Money can’t buy it.
As each generation approaches their senior years, a common understanding prevails, a person can have all the luxuries in the world, but without love, they mean very little. Ultimately, the lesson is learned, you simply can’t buy your way out of the human condition.
Yet recently I read with dismay that eighty percent of Millennials listed getting rich as their major life-goal. Fifty percent added, becoming famous as their other aspiration.
I cannot imagine the depth of disillusionment and despair that lies ahead for these young men and women, for money and fame are not the dubious achievements that make us happy. They have little to do with the healthy, sustained relationships that make us truly fulfilled.
Having a mobile phone glued to your ear does not qualify as a healthy relationship. There actually is a phobia associated with the use of cell phones! Nomophobia refers to a psychological syndrome in which a person is afraid of being out of mobile or cell phone contact – “no-mobile-phone phobia.”
Add this common acronym found on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter – FOMO, the Fear of Missing Out. Clearly too many young people have a lengthy Contacts list substituting for genuine, close relationships that thrive on loyalty, empathy, honesty and trust.
As to becoming famous, my caution is, be careful what you wish for. There is much to validate the expression, ‘It is lonely at the top.’ The dynamic cuts two ways, on one hand the ego can swell to be intolerably condescending with those beneath and on the other, suspicion of those seeking connection can prompt paranoia about their motives. And of all the deterrents to happiness, it is loneliness that is most toxic.
There are time proved constants to tell us the components of a happy life.
The best known is the Harvard Grant Study, “Secrets of living a happy life,” started in 1938 and conducted over the course of 75 years. Researchers tracked a range of factors and compiled a combination of statistics and personal stories that tell us what it takes to live a happy life.
Primary to the study’s conclusion: value love above all else; it is the key to happiness. The author of the report writes that there are two pillars of happiness: one is love; the other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.
The author concludes it is meaningful relationships and connections with other people that matter, and matter more than anything else in the world.
Finally, in regard to the unending, ruthlessly demanding efforts to over achieve that pressure so many of us, the evidence is overwhelming; being content at your work and having a meaningful connection to the type of work you are doing is far more important than achieving ego-driven success.
I’ll give the last words to an icon of the younger generation, Steve Jobs, who actually posted his last words on social media!
“Stop pursuing wealth, it can only make a person into a twisted being… we can feel the love in the heart of each of us, and not illusions built by fame or money… I can only take with me the memories that were strengthened by love… this is the true wealth that will accompany you.”