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Published: Sunday March 31, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday April 24, 2013 MYT 2:20:19 PM

The measure of happiness

Another new year has dawned but in retrospect, I wonder whether some people’s attitude and outlook have changed with each passing year as they grow increasingly mature with life’s experiences.

As I read Christina Chin’s story on Opting For A Simple Life (Sunday Star, Dec 30), it really reinforces my conviction that money doesn’t buy you a more spiritual and valued life; it only enhances your materialistic needs. Many rich and successful professional people and businessmen have given up their luxurious lifestyles for a more simple, yet happy family life.

Would you agree that you are happier when you have family members as permanent companions and caretakers who are concerned about your health and well-being, and you don’t have to worry about loneliness haunting you, rather than having a lot of money in the bank which can’t help you spiritually anyway?

It is more fulfilling to lead a life that gives one faith and real values, rather than to wake up every day and find ways to make more money to keep up with the Joneses.

Some people equate money with happiness. To them, the more money you have, the happier you will be because you can flaunt it in front of your friends and neighbours, and show off your expensive cars, house, latest Samsung Galaxy Notebook II, luxurious lifestyle and dine at posh restaurants.

It likens to a competition which clearly gives the message: “Look, I am more capable and wealthier than you.”

On the other hand, there are many wealthy people out there who prefer to lead a simple life as long as there are sufficient necessities to meet their daily needs. They continue to use their 15-year-old car, old Nokia handphone and only essential necessities which will suffice. No branded bags, flashy clothes, jewellery and no need to compare with others. They lead a simple, realistic life as long as they are happy.

Who knows how much they really have in the banks, as they don’t reveal it to you.

We often see on the television, how people in rural communities lead a healthy, simple and happy life, even though they just live from hand to mouth. They breathe in fresh air and eat healthily, food that isn’t cholesterol-laden, which the wealthier tend to do.

Some people are so obsessed with material luxury that they will look at you from head to toe and judge you as they feel you don’t meet their standards. They will avoid you and not visit you as they think your house is too scanty. They will try to join social clubs where they can meet some celebrity, Datuk or Tan Sri. As soon as they spot one, they will introduce themselves.

“You look great today, can I take a photo with you?” they’ll say. Once the photo has been taken, they will show it around, and let’s not forget flaunting it on Facebook, so that they can claim they know “so-and-so.”

They will try to pigeonhole you and look at you cynically if you lead a humble and simple lifestyle.

“Aiya, I don’t use that type of cheapskate thing,” you might hear them remark. “It’s not my style,” gesturing with a body language that speaks volumes to a humble man.

Look at the son of T. Ananda Krishnan. He could choose to be very arrogant and enjoy a cosy life given the wealth of his father yet he chose a more serene, humble life as a monk. Life’s values are not measured by material wealth and luxury.

Tan Sri Datuk Vincent Tan is now giving back what he has received from society as he has probably come to a greater realisation of the meaning of life.

It is the values, virtues, faith and goals in life that are more important. As long as you have sufficient money to keep you going, having more doesn’t make you a happier person. Happiness comes from doing what makes you feel satisfied and fulfilling.

Writing, doing creative work and seeing it to fruition can make you happier than winning a RM10,000 lottery if that amount of money does not serve any further purpose in your life.

One must live with dignity, honesty and humility even though others may look down on you. Actually, a poor man as you see him may be a rich man, as you never know how much he has as he doesn’t flaunt it.

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Lifestyle, heart soul, happiness, money

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