John Davison (J.D.) Rockefeller was founder of the Standard Oil Company and the richest man in America at the time of his death in 1937. Mr. Rockefeller was once asked in an interview, “Considering all that you have done and all that you have – more than you could ever spend or use – how much is enough?” Mr. Rockefeller simply responded, “Just a little bit more.” His response was similar to many people today. We have come to believe that big bank accounts, large portfolios and material possessions are the pathway to happiness. Yet, why are so many people with those things miserable? Even Mr. Rockefeller stated, “I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness.” How many people have this type of mindset, always acquiring but not fulfilled? Society tells us that material possessions equal happiness, but is that true?
Our society tends to judge a person’s value by what he owns rather than by his character. The driving desire of so many is to gain as much as they can, as fast as they can, anyway they can! Yet, is life that meaningless? Sadly, for some it appears to be. Report after report exists that make us question the idea that ‘having it all’ means your quality of life is better.
John Jacob Astor, a multimillionaire once said, “I am the most miserable man on earth.” Andrew Carnegie once said, “Millionaires seldom smile.” Henry Ford also said, “I was happier when I was doing a mechanics job.” Despite what those “at the top” say, we still seem to think the only way we can be happy is if we have more. However, researchers have found almost no correlation between income levels and happiness Reports have indicated that at a t ime when U.S. income levels doubled, people’s levels of happiness did not increase. In fact, reports of depression actually increased tenfold. Incidences of divorce, suicide, alcoholism and drug abuse rose dramatically.
We have been told by advertisers, friends and colleagues, and our own hearts that we “just gotta have it”, whatever “it” is. Yet, when is enough, enough?
There is nothing wrong with having things. If you have a good job, a nice house, a large portfolio, that’s awesome. Have you ever considered, however, how many people are living under the burden of debt? Or how many marriages fail due to one spouse overworking to obtain “things”? So many people spend much of their lives pursuing possessions; they often miss some of the most important things in life.
So how do we live abundantly with joy and good health? I believe it starts with re-focusing our priorities.
- First, we need to get rid of the “ME” attitude and be more considerate of others. The most joyful people I know are people who do what they can to help others.
- Second, be grateful. So many people are simply not thankful for what they have. Too many people in this country don’t consider the fact that they live an easier life than most people around the globe. Creating a Gratitude Journal helps us review our thankfulness.
- Third, be content. Contentment is arriving at the place where we need nothing more than what we have, regardless of how much or how little that is. Sit back, relax, and just BE with yourself a few minutes daily.
My wish for you is a life filled with kindness, thankfulness and contentment.