2 years ago
I saw a survey quite recently which invited people to pose the one question they’d like answered above all others. And guess what the most common question was…
How do I make a million pounds?
I was thinking about that when I saw the results of some other research the other day which suggests that peoples ‘happiness quotient’ doesn’t rise once their income goes above about £35,000 a year in the UK. A subject I have already touched upon in an earlier blog.
So there’s a bit of an anomaly here. People always want to know how to get rich, but they’re unlikely to experience any enhanced happiness, should they actually achieve that goal.
So what’s going on then?
The answer of course, is that nobody believes they won’t lead a happier and more fulfilled life with a million or two in the bank – no matter what any research suggests.
Now I’m not going to get into that debate here. If I told you that the research is true, you’d probably say that it’s all right for me because I’m already a millionaire (I wish). And if I told you it isn’t true, you’d say I’d got a vested interest because I push stories and services which should help people go out and somehow improve their financial position.
But I recently heard an interesting quote though, which might give you a clue to the truth of the matter. It comes from a controversial mystic (of all things!) called Osho. Anyway, here’s the quote:
“Everyone should own a Rolls Royce.
You can see God better from the seat of a Rolls Royce.”
Let me explain…
In 1954, Abraham Maslow published his groundbreaking work on Personality and Motivation, which introduced the concept of a hierarchy of needs. I won’t go into the full detail of that here (far too boring!) but the basic idea is this:
Humans have a hierarchy of needs which will motivate them – starting from the physiological needs (hunger, thirst, shelter) and then moving on to safety and security needs, and then social needs before arriving at the need for ‘self actualisation’. That’s the need to do the thing or things you really want to do – the things you feel you were born to do.
Now I’ve simplified this an awful lot here, but the important point is that… each need has to be satisfied in a certain order before moving on to the next. So safety and security only become important when you’ve solved the hunger, thirst and shelter issue. The need for love and self esteem only kick in as a motivator once you’re comfortable and you know you’re not going to be murdered in your bed. And so on…
So what’s that got to do with anything?
Well, welcome to Andy’s New Hierarchy of Needs.
You see, I reckon that slotted into the modern day hierarchy of needs (somewhere between safety and self actualisation) is the desire to own big houses, fancy cars and lots of toys… in other words to be rich! And even though this stage is pretty universally accepted to be futile in the quest for real happiness (for those who have passed through it at least) it’s such a strong desire in most people in the western world, that it totally obscures the view of what, if anything lies beyond.
In fact for many people, it’s the only ultimate destination and there is nothing of consequence beyond it. It’s the only key to eternal happiness and contentment… Get rich… buy lots of toys… go and sit on a beach… and live happily ever after. End of story.
So going back to the quote from Osho, let me now paraphrase it in words that make more sense to me if nobody else:
“Everyone should be wealthy, because you can only
see what’s really important when you’re wealthy.”
You see, once the desire (need?) to have enough money to buy all the stuff you could ever dream of has been satisfied… and you realise that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be… only then can you start the search for ‘something else’… the next real need. Almost everyone with more than a dozen brain cells does it this way.
What that something else is though, will differ from person to person, but it will almost certainly be tied up with a need for self esteem, achievement, and in the words of Maslow – ‘self actualisation’. Most of us can’t identify it though - and it doesn’t therefore fully motivate us - until the ‘get rich’ need (whatever that means to you) has been somehow fulfilled.
So I suppose I’d better plod on regardless then, simply helping you through my words, to make you more money than is decent.
It’s a horrible job, but someone has to do it I suppose.
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