shutterstock_158815043It’s often said money can’t buy happiness; yet, the passion with which wealth is pursued today would lead most to believe that it’s the only way to achieve happiness. In fact, most people are not satisfied with their current financial status, and believe that being richer will also make them happier. People constantly strive to become wealthier, and put in extra work hours, compete with co-workers for promotions and raises, and hope for a surprise windfall. Research, however, suggests that people who are materialistic and actively pursue more wealth are actually less happy and more likely to be depressed than those who are satisfied with their possessions and financial status.

For years, economists and social scientists alike have tried to understand the relationship with wealth and well-being. Some studies, especially those that compare happiness levels among nations, suggest that increased wealth may lead to more happiness and well-being rises with people’s income. However, other research, discussed on the American Psychological Association website, shows that it is not wealth, but the autonomy or freedom that is often accompanied by it that leads wealthier people to experience higher well-being. So, even though wealth by itself does not guarantee increased well-being, people actively pursue it believing it will make them feel happier.

The question then arises how much wealth is enough, and how can one truly achieve well-being? Below, we feature an excerpt from Sadhguru’s live talks where he answers this question and addresses the relation between wealth and well-being:

“What we need in the world is not just “wealth creation.” We need to create wellbeing. Wealth is just one of the tools towards human wellbeing, not the whole of it. Wealth means making the outside pleasant for ourselves. But right now, people are going at it like it is a religion. In pursuit of wealth creation, we are destroying the very planet on which we live. Whether you make a safety pin or build a computer or a car or some great machine, whatever you do, you are digging it out of the planet. Somewhere, we must decide how much to dig and how much the planet can take.

If we are not sensible about this, in our ideas of wealth creation we may completely destroy the planet – which we are already doing in many ways.

We must understand what our idea of wealth is. Is it just about more buildings, more machines, more cars, more of everything? More and more is death. In the most affluent societies in the world, for example in the United States of America, a significant percentage of the population is on anti-depressants on a regular basis. If you just withdraw one particular medication from the market, almost half the nation will go crazy. That is not wellbeing. Generally, an American citizen has everything that anyone would dream of. There is wealth but no wellbeing. What are you going to do with this wealth?

If I go to the West and ask them, “Why don’t you meditate?” the common statement everywhere is “But we have to pay bills.” I said, “If your whole life is about paying bills, why generate those damn bills? You can curtail yourself and live more comfortably. To pay all those bills you are just working endlessly. What is the point?”

“No the whole society is doing it.” It doesn’t matter. They are driven by somebody else. If you have any sense, you must drive yourself to the extent that you are comfortable. There maybe someone who can do a thousand things in a day without suffering or being stressed. Maybe you can do only three things in a day. It is okay. You needn’t try to do what someone else does. This is the biggest problem. We are trying to do things like someone else.

When it comes to outside situations, no two human beings have come with the same level of capability. Your neighbor may have a 100-bedroom house. Maybe he likes to live in a hotel! For yourself, you must decide how much. Trying to do things like someone else is the wrong way to approach life. We need to decide how much of what we should do in our lives – how much outside activity, inner wellbeing and social wellbeing would keep our life in a balanced way without ruining us and the atmosphere around us.

Having a good home, eating good food, wearing good clothes, are a means to living well; they are not the goals of our life. The quality of your life is decided by how peaceful and joyful you are.”

Now that you understand that wealth is not a panacea that will bring you well-being, what steps will you take to improve the quality of your life? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

