Buying freedom instead of comfort

You know what’s ironic? People who live from paycheck to paycheck. It’s sad because if you look at their expenditure, it’s very high. They spend so much that other people would describe their life as a luxury, yet they feel as if happiness lies in spending still more. Most people do not have the discipline and systems in place to spend less than they earn. Not only do they spend their entire income within a few days of receiving it, but they get into debt too.

Some of them may say they are “faking it until they make it”. But that’s stupid. Do you really think that people who live a significantly richer lifestyle than you are stressed about bills? Do you think they are deeply in debt and constantly worry that a small mishap will bankrupt them? How many people do you know who live extravagant lifestyles, but if they lose their job it’s a disaster? There will always be people one step above you on the income scale. It’s a lot more enjoyable to be securely on one level than it is to be on the next level and constantly worrying and having to struggle to stay there.

You hear about sports stars who earn millions but are still in debt. They still live paycheck to paycheck, and many become bankrupt when their income dwindles at the end of their career. They are used to spending a lot of money and don’t know how to cut down when their income decreases. Living right on the edge of disaster is frightening to most people. That’s why planning ahead and having buffers increase your happiness. You are not just set for the present, you can also say with some certainty that you will be set for some time to come.

I have no problem with enjoying life. Why should you make yourself miserable with penny-pinching when you can learn how to provide great value to society and live an abundant life? If your budget doesn’t balance, you have two options: Decrease your expenditure or increase your income.

Decreasing your expenditure will probably yield some immediate gains. Most people do not really examine what they spend their money on: probably many of your recurring bills or subscriptions were once useful to you, but no longer satisfy your desires. You can only spend so much less money before you are drastically decreasing your happiness and enjoyment of life.

Increasing your income has no upper limit. You have the potential to massively increase the value you provide to society. It only makes sense to focus your attention where it has the potential for much greater results. Limiting beliefs in this area are that you can only make more money by having better-paid employment. In reality being an employee is only one of the strategies people use to provide value and get paid for it.

Psychologically, people have four basic needs. If any of these needs are not met for prolonged periods of time, people become depressed and mentally unstable. They are: Autonomy (being free and making your own choices), Security (feeling safe physically and financially), Self-Esteem (living in alignment with your own values and moral code), and Connnection (being part of a group or loving relationships). People may pursue wildly diverging strategies for satisfying these needs, but all humans want to feel free, safe, proud and loved.

Yet only two of these values can be satisfied with money: autonomy and financial security. Money does not guarantee that these needs will be met, it only enables their fulfilment. You can create a prison for yourself by believing that you are not allowed to explore and worrying about the future. It’s a choice to provide value to society that is chained to a specific place and time every day as your primary contribution. There are many ways to earn money, and having a job at a fixed location is only one of them. You are currently earning a certain amount of money. Whether you choose to spend the money on necessities or luxuries or on skill improvement is up to you. Btw, the physical necessities are enough food to prevent you from starving, clothes, and shelter to prevent you from dying as a result of cold or heat. For thriving, different people choose different physical objects as requirements for happiness, even though if they got them they would not be happy.

The needs of connection and self-esteem cannot be bought, no matter what Gucci ads tell you.

The feeling of connection can be obtained In some form in your job environment where you feel part of a team, but hugs and complete acceptance of who you are will you probably only find at home, maybe not even there. Feeling connected comes from doing things with other people in real life and being part of something larger than yourself, be it a social movement or a religious community. It means doing something that not only matters to you but also matters to other people or large groups of people.

Self-esteem is very much an internal thing that you have to find by living as you think is right. If you try to find self-esteem only in external validation, you will never be happy. People who have low self-esteem become people pleasers and live their lives according to other people’s standard. People frequently withhold their love and approval to manipulate each other into conforming to their expectations.

No wonder people are so unhappy: They don’t know how to get their needs met using their money. Ads will only tell you about the needs that you can meet by buying their products. They don’t make a profit directly from your happiness, they make a profit directly from you buying their products. They will frequently promise to meet other needs as well, but they are lying. As far as I know hugs are not for sale.

When you have a buffer of savings for emergencies you attain peace of mind, because you know that you can easily cover unexpected costs. If you have money that you invest, you could reach a place where you do not have to do anything to maintain your lifestyle. You then focus only on the things that matter most to you, instead of constantly struggling to get your basic physical needs met. Both these results are desirable because they genuinely increase your overall happiness.

Spend your money on attaining freedom and security. Time is a limited resource, but you can always make more money.Take advantage of your freedom and  spend your time doing things that make you happy by satisfying your psychological needs and spiritual needs instead of superficial physical comfort that is soon forgotten and does not really increase your happiness.

PS: What you need isn’t a more expensive couch.

To happiness, and beyond!




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