Recently I was invited by a University to deliver a speech at their induction ceremony. Two bright youngsters from the University were accompanying me to the venue. In the course of our discussion, I happened to casually quiz them about how much money they would want to make before calling it quits. They were quick enough to give me a figure- ‘at least half a billion’. I was surprised that these young bright minds who are capable of doing so much more, why did they not speak about the joy of working, learning or pleasure of creating something meaningful. The obsession to earn money simply clouded their vision.
In the early days of my career, a lot of my contemporaries would also often say that if they got a certain amount of money in their bank account they would immediately quit their jobs and retire. Once I asked a couple of them how much exactly did this ‘figure’ amount to and they stated a figure which most of them are earning right now. Recently when I met them I asked, “Why are you still working, isn’t it about time you quit?” They argued that perhaps they underestimated their calculation. I laughed and told them that they will probably keep renewing their targets every time they were close enough.
Money and Happiness
People have a general perception that more wealth leads to more happiness. If you happen to read about the lives of billionaires you will see that most of them come from humble backgrounds and have worked their way to achieve ‘success’ defined as ‘more material things, more money’. But over time most of them have had conflicting feelings. They feel they have worked hard towards achieving things they don’t need or wished for. There are a lot of people doing the same thing but are not realizing that the riches are making them unhappy.
“There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.” - Christopher Morley
Take a deep hard look at your life, learn from the experiences of others around you and find out what drives happiness for your life? Is it money, things you buy with money or something not material at all -simple joys of life? Find out.
Money- The reason for all wars ever fought!
We’ve studied in history books and watched movies depicting the valor and strength of Emperor Ashoka who is considered one of the greatest warriors in the world history. He fought the Kalinga War and the main reasons for invading Kalinga were both political and economic. But what did he do after he won the war? He eventually gave it up all. The Kalinga war prompted Emperor Ashoka to devote the rest of his life to non-violence and adopt Buddhism.
The modern day wars are no different; they are all about business, money and struggle for power. Do you believe it’s for a greater good? Is money the root of all evil?
Stories of the Super-rich
Not all billionaires indulge in charity, some buy private islands, yachts, fancy cars etc. But there are some generous billionaires like Azim Premji, Warren Buffet, Ratan Tata, Bill Gates who believe it is important to give back what they earn to the society. Business magnate Warren Buffet has pledged to give 99% of his wealth, either during his life or when he dies. There are many stories of billionaires who have given away their fortunes because it made them feel miserable. These are people who eventually realized that the money in their accounts had a larger purpose than just increasing their bank balance.
Why is it that the futility of something realized only after we achieve it? When we thought of buying our first car or house, how long did the joy last? After a while, didn’t we start wishing for a bigger car or a bigger house? Does it ever stop?
“There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Worries of the Super-rich
We might often think that all the billionaires in the world hardly have any worries. However, a recent research has revealed that one of the biggest fears of the wealthiest people is that their money is killing the drive and ambition of their children. The study also found out that, wealthy families have the most to fear from the third generation family members when it comes to losing their family inherited money. If the children get everything served to them on a platter and never get to see the hard work that goes into creating that wealth, they hardly ever make judicious choices in spending that money. They lack the motivation and inspiration which makes them want to succeed on their own merit.
Warren Buffet has resolved to leave a bulk of his fortune to charity and was quoted as saying, “I want to give my kids just enough so that they would feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing”.
Most descendants of Nawabs or Kings of yesteryears are in abject poverty today. They inherited a lot of money but did not know how to manage it. Pursuit of money never leads to happiness or satisfaction. It simply kills the entire purpose of life. Obsession with money can alter your rational thinking and basically even kill your morals.
Let’s face it, for most of us money has been the constant pursuit ever since we’ve grown up, stepped out of college and started working. Because we’ve been made to believe that once you have a certain amount of money you can do anything you want and can lead a happy life. Reality is we all need money. But the fact that we are all getting so obsessed with the thought that ‘money is extremely important’ we have stopped asking ourselves why? Instead of a reckless pursuit find out what is it that you truly desire.
Be passionate about everything you do in life, enjoy what you do thoroughly. Help others, be compassionate. Pursue your dreams. Life is beautiful, let it be so.
About the author
Tapan Singhel is the MD & CEO of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Limited. This blog has been initiated by him so that he can directly interact with all the valuable customers and employees of this company.