Happiness is for real. So is Money.

What motivates us to do well in our life and keep us going from one milestone to another? Why do school toppers want to recreate the same success stories in JEE and CAT? If happiness is indeed an illusions and all that one needs to do is to settle in to their respective comfort zones, then why do we consider Warren Buffet and Steve Jobs as our role models?  Research shows that progressing toward and achieving important goals increase people’s satisfaction with their lives and themselves. Yes, we all want a great corporate career, we all want that esteemed institutional tag and we all want happiness.  And happiness can be found late night in a hyper active cubicle, working on a tight deadline. Bagging the best corporate job out there in the market and the highest pay package and then working up through the corporate is one of the most conspicuous and rewarding means to happiness.

What is wrong in being ambitious and trying to get ahead of other in the pursuit of wealth? What is wrong in equating happiness with money and following it blindly? Money can’t make man happy may sound ideal and perfect in quotes but in reality, we need those crisp, crunchy sheets to survive. Some earn it by leaving their own dreams and some by being part of someone else’s design. Money definitely brings in happiness and people who don’t have it may find this an excuse and stereotype people who have great corporate careers and get paid handsomely.

Let me further my argument with respect to an Indian context. India is the land of spirituality, wisdom and knowledge. According to our great philosophers, happiness cannot be realised by money and striving for the best things. We can only realise happiness by understanding ourselves through mental peace through yoga, meditation, Vedanta and all.

But then, Indian preachers also taught us the gospel of Karma. I say my karma is work and earning as much money as I want to lead a lavish and bountiful life. I derive satisfaction from utilising my skills and capabilities and extracting the maximum from my efforts. So am I doing anything wrong by following my karma? Materialism can bring in spirituality but the reverse, as we all know, is definitely not true. Sweating for money doesn’t necessarily translate into greed leading to unhappiness. Money does not bring in greed and dissatisfaction but self help gurus are increasingly stereotyping it otherwise leading to cognitive dissonance in people. Professionals are under the impression that they have to necessarily choose between money and happiness and that is actually leading to distress and misery.

Happiness is not elusive. Nor is it an illusion. Happiness is for real. So is Money.


This post is formally an entry for the InsideIIM B School Debate.

Business School: Indian Institute of Management Bangalore

Team Name: Invictus

Team Mate: Vineet Saraiwala

Link for article refuted: http://insideiim.com/the-illusion-of-happiness-3/