When people think of success nowadays, the amount of monetary income one receives usually springs to mind. The youngsters of my generation habitually mistake the pursuit of money- mere tokens of exchange- for the pursuit of happiness. The idea that money is an intrinsic source of happiness is centred on an exceptionally flawed premise. Children nowadays are indoctrinated with the idea that hard work leads to a higher income, and that, in turn, a higher income is somehow synonymous with happiness- with finally being at peace with oneself.
In reality, the accumulation of wealth does little more to the soul than threaten to poison it with greed and eternal restlessness. As human beings, it is wired into our nature to constantly pursue things that give us a temporary rush- a fleeting escape from reality. We want and want, and we receive, yet still we are never satisfied. Ultimately, I can only compare the blind pursuit of money to one concept: attempting to fill a void of despondence with paper money, unaware of the fact that the money will simply disintegrate and decompose.
The only thing that can truly sustain and replenish our souls is love- love for people, for concepts, for the beautiful existence we share. Money cannot make a person infinitely happy. Granted, it can buy you certain material goods that will give you a short-lived taste of ‘happiness’, but no number of designer handbags or super cars can ever replace the inherent bliss that stems as a result of the shared human experience: love, friendship, laughter, peace.
The evidence for this is everywhere. The world is full of inconceivably wealthy men and women who possess everything their hearts have ever desired, and more. But these people forget about the aforementioned human experiences- too often we read about celebrities who have developed severe mental disorders or resorted to drug abuse because the money they owned did little to sustain them spiritually. In the same vein, the world is also filled with people who only possess bare necessities- young children in rural parts of Africa and India who own little more than a few rags they wear as clothes, yet they still somehow manage to be happy. Their happiness is prolonged and genuine; it does not rely on something as soul-destroying and illusory as money.
Sadia Ahmed, 2016