Some seek happiness through wealth and status, some through deeds and actions. What about a spiritual component of happiness? Can we be happy without having some form of faith?
Managing money for a living has led me lately to think a lot about the nature of happiness. I’ve watched documentaries, and read books that attempt to identify, define, and measure happiness.
Money and happiness are not entirely unrelated. While wealth, and specifically money, does not necessarily create happiness, it can be a tool on the path to happiness.
Meaningful work, material success, and abundance can lead to some level of fulfillment. Perhaps I’m splitting hairs, but fulfillment and happiness do not necessarily mean the same thing to me. Think of fulfillment as a static or passive form of happiness, a state of mind. Think of happiness as an active emotion, one that needs constant feeding. Fulfillment is more easily sustained; happiness is perhaps more quickly achieved.
The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard believes people first attempt to attain fulfillment by acquiring stuff, all of which ultimately becomes meaningless. Seeking deeper fulfillment, people turn to deeds or causes, perhaps by helping others, or by following their conscience. That too will ultimately prove meaningless, Kierkegaard says, without faith, a fixed belief in something beyond the material world. He is talking about, God.
Do you need faith in your life to have true fulfillment and happiness?
To a point, money can buy happiness, but that point is quickly reached. Once basic needs like food and shelter are met, money cannot make us appreciably happier. That is because the power of money is limited. People who are wealthy don’t necessarily have more time, or better relationships. They might have more toys, but those toys need maintenance – what they own can also own them. Riches can isolate even as they provide.
At Highland, our clients generally want to be good stewards of their wealth. They feel blessed for what they have and are conscientious when it comes to directing their wealth. They want to enable their children rather than spoil them, and are committed to doing some good for their communities and causes.
They prescribe to various faiths. Some are Christian; some are Jewish; some are agnostic.
I happen to believe having a spiritual component in your life is necessary for true happiness. But where does that spirituality fit in?
We have written often about living fully, a philosophy we try to both practice and preach in our work. We help people manage their wealth, and in a larger sense, we try to help them manage their happiness too, happiness that leads eventually to the way you define spirituality.
How do you see faith fitting into a life fully lived?