Too many times, it seems to me, people tie the idea of being happy with the aquisition of stuff. This is unfortunate because so rarely does stuff actually bring about lasting satisfaction.
From @lNSPlRING: There are two ways of being rich. One is to have what you want, the other is to be satisfied with what you have.Having what you want is a tricky proposition. How many times does a person see something they want, purchase it or otherwise obtain it, and then discover that it really does not bring to their life the expected pleasures? It is very easy to over estimate how much joy something will bring. Our wants often mislead us with promisies--vapid claims that if we just have that one more thing then...
Oh, to be sure, I have acquired some things that I am very fond of! The utility and convenience some things bring contribute to my sense of happiness.
I am writting this blog on my iPad, which I resisted purchasing for a long time. When Visible Music College asked me to relocate to the Chicago area to head up the opening of a new campus, I thought the functions of an iPad would be valuable, and I was right.
Does this device make me happy? Hmm... It does not make me happy inherently. Not sitting on a desk. I am happy with what I can accomplish as a result of having this wonderful piece of technology, not just because I have it.
Therein is the key. Happiness does not come from things. Happiness comes from our mind. How we think about the things we have results in happiness--the things themselves are incapable of producing ANY emotional response within us. Our reaction comes from the ideas, values, and beliefs we hold and how those internal predispositions interact with the things in our life.
I have a couple of pictures of my sons that probably cost me less than $20.00 total to have printed and framed. When I see them, my mind is connected to years of experiences and memories. I respond positively; I am happy as a result. The happiness does not come from the "things." If another person who did not know my sons had those pictures, they would NOT respond with the same happiness.
Being satisfied is a decision. Looking at what you have and, if it realistically performs as it should, deciding to be content disempowers the lies of our wants. Deciding to be content will lead to being happy with what you have.
If we define being rich, not as a measure of how much we have, but rather as a measure of how little we want, then it is far easier to be rich by wanting what we have and being satisfied than it is to be rich by acquiring more and more stuff.