Our Eternal Pursuit of More Wealth

by David Ning · 9 comments

hamster wheel
Photo credit: Shika Kaoin
Picking the wrong goals is like running on the hamster wheel. Once you achieve one goal, you set another and then another after that.  No matter how many goals you achieve, you are back to square one as you set new ones.  There is really no end game.

Money is the Best Example of This

Think back to the time when you were young and had nothing. You might have a goal like “I want to be a millionaire” or something like that.  You run up that wheel but realize that no matter how hard you run, you seem to be stuck at the bottom.  You look up and ponder about what could have been, but all that motivation just makes you run harder and harder.

The more you drive for making more money, the less you live for yourself.  You work those extra hours, only to sacrifice time with your family.  You worry about your finances, only to create tension between you and your spouse.  You nickel and dime every opportunity, only to find that you scarred so many relationships.

The older you grow, the more you realize that it’s not money that you seek.  It’s the freedom, it’s the health and it’s the family that you really treasure.  You learn that money is only the vehicle that helps you get to your goal but not the goal itself.  Finally, you stop running because you realize that there’s no point when you already have what you need by resting at the bottom.

Some people realize this early, while others unfortunately much later.  Eventually we all know – money is important but there really are much more to happiness than having money.

It’s never enough, as you’ve no doubt heard before.  But in many different ways, it’s always enough.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Neal Frankle March 5, 2009 at 6:54 am

This is such an important question.

Ask this question “What’s important about money to me?” and the priorities become clear. If family, security and retirement float to the top of the list, it makes it easy for me to pass up the Lamborghini. (It also helps me make career decisions too.)

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Travis @ CMM March 5, 2009 at 7:21 am

Just stumbled across your site and I have to say it looks great. You’re doing an amazing job. Great post by the way. You’re exactly right, if all we focus on is acquiring more money, we’ll miss out on what life is really about.

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Shak March 5, 2009 at 10:58 am

I love this post. Thank you.

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Craig March 5, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Agree, money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness, it buys the freedom so you can enjoy living life. It also buys cool things, but its more about enjoying life, than being stressed out every second.

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PerfectMOney Share Idea March 6, 2009 at 1:02 am

Beautiful Words.it looks like catching a wisdom after I see will smith movie.”pursued of happiness.and more about this Quote “It’s never enough, as you’ve no doubt heard before. But in many different ways, it’s always enough”I know MY EGO have to agree with this.or I will be the late generation who lately realize that the ends of live no longer buy able by any means of money

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Chiko777 March 8, 2009 at 12:07 pm

I agree, most people need to understand exactly what they are after because most of the time it’s not the money, but the Freedom that it can potentially provide. Since most people trade hours for money, a lot of money (or a residual form of income) gives you the opportunity to buy your time back. One you’ve got time then you can freely spend it as you please.

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Ann March 15, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Unfortunately, some people want more and more money to buy things they don’t really need, buying things makes them feel happy, but that “happiness” is short lived and they need to keep buying to maintain their high. That is one of the reasons there is so much credit card debt. Some people also want to live beyond their means.

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Jason Unger March 27, 2009 at 9:24 am

Great post. Money is the tool, not the goal.

People generally get this when they think in terms of consumerism — “I need money to buy stuff” — but you need to take it from a different angle — “Money can help me achieve independence” to be truly free.

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