What do you choose? Happiness, money, both? Francesca wrestles with the topic of choosing happiness over money and vice versa.
Today is the International Day of Happiness. Month-end is also around the corner; it’s just not near enough. There’s no better time to discuss the relative value of happiness, compared to that of moola.
So, I just checked my bank account balance. It’s an absolute tragedy. As the familiar, yet daunting, feeling takes over, the thoughts begin to fly at me like angry daggers.
Will this always be the state of my bank account? Will I always require an intense debriefing session accompanied by a generous bowl of ice cream, every time I address my finances?
My tummy begins to churn.
The Age-old Question
Money versus happiness is the ultimate battle. I’ve pondered on this quite a lot. In fact, I ponder on it almost every day. Either I spend my entire life in a passionless job being financially comfortable, or I take on the role of a struggling artist living from hand to mouth.
Hang on; surely those can’t be my only two options. Why can’t I be happy and be a millionaire? And won’t being a millionaire make me happy in the first place? If there’s anyone who loves to shop, it’s me. Please don’t tell me money can’t buy happiness because someone who says that clearly doesn’t know where to shop. Okay, maybe I don’t believe that.
Maybe I believe that happiness is what burns a fire in your chest, the stuff you wake up for in the morning, the fuel that keeps you going. Although happiness won’t necessarily keep my bank account going now will it? Alright, alright, obviously we’re getting a little bit frantic. Deep breaths; deep breaths, only positive thoughts.
As the highly influential Bob Dylan declares,
“What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”
Words that ring true to me. Yes, as human beings we are all dependent on some sort of income to make it through each day. This ranges from basic needs like bread, water, electricity and education to even the most far-from-basic needs such as a new pair of Dr Martin boots which I so desperately desire. It is clear to see that money is a necessity and makes the world go round. However, I believe that every single one of us is placed on this earth for a reason. You may not know why yet but oh when you do, it will open a world of possibilities and evoke emotions in you which no amount of money could.
From a young age, the importance of passion has resonated with me and, naturally, as a hopeless romantic, I would sway towards that option. Of course, the difference between being young and naïve and on the verge of being set free into the big vicious working environment is that one side comes with an abundance of financial support from your parents whereas the other may not.
Stepping into Adulthood
So you’ve nearly reached the first quarter of the year. If you’re a final year student, this means you’re on your way to completing your studies. Yes, dedicating all your time, sweat and the more-than-occasional tear to your dream career will finally pay off. If student life is coming to an end then the “adult” world is ready to welcome you with open arms. Warning: this a suffocating grip which may just break you.
As a young person, this is probably the most crucial time in your life, and you’ll probably be bombarded with multiple opinions of which direction to follow. Some may say that passion is overrated and that it doesn’t count, while others may argue that without passion you’re doomed. You’ll be given a thousand opinions from others whilst making your own decision. However, the choice is ultimately yours, regardless of what Mummy or Daddy want for their precious duckling.
Pros of Choosing Passion/Happiness
1. You’ll always wake up with a desire to attend work.
2. You’ll be more driven to persevere when things get tough.
3. You’re less likely to have regrets.
4. Work won’t feel like work at all
5. Your body won’t experience as much strain as if you did something which made you unhappy; thus you’ll be healthier.
6. Passionate and happy people exude positive energy and others will feed off of this.
Cons of choosing Passion/Happiness
1. You may lose sight of the fact that you have to support yourself financially.
2. You may get too caught up in the romanticism of following your passion rather than honing your passion and craft, allowing you to progress in your career.
3. You may wake up one day to realise that your passion for something has mysteriously disappeared.
It’s always important to consider all the pros and cons when approaching decision making, and although these are just suggestions, they may help you compile your own lists. However after much contemplation, following my passion is definitely at the top of my list, and in preparing for life after graduation. Below I’ve compiled a few things I will constantly be reminding myself of.
Tips for the Soul
- Save, Save, Save! A word which my parents cannot stop saying to me. As obvious as it is, saving will prevent you from running empty while trying to build a career.
- Set goals for yourself. This will not only help you progress in your career but also keep you on track to where you want to be.
- Plan well. It’s perfectly fine to be sure of what you want to achieve, however knowing how you’re going to get there is just as important.
- Stay focused. Don’t lose sight of your goals, dedicate yourself 100% towards your passion.
- Persevere. You’ve chosen to pursue what makes you happy, you owe it to yourself to try your best and not give up.
It all Starts with YOU
“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there’s love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”
Ella Fitzgerald sums it up perfectly.
“Where there’s love and inspiration…” only good can come.
Some may believe that the universe gives you exactly what you put in, and if hard work and dedication are what you invest, you’re bound to succeed. In his book, 5 vital tips to being successful, Osman Hameed shares that success requires hard work, the ability to rely on yourself, as well as having confidence in yourself. You need to trust that you are more than capable to achieve what you desire and it all starts with YOU. Hameed continues by saying that waiting for opportunities to come to you won’t get you anywhere. Success requires you to be hungry for your craft, success requires you to be the ultimate go-getter.
What Hameed preaches speaks volumes and the truth is, whether you choose happiness or money your success lies with you; your success lies with how much you put out into the universe.
In closing, I say go forth and be happy. You only live once, why live a life that is passionless? Yes, it may be an extremely bumpy ride and yes, people may constantly nag you about choosing a more “stable” or “adult” career path but the fulfillment you will get once you succeed will be indescribable.
But don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with having money; my shopping addiction has already been declared 😉
So from me; a hopeless romantic yet sober thinker; your happiness is everything, prepare yourself, create and love (and don’t forget to breathe).
Choosing whether to pursue a career based on money or your passion can be very challenging. Educate yourself about the pros and cons of each as well as what each will really entail. At the end of your day the decision is yours, just be sure to make an informed one that will make you proud one day.