Money and character

Years ago, my brother’s best friend wrote the following quotation in my brother’s autograph book, “Money is just like honey, and a rich man’s joke is always funny.”

True, is it not? Indeed, the impact, the thrall and the extent to which money plays in our everyday lives is well known since it makes the world go round.

Indeed, money is so overrated that it is the driving force in almost all business transactions and other endeavours.

One cannot live for even a single day without this requisite.

Since money is so important and necessary, does the acquisition of it make a person intrinsically happy?

Surprisingly, in many cases, no.

Hoarding and possessively accumulating money doesn’t necessarily make a person content. One may recall the lives of several millionaires who have huge bank balances, mansions and fleets of cars.

Yet they are too stressed to ever be blissfully happy.

On the other hand, one may come across a simple vegetable vendor with his cheerful wife and affectionate little child, all of whom have only the clothes they wear and the simplest of food, yet they are genuinely happy.

The following poem shows this dichotomy of having money vs other basic needs in life. “Money can buy you a bed, but it cannot buy you sleep. Money can buy you cosmetics, but it cannot buy you beauty. Money can buy you a clock, but it cannot buy you time. Money can buy you books, but it cannot buy you knowledge. Money can buy you medicines, but it cannot buy you health. Money can buy you materialistic goods, but it cannot buy you happiness and love.”

During the “good old days”, people were respected and money was used. Now, due to our dependency on luxury gadgets and materialistic yearnings, the reverse is happening: People are being used, and money is respected. Blind, meaningless hoarding of money is not advisable as one may just like hoarding it all up, forgetting the reason why one is earning it in the first place. One should indeed make it a means to an end, and not an end in itself.

So, if one is addicted to accumulating money, it would be judicious to earn the amount necessary for a decent living and spend the rest of one’s time in the following stress busters and practices: praying, meditating, performing auto-suggestion, practising yoga and exercises, working for the physically challenged and volunteering for noble causes.

Indeed, when one keeps oneself occupied with great intentions and aims, one will be less likely to hoard money meaninglessly. If one is asked to choose between money and character, it would do one well to recall the following quotation: “Money comes, and money goes. Character comes, and character grows…”

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