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Money, Minimalism, Happiness and Health

Money Can’t Buy Happiness, But Minimalism Can

We all reach for the highest form of success. Everyone wants a million dollar luxury home, a successful career, a loving family and unlimited money in the bank for spur of the moment vacations and for maybe even for a horse on a rural farm to ride whenever you please. Call it minimalist, but having things and lots of money can sometimes cause more stress than it can relieve. Financial success tends to fade quickly, and people who finally gain that success often become more stressed and paranoid about money. Its especially true here in San Diego and Southern California. A lot of weight is put on status and I see a lot of stressed out patients in my Banker’s Hill acupuncture office because of it. 

Let’s go through some limitations of success:

  • You are at the mercy of the economy: Financial success largely depends on the ebb and flow of the national economy and the world economy. When the economy takes a nose-dive, guess what, so does your wealth.
  • You can’t take it with you: In reality, when you pass away to the “other side,” your possessions no longer belong to you. In other words, you can’t take it with you.
  • It’s never enough: This is the catch-22 of financial success. The more financial wealth you gain, the more you will want more of it. The more your standard of living goes up, the more the feeling of “not enough” grows.

Now let’s compare these limitations to the benefits of success:

  • Your influence will always last: Sometimes with success comes great influence. (Think Martin Luther King). If you achieve success and notoriety you can also use your influence for good. This is a positive thing.
  • Influence can be passed on: Just like a ripple effect. If you have great influence to give, your influence will affect other people and they will affect others etc.
  • Being influential is pretty satisfying: At the end of the day, knowing that you’ve influenced others’ lives can mean a great deal. It’s a feeling that is much more full and enriching than financial success.

But can we gain influence without gaining financial success? Of course! Here are some tips that can help you on your path to finding significance and influence in your life:

  • Life won’t last forever: We’re only here for a short while. And while that’s hard to think about, it’s true. Remind yourself every so often that your time on this planet is limited and you’ll find you will be more present day to day.
  • Focus on people, not money: Start to focus on the people around you and just see how your influence will start to spread. Instead of worrying all day about how you will make more money, try worrying about how to make someone happy or what to do to put a smile on your spouse’s face. The positivity will come back to you tenfold.
  • Find purpose outside your job: Often jobs can be mundane and we can even develop anxiety and depression from our 9 to 5 grind. Finding a fulfilling purpose outside of your job like volunteering somewhere or learning acupuncture will make you feel influential again.
  • Influence is not dependant on success: Many people believe that money is directly correlated with influence. This is just not true. The two concepts are very separate. You can have influence volunteering at a women’s shelter in San Diego the same way you’d have influence by buying all of your friends a round of drinks.

Chasing financial wealth ultimately won’t make you happy. It might for a little while, but if you don’t have the other components of positive psychology in place, it will never seem good enough. Don’t underestimate the power of helping others in your community, even if it’s just paying someone  a compliment here and there. You’ll see your influence start to add up and the you’ll be in a better place when you receive financial wealth.


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