Professor Eric Devillez
19 October 2021
Can Money and Fame Buy Personal Happiness?
Since the best things in life are free and millionaires still battle depression and anxiety, learning to attain emotional and physical happiness is a personal journey, and money will not help achieve that. It is an age-old question asked by many; can money help buy personal happiness or life satisfaction? When you look at celebrities you see glamour, fame, fortune, but are they always happy? When you are a neighbor struggling to pay your bills, do you think they are happy? Would money fix their problems and improve their life, their happiness? Celebrities are always in the spotlight – their homes, their cars, their fashion, all top of the line. You see them on TV, in interviews, their relationship status and pictures of their dates plaster checkout lines like wallpaper. Having money and fame certainly comes with a price – lack of privacy. Happiness stems from the simple things in life: our families, the people we surround ourselves with and our day-to-day routines. Happiness is a tough word to define. The way of measuring happiness is different for everyone. Few people trust that money can buy happiness, whereas others disagree. Although having lots of money will surely provide people with a lot of ways to entertain themselves, it can’t buy love and joy.
Benjamin Franklin stated that,” Money has never made man happy, nor will it; there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness (Campbell 1).” Money is a source of short- term
happiness and gives millionaires pleasure for a certain amount of time, but the satisfaction doesn’t last within them. Dana White, president of the UFC, sold his company for $4.2 billion. Dana is an extremely wealthy guy with enough money to make his grandkids children extremely wealthy. Dana has come out and stated that he loves his job but that he is not happy by any means. He has come out and said that there is only a certain number of nice cars and extravagant vacations that you can go on before you get sick of them (Pfaff 2). Working 7 days a week and almost 24 hours, Dana always explains that he is indeed miserable and doesn’t even have the time to use his money (Pfaff 3). That also comes with being a millionaire. Many of them work so much to obtain that amount of wealth that they don’t have the time or energy to go out and enjoy the simple things in life.
Most people believe that having more money would take away either most or all their problems. What they don’t realize is the more money you have, the more time and energy it takes to keep up with or take care of those belongings. Think about the home you live in. In 1920, the average home size was 1,000 square feet. Today, home sizes have expanded largely. While living in a bigger home may sound great, it does have its negatives to consider. It takes more time and effort to clean a larger home. The more stuff you own, the less free time you will have to enjoy life because you’ll be spending time maintaining and cleaning the things you bought. Bigger houses require a lot more maintenance than smaller homes. Bigger houses usually always require paying a lot more in property taxes too. If you ask most people how much money they need to be happy, the amount they give you will almost always be more than they currently have. It’s always more. The main problem with this is that when people earn a raise at work, they often buy more stuff that they want with it. Instead of being happy with the car they
currently drive, some will use a raise as an excuse to go out and buy a fancier car. What they don’t realize is that greed starts to take over and they will keep wanting more.
One of the keys to happiness in life is learning to be content with what you have. There are many benefits to living below your means. In addition to the obvious financial benefits, you’ll also have much less stress in your life. Two significant parts of life are earning loyalty and respect from the people that you surround yourself with. Those are both traits that money can’t buy. Those are both indeed, earned and not given. We earn loyalty when we take ownership for what should be done, and we earn respect by acting respectfully and treating others with respect. Being a leader in today’s world consists of earning loyalty and respect from not only your employees or subordinates, but also from your superiors.
Your mindset has a significant impact on your happiness, and it’s something that money can’t fix. If you’re a glass-half-empty person without a lot of money, chances are that your mindset will be similar even once you have money. Money tends to become a lot of people’s “master”. People often go to work to get a lot of money so that they can buy whatever they want. That tends to make people become a slave of their work and in other words makes money become their master. Working countless hours results in a person not even being able to enjoy their money or the extravagant items that they bought.
Something that every person in the world needs to survive is sleep. Sleep is an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up. Healthy adults need anywhere from 7-8 hours of sleep a night for their body to remain at its full capacity (Smith 1). Sleep is something that is completely free of cost. Money can help
buy you a comfortable bed, but it will not put you to sleep. Only a clear conscience can put you to sleep. Sleep disturbance, described as insomnia or hypersomnia, is one of the primary symptoms of major depressive disorder. People struggling with depression are likely to have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. The tricky thing is that sleep deprivation can also lead to depressed mood, moodiness, and irritability. When it comes to personal happiness, sleep is one of the most important parts to obtain that (Smith 3).
