I do not believe that money and happiness are directly correlated.
I also believe that happiness (or bliss I should say) is not the fulfillment of life, conceded of course that whatever fulfills me makes me happy. I am mildly terrified I believe this because I have been financially steady my whole life and that makes me out to be pretty unsympathetic.
But people's problems never go away, and I refuse to believe that the point of our lives is to survive or to live comfortably.
What does this mean? Do I say, "Thanks mom and dad, now I'm going to splurge my life away?" Of course not. But using the greater portion of the life given me just to provide material things like food and security to my children isn't on the tippy top of my list either; my parents wanted more for me than that.
So what really makes a difference? What really says thank you like nothing else? What lasts for an eternity?
Alright, alright no hippie jokes, hear me out for a second. My parents gave to us out of love - that's what makes their gifts to me so special... that's what makes the opportunities they gave us so valuable. That's why handwritten cards are always better than manufactured ones.
If you could choose between having a robot dog that could do everything a real dog could do - feels the same, acts the same, etc. - or if you could have a real dog, which would you choose?
While the robot dog seems like a really cool idea, we realize that the dog is programmed to do everything. The real dog, we give it food and water, leave it alone for most of the day while we are working... but then when we come home and turn that doorknob, that dog scrambles up to its feet and slobbers all over you.
It chooses to love you.
My parents have loved me so much that they have now given me the opportunity to love too. And in doing so I find the greatest of joys; in other words, loving others fulfills me.
But there are many ways to love. Sacrificing years and years in arduous schooling to become wealthy enough to provide for others (e.g., children) is absolutely one of those ways! Other ways of loving include staying up late for a friend, giving your money to the poor, and making music. Alright so if I want to spend my life being fulfilled by loving others, I want to find a way where I can love best - which, like any career-finder, is the culmination of a majority of gifts I have been given, paired with what I am passionate about. So for me personally, I am currently acting on the hope that I can share and make the biggest difference to people by being an artist.
But let's just say for argument's sake that I am really passionate about certain blends of tea and I want to share this soothing, healthy, soul-warming product with as many people as I can. I quickly realize that the more affordable and efficient I make it, the more people will get to experience its goodness more often.
So I make a few batches of said tea, and then begin to freely hand it out to my friends. My friends love it and are extremely thankful, but suddenly I realize that my resources are drying up and I will soon run out of the funds to make more tea to share.
So the next few batches I make, I sell.
The money earned from said tea allows me to make more tea! Awesome! Oh and of course, I also use that earned money to feed myself and keep myself healthy so I can keep making tea. Before I know it, I am the CEO of a multinational company that mass produces amazing-tasting tea at affordable prices.
Why am I saying all this? In order to give, in order to love, I have to receive in one way or another. Otherwise, I will have nothing left to give. How much I receive is dependent on two things: how many people I impact, and the quality of that impact. In the words of Dr. Boroff at Seton Hall University:
"Business people are noble people."
Now you're asking, how is this different than any other person making a living for themselves? Exactly, it isn't! But wait, it really is! I sincerely believe that there is a huge difference between a product sold out of love than a product sold out of self-interest. These differences can be manifested in the quality of work and in how a company behaves ethically and such.
So I find myself at college trying to learn how best to love in accordance with the gifts given me and the passions I have. I weighed the pros and cons, and often doubt whether or not I made the right choice. But if that diploma is what you need to get that first job, then great, I'm glad we're in the same class! For me, what I actually learn is critical, and the connections I make are indispensable to the value of college.
I often feel like the word 'connections' gets a bad rep - that it implies we use our connections to gain for ourselves. But connections are a spark, a common vision, a touch, a relationship through which love can be shared. And people love people who love people. Start loving people, and you will create amazing connections - connections that will love to tell people about you. Wait, so I can love people while I pursue my career - which is geared towards loving - and those people I love will love me back by sharing with others about the love I have to give! Swag!
Love becomes multiplied.
This is where the 'college experience' comes in, because the experience is really all about the genuine care that you get from friends and teachers. In the words of Christopher McCandless:
"Happiness is only real when shared."
My art teacher once shared this with me. Once there was a man who had a ton of bricks to build a house on the side of a path. Every so often, someone would come and ask him for just one brick, one small favor. It was just one brick, so of course the man gave him one. Then another came along, and another, and another, and he kept giving his bricks away. But eventually he no longer had enough bricks to build a house. Without the house, he could not shelter his family and provide many people a warm place to stay the night.
Still another man was building his house on the same path. He refused to give any bricks away, and built a massive mansion for himself. No one was allowed to enter except for himself and his pet chihuahua. Consequently, the other villagers despised him, and so they invaded his home and murdered his dog. The man was so stricken with sorrow that he died. (Yes I made this up).
Loving is by no means easy - it is simpler than we make it out to be, and more complex than we care to venture. It requires a lot of brainpower! It requires creativity! It requires the humility necessary to be flexible and adaptable. It requires perseverance and resilience.
Alright I'm all pooped out. What are your thoughts? Am I as crazy as I think you think I am?
I'll end with this - even if I am wrong, or too idealistic...wouldn't you rather live your life like this anyways?
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