you a better person
If you had to pick something to live for in this world, what would it be? Hopefully the first choice isn’t money. Hopefully it’s something like love, family or happiness.
We only have a short time to make the most of this world. Devoting an entire lifetime to making a million dollars might be one way to spend it, but at what personal cost? To live only for money when it becomes useless in the end or could disappear in one day is a risky investment.
To live for the best parts of life — like love, family or happiness — takes full advantage of what limited time we have.
Putting happiness before money transforms you into a better person and keeps you from succumbing to greed or selfishness. You’ll feel more accomplished for pursuing the best parts of life rather than following the humdrum of the daily grind.
How do you get there?
True happiness shouldn’t come from things you can buy. If you’re searching for long-lasting happiness, consider what you’re most passionate about and try including them in your schedule, or spend time with friends and family. These are the meaningful parts of life that give you a more deeply rooted sense of happiness.
Briana North is a PR manager by day/blogger by night that enjoys sharing her opinions and advice on careers, feminism, young adult literature and life itself. While she doesn’t know what tomorrow will bring, she hopes it includes writing.