Here's an anecdote my friend once told me:
A Western, white man finds a brown, indigeous Indonesian lying around on the beach, somewhere on the shores of Java. "Why aren't you working?" asked the white.
"Why should I?" asked the brown.
"So you can have money."
"So one day you can lie around on the beach, and enjoy life without worrying about anything."
"But I'm already doing that."
In Harry Potter #1, there's a story about a mirror. When one looks into this mirror, he will see himself in the form of what he desires most. For example, one sees himself receiving an award. Harry Potter sees himself besides his two deceased parents whom he never met. The happiest person just sees himself as he is.
Imagine you're looking into this mirror, and figure how much money is related to what you see. No, please really think about it. You want self-esteem? Then treat people respectfully. You want a new experience? Go interact with people you'd never thought you would. You want to feel good? Give something that you value to a nice person who needs it more than you do. Then forget about what you've done.
Paradoxically, happiness is easiest to achieve by giving something away. So go ahead: make dinner for your wife. Recite a poem for your partner. Win a basketball game for your boyfriend. Give her a massage. Do it wholeheartedly. Now you see what I'm talking about.
One of my mentors, Kang Didi, has a really cool catch-phrase: "gampang senang" (easily happy). And he's right: happiness is easy to find. It's all in our minds. Money sure is valuable. Just don't forget to be happy while you pursue it.
Previous posts on happiness: 1, 2, 3, 4
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