“Money doesn’t always bring happiness. People with ten million dollars are no happier than people with nine million dollars.”
Remember that the concept of wealth is relative. Clearly, there is a monumental difference between only having $100 in your pocket and having $100,000 in your bank account, but the incremental difference in happiness starts to get smaller as the absolute sum of money gets bigger. That’s why Hobart Brown says that there really is no difference in happiness between the guy with $9 million and the guy with $10 million.
And Brown would know a thing or two about what it means to be happy. He was the founder of Kinetic Sculpture Racing, an eccentric event where participants build human-powered vehicles that are really just fun art pieces. And then they race them down a street. It all started when Hobart decided to “enhance” his son’s tricycle, adding two wheels and turning it into a pentacycle instead. Others followed suit, getting more and more imaginative with their multi-wheeled creations.
Yes, for most intents and purposes, having money is better than not having money. It can be used to buy you all sorts of wonderful things, but money for its own sake is worthless. You have to use it effectively and you have to go about it with the right kind of mentality. Don’t get me wrong. I love cool new toys as much as the next guy, but we have to realize that money is simply a means to an end.
I’m not exactly sure where I first heard it, but there is a tongue-in-cheek line that I’ve been using for years. It goes something like this:
It may be true that money can’t buy you happiness, but it can certainly buy me the yacht that’ll get me happiness-adjacent.
In all seriousness, we have to realize that happiness can oftentimes come from the simplest of things. Relaxing on a beach with an ice cream cone, for example. Or, in the case of Kinetic Sculpture Racing, building the most outlandish-looking contraption possible and parading it around with other outlandish-looking contraptions.