You may also like

POSTED IN:Self-Empowerment
  1. Roshni Reply
    In America, or any country people have to pay WATER ELECTRIC, GARBAGE BILLS. MAJOR is houses have mortgage .that's also mostly all countries. Then the depression comes due to High rates that we can't afford to pay all bills on time. Or your credit score is affected. So our life is slaved with the society, and hence trapped in the environment, which is considered as the normal way in today's century. Regulatory system is not appropriate and thus pushes human to tremendous agony, depression, and health is gone . We should empower our younger generation to cut off the gadgets time and focus on text books. Meditation should be part of education system from early childhood.
    • Nancy Reply
      And I think we should raise our children on a mountain, in nature....preferably in an adult tree house! Wouldn't that be AWESOME?!!!! I think it sounds beautiful and wonderful. : )
    • Anand Reply
      Yes agree that it should be part of early childhood but what about us the adults. Are we in a hopeless situation? Should we throw our hands up in the air and call it quits. You are again blaming the system and shrugging the responsibility to act. If the mortgage is too high why not buy smaller house. Why not buy in a less costly neighborhood? If it is so hard to pay mortgage that you are stretching yourself so thin... Why not just rent an Apt? There is no excuse to be miserable just to claim that you live in a nice house. You might live with less and still be less miserable at the same time.
      • Roshni Reply
        Anand ji, Isha foundation was, is always available to you. I never mentioned for adults to sit confusing on a path.
      • Mary Reply
        Anand, You are absolutely right, happiness is not keeping up with Sankramin Pilli. (certain the spelling is incorrect) Indeed we all must pay our bills. Remember what you're getting in return. Fresh clean water, clean streets, warm home, schooling for your children. Live within your means and happiness will come. Meditate daily and happiness will surely come.
      • sirisha Reply
        Agree! The system is built for a (GOOD) reason. But how the people are taking it is the point. If there is no system here...we all will be Adam and Eve's eating apples and doing nothing. You will not have (clean) roads to drive... So everything in moderate and how much ever is necessary is good!
  2. Nequila Jackson Reply
    In continuing with the sentiments of Roshni the comment posted above mine; This is my plight and the plight of many living in Western society. I've tried for years now to detach myself from a society and way of survival that was killing me, my family and everyone around me only to find myself destitute or dependent on those who worship BUSY,EXCESS,& MONEY! After suffering much loss materialistically(Takers Take) while gaining my sanity and striving toward my Health and Wellness, I've applied my Spiritual, Scientific Mind to finding keys to holistic Health and wellness. Although I haven't been able to afford the Isha program I look forward to doing so in the future. Access to Sadaguru's knowledge and information has been priceless encouragement on my journey. I look forward to helping heal the world. As Roshni stated an education system that included Meditation, Whole foods and a directing of the youth to find their true passions would contribute to a much healthier world in which to live not just survive.
  3. Anna Maria Gabriel Reply
    By most standards I am considered "poor" or "lower middle class",depending on where one is standing. Yet, if I earn enough per month to meet my bills, buy mostly organic fresh food, and have a little left over, I am content. If I have enough to relocate to the country next spring; if I can afford the seeds, potting soil and containers for my garden; if my herb seeds and vegetable seeds thrive, I am rich! I do not own a car, a TV or sophisticated items. I do not have expensive clothing. However, if my basil seeds germinate and yield a great little crop; if my Greek oregano, thyme, sage, mint, Holy basil, thrive, I am a very, very happy camper!
    • Mary Reply
  4. Veena Reply
    I think a balance in life is great.To be independent in living ,we are not living in forests ,so we have to pay house ,food ,cloths and needful items we need. I am Indian Musician so I try to be content in what God has blessed me with.
  5. Veena Reply
    We make our own food from scratch,ghee,yogurt,daily food yes,herbs growing ,yes wheat grass. Backyard goodies.
  6. Monicxa Reply
    If health is ok Sunday I'll sell some of my possessions. ;;))
  7. bernie Reply
    I got rid of all of my unneccessary bills, unneeded stuff, cut my and my husbands work hours to half time. Now, I'm using morecoupons and cooking at home. It feels awesome
  8. Rajini Reply
    I came to USA for further studies 1977july from India work hard made money due to accident slipping on ice resigned after several surgeries realised health is money regret why I left india wests is matearialistic no peace of mind stress depression took yoga from jaggu guru ji meditation also tvolunteered still empty anxious can I fly to India old age comes go every year now 2generation children don't want to learn mother tongue take German french Spanish think they are Americans forget asian roots don't want to visit India any more confused about religion attended CSS I worry is my money enough to last until I die end up in nursing home children may not visit handicapped people living longer pray god attend samsung listen to sad guru Being a doctor handicapped suffering pain constantly can't leave USA as children are here visit parents siblings in India as far is possible did homams visited holy places still vacuum not happy pray god every day to die in my sleep
    • Richard Krug Reply
      Friend, you really should change your focus. Your reality is created by what you focus on. Find something positive to focus on. Focus on the good, not the bad.
  9. Tom Reply
    With Shambhavi Mahamudra or Isha Kria practices you can align your internal state so that you can sit comfortably in an empty room and feel content and peaceful within your self. If you have physical ailments that prevent this then fixing those ailments must be your first priority - then work on achieving contentedness and peace after. But for most of us we are our own worst enemy. Don't allow a noisy/busy mind to steal your peace, it is your birth right. Whether you live in a mansion on a hilltop or a tent you should have this peace and happiness. Without it nothing much matters on the outside, your house, your car or your clothes. These material things won't bring you peace or happiness but lack of them cannot prevent you from achieving peace and happiness either.
  10. Ls Reply
    It is a myth that people in us live very well, it is only small percentage . Most of the people live and work very hard , to pay bills and survive here. I wish I can afford sadhguru program and live and study yoga in India , but it is not possible right now. I think most of the people want to be reach , and do whatever they want like self realization and yoga , instead of job slavery in us
    • Mary Reply
      Sadhguru says he has initiated more people he has not met then those whom he has. If you think you have found him, think again he has found you. Follow him, if you sit with him he hears, if you listen you will hear answers.
  11. dhanakotirao Reply
    Research, however, suggests that people who are materialistic and actively pursue more wealth are actually less happy and more likely to be depressed than those who are satisfied with their possessions and financial status."Yes.It's true".Thank you for sharing a good article
  12. Jim fessenden Reply
    Indeed, can we put a dollar value on good health, joy, and peacefulness? No, it can not be purchased at any dollar amount. On the other hand, confusion, ignorance, and jealousy act as dollars and buy you misery of all sorts. Truth is not for sale and is held within the vastness of each atom, it is ours for paying the price of admission to it....namely, desire to be set free from man's wisdom by piercing the wisdom of life/creation.
  13. Hangse Reply
    Why ISHA online program is so expensive. Why can't it be free and when well being comes we pay bit by bit later on.
    • Sue Reply
      The program itself is invaluable, there cannot be a cost attached to it however, there is a cost of running the program, infrastructure, electricity etc. These costs have to be covered, therefore a cost to the program. Here Sadhguru answers your question:
  14. Sita Uyemura Reply
    As someone who’s coming from the younger generation in America, this article resonates with me so much. Mainly because of the social media luxury is something an average American adolescent craves because they see it advertised so much that’s all they’re exposed to. Children and even adults nowadays compare their lifestyles to others because in their eyes more is better. The fancier it is the better. But how long can one desire so much material wealth to the point where their life is upside down because they chose to be dissatisfied with what they have? I love reading these articles because it’s a constant reminder that I live well compared to other countries. I’m learning what I’d like my financial boundaries to be like. I don’t desire a lot of things most teens my age do. I want to enrich my life itself in ways that are beyond just physical comfort. Thank you Sadhguru and Isha!

Leave a Reply


captcha *