Money and Success: ‘Is more ever enough?’
Money is important, there is no doubt about it. It brings vitality, helps to pay our bills and enables us to live the lifestyle we desire ― especially in a world that is growing ever more affluent. Not having enough of it creates struggle, anxiety and stress, and sucks our life force and vitality. It is therefore not surprising that the majority of the Western world, particularly the younger generation, lists “getting rich” as one of their most significant personal goals. But this priority is far from realistic, as the percentage of those who expect to gain considerable wealth in the near future is exponentially higher than the percentage of those who actually will. Why do we focus so intently on accumulating more money and possessions? Are these desires even in our own best interests? And, most importantly, will money really make us as happy, or happier, as we seem to believe it will?
Many times clients ask me: Is it wrong to want more? I have more than enough, does this mean I should stop wanting to acquire more? Should I feel uncomfortable having more than I can spend for generations to come? Much to their surprise my answer is: “No, it is not wrong to desire more”. Many times they look at me as this is not the answer they were expecting. “But…” I go on to say, “There is more to my answer”…
It is safe to say that human nature is to “want more”. But have you ever wondered why?
If we take a look at the world around us and how it has developed, it seems that human desire is to constantly expand.
Our expansion is driven by numerous factors like the desire for change, for innovation, for growth or a desire for more – in any form or shape: more power, more money, more growth, more change, more knowledge, more creativity, more expression, more control, more comfort, more ease, more health, more things…
This means that wanting more is part of being who we are. It is part of us. Part of our human nature.
This view is supported by various monotheistic scriptures, which teach that we were created in the image and likeness of our Creator. As one aspect of the Creator is infinite essence (which by definition means never ending, more) by default the Creator will ALWAYS desire more. Therefore, as we are created in this likeness, it means that by design, desire for more is built-in to us.
However, problems with wanting more start when our desire for ever more triggers the development of dysfunctional attitudes, behaviors and actions. For example, we can lose our integrity, we can lose sight of what is right and wrong, we can become greedy and obsessed, we can lose our health and we can stop giving ourselves to our families, all in the pursuit of more. We can become consumed by our desire for more, convincing ourselves (and others) that the means justify the ends as we try to gain more power, increase our control over others or become self important at the expense of others. When any of these happens, the desire for more is no longer a “natural” or a “divine” one, but is our ego kicking in!
So I believe that there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting more. It is nature’s – or the divine’s – gift to us. But we need to make sure that the desire for more is balanced. In other words, we need to be in control of it rather than ‘it’ being in control of us. When we ‘control’ wanting more, we are free of emotional attachment or dysfunctional behavior. When we allow ‘it’ to control us, we experience emotional attachment to the outcome. Thus, if we don’t achieve or get something we wanted, we can become upset, angry, manipulative, anxious, disappointed, depressed, revengeful and more.
If we control our wanting, it means we are free from all the negative emotions and behaviors that are associated with wanting more, and the more will have a positive impact on our lives: our personal relationships, our well-being and our happiness.
I believe that we can only achieve true happiness if we satisfy body-mind and spirit. And as you may know, our spirits are not fulfilled by the acquisition of external things but rather by the fulfillment of inner qualities such as the desire for acceptance, appreciation, kindness, respect and peace of mind for their own sake. And as we all know, an unhealthy pursuit of more rarely goes hand-in-hand with these more elusive qualities.