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Money vs. Happiness

People's dreams and aspirations always differ in their nature. Someone wishes to become a lawyer, another a famous actor. Some may want to travel the world and never limit themselves to a life in a single city. However, all of these dreams are currently limited by one factor: money. Financial stability in a world where money dominates is crucial when making career and life decisions. Nowadays, deciding between following your passion and pursuing something you know will bring you financial comfort looks pretty pressing. Is it better to lead a happy and fulfilled life with limited options due to lack of money or to be rich and maybe regret having given something up? And could money and happiness coexist at all? Exploring the dilemma of cash versus pleasure is something everyone should think about when choosing their path. 


Typically, careers in creative industries, food production, nursing, and such, are considered low-income. The stereotype that artistic people earn less and have worse prospects in life has presided over people's minds for a while now. Although it is still imposing to be an artist, writer, chef, or musician, it is usually so due to its otherness. When thinking of these, people usually come up with examples of celebrities such as J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Beyoncé, Jim Carrey, Kim Kardashian, and others. These people have transformed their passion into a well-paid career. However, they are usually considered to be a few lucky exceptions. Nevertheless, it is crucial to remember that you can become someone and use your talent for good, even without becoming a celebrity. 


But is it worth pursuing a career you assume doesn't involve a high income? It is essential to understand that even creative industries can affect financial stability. Despite a common belief that artists usually struggle to make ends meet, some professions in that field are very well paid. Careers such as publishers, event managers, music teachers, screenwriters, models, literary agents, and so on are not discussed enough in schools and universities. All these can ensure a comfortable life for those interested while saving them the misery of giving up on their preferences. Therefore, thinking outside the box and exploring your options instead of going for stereotypical careers is crucial. 


However, if your passions lie somewhere you don't think will provide security, you may still choose to pursue higher-paid careers. These usually have something to do with finance, education, law, and medicine. Although these seem respectable and exciting, for someone who has no interest, such a lifestyle may be challenging to lead. Going against your dreams may often lead to depressive episodes, feelings of apathy, and hatred towards yourself, your life, and the entire world. On the one hand, you are comfortable and may be able to afford more than others. On the other hand, money won't bring you happiness. 


Worldly things may provide temporary satisfaction. Everyone enjoys going on regular holidays, eating out, buying nice clothes, etc. Such things make people feel fulfilled at the moment. However, the reality hits as soon as the primary excitement wears off. The weight of being miserable day-to-day can't be lightened through these little things, as you are still looking forward to returning to work every day. If each day is hard to live, then the entire life becomes unbearable, and people start living from holiday to holiday, weekend to weekend. Even with a lot of money, such a life is unhappy and unfulfilled.  


Although money isn't everything, many believe it is easier to live when you have a lot. However, a study by researchers Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton suggests no direct correlation between richness and happiness. Wealthier people don't become happier as their income increases. Although, people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds experience more misery, pain, and emotional distress. 


The same paper also suggests that higher-income people are less prone to savoring day-to-day pleasures. Their days are typically too busy to make time for psychological well-being. Work, business meetings, and negotiations keep them from spending time with their loved ones, enjoying a late movie night, or sleeping on Saturday mornings. Although some may enjoy such a life, it doesn't necessarily make people happier than they used to be. 


Despite people's emotional state not improving with a rising incometheir satisfaction with their lifestyle usually does.However, does that mean they become happier? Or could we consider it shallow happiness? While true enjoyment and fulfillment come from within oneself, feelings of contentment about lifestyle are stimulated by outside factors. And emotions affected by the outside world are usually highly volatile and, in this case, strictly depend on people's salary and ability to afford certain goods and services. Therefore, real happiness seems unattainable. Even more so if the job you are undertaking is the one you don't enjoy. 


Although happiness and money don't seem to correlate, there is undoubtedly some connection between the two. Depending on the situation, people can feel happy with no money, just as they can feel miserablet with all the money in the world. Similarly, money and happiness can coexist, as higher income doesn't necessarily mean dissatisfaction, as mentioned above. But the choice between pursuing your dreams or financial stability must be weighed with completeseriousness. After all, it is a decision that will last and affect you for a lifetime. 


Despite many scientists and philosophers speculating on existential meaning, it appears highly unlikely that an artificialconcept such as money could be the answer. Therefore, maybe it is worth opting for happiness and trying to make your passion into a successful career rather than denying yourself the satisfaction of doing what you love. Although paying the bills is hard, you can always think of a way to improve your standard of living through a side hustle without rejecting your dreams entirely.

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