Two of the most famous movies of all time are Mrs. Doubtfire and Jumanji. Not only were the directing and script far above amazing, but the acting of Robin Williams is also what really intrigued the viewers. His huge smile and comedic scenes had the ability to draw the viewer in while wanting to see more of his films. Outside of his amazing films, the average person thought that they were looking at a happy, wealthy, and successful man. Two of those things turned out to be true while one turned out to be wrong. Robin Williams committed suicide due to his chronic depression in 2014. Robin Williams was suffering from relationship problems, financial problems, drug addiction, and major depression (Lewis 2). All those factors led to his suicide. That made a lot of people think, how can someone with a net worth of $50 million commit suicide due to chronic depression. Fame comes along with having a lot of money and always being on the spotlight. Williams personal life, which money isn’t what benefited him, is what got him killed in the end even while having millions of dollars.
Many famous celebrities turn to drugs as a source to get away from the life they are living or to even to take away the pain of having everything they do be all over social media and T.V. Famous and extremely wealthy actor Macauley Culkin is an example of how wealth and fame can affect your life in a negative way. Macauley is known for being in the popular “Home
Alone” movies where he is just a child and escapes two robbers attempting to break into his house while his family forgot him on vacation. Macauley, who was only 10 years old when the first Home Alone was filmed, became extremely wealthy at an extremely young age. Due to the spotlight and wealth, Macauley turned to drugs to escape reality. He was spending up to $6,000 a month on heroin and prescription drugs. He became addicted to heroin, oxycodone, Percocet, and Vicodin (Huff Post 2). Culkin hasn’t gotten any offers to be in any roles even though he still wants too. His depression is the most known reason his him not landing any roles in movies due to him being sad and lonely (Huff Post 1).
There is a famous saying that the best things in life are free (Varoufakis 1). Life is very simple, but we tend to make it complicated. Money is important, but it isn’t what gets a human a lifetime of satisfaction or joy. Since fame or extreme wealth can’t buy happiness, do you know what else those can’t buy? It can’t buy love, time, or peace of mind. Love is an emotion that can only be experienced. Love is intimate and cherished that money can never buy. If someone is dating or married to you because of your fame or wealth, then that is not true love. Time is another cherished item that we can’t control. You never know how much time you have left on this earth, nor can you get time back. It doesn’t matter how much fame or money a person has; money doesn’t affect time or can’t turn the clock back. Peace of mind does not depend on your bank statement. It depends on how you train your mind and set your expectations. Day to day happiness usually stems from the community that surrounds them every day. That can be your family, your loved ones or even the neighbor across the street. Those are the people that can help determine your happiness because those are the ones that have been by your side and will continue to be by your side. Money can’t buy you the bond of a close friend or loved one.
Something that we should always keep in mind is that money begs for more money. One of the focus points of a normal person’s lifestyle is to get a good job and earn wealth, but if earning wealth is the sole purpose of one’s life then that can be dangerous and harmful. One will never be happy and peaceful and will then always keep looking for more wealth. That person will never be satisfied. No amount of wealth can be seen as “enough”. Many people use their job and the money that comes along with it to pinpoint their happiness, but it depends on how they love their job and whether their outlook on their job is positive. With that job, and the money that comes with it, there is a possibility of creating a barrier between the person and their loved ones.
Even success doesn’t come only with the power of money, it comes with hard work, determination, and worship. You need to devote yourself to your passion, fight for it all the time and believe in yourself, then only you can manage to be a real achiever. Money can buy a person a house, but it can’t buy a person a home. Since the best things in life are free and millionaires still battle depression and anxiety, learning to attain happiness is a personal journey, and no wrong paths can be taken.
2 new possible thesis
If millionaires can use their wealth to fulfill their own satisfaction in life while using their wealth wisely, then money can help buy them personal happiness and satisfaction but only for a short term. (That was my original one, but I still like it).
The best things in life like earning respect and loyalty are free which is why millionaires still struggle with anxiety and depression.
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Huff Post. “Macaulay Culkin Depressed: Source Claims Actor Is ‘Sad And Lonely”. Huff Post. 2017. Macaulay Culkin Depressed: Source Claims Actor Is ‘Sad And Lonely’ | HuffPost Entertainment. Accessed 6, Dec 2017.
Lewis, Hilary. “Robin Williams long struggle with addiction”. Hollywood Reporter, 2014. Robin Williams’ Long Struggle With Addiction | Addiction Education Society. Accessed 11 Aug, 2014
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Pfaff, Christopher. “Dana White Inspiring Speech: Money Can’t Buy HAPPINESS”. YouTube, 2019. Dana White Inspiring Speech: Money Cant Buy HAPPINESS – YouTube. Accessed 21, Aug 2019
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Varoufakis, Yanis. “Are the best things in life free?”. New York Times, 2021. What Does The Best Things in Life Are Free Mean? – Writing Explained. Accessed 10, Dec 2015