HAPPINESS is a verb

I’d like to take the time to start a conversation around a highly argumentative topic: that you can buy happiness.

I’m sure we’ve all heard of the saying, “Money can’t buy you happiness”? And if you’re familiar with that saying you might be just as familiar with the counter argument, which is usually something like, “money can buy you happiness! If I had all the money in the world, I would have no wants or grievances.” 

Let’s consider the topic from the eyes of latter conclusion first. It has evolved from the rationalizing that indeed, in order to be happy, you surely need the basic needs of humanity to be met:

When you look at things in this light, it can be very easy to stand back, pause and consider that perhaps… does buy happiness?  

My personal opinion on this matter has been influenced by my own experience of this world – my own observations, my own times in life where I had very little, and other times where I had so much. Here is what I have seen: 

No matter how I look at it, every piece of evidence I have received in life has pointed to this conclusion:

Money cannot buy you happiness. But having the basic needs and desires met, can create a space where happiness can be cultivated.

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However, CAN is the key word here…. it is still a choice we have to make. 


You’ve heard of the common saying, “love is a verb”? In other words, it’s something that is done, and cannot be physically created or obtained. We have physical outlets for love; things we do and say to show another that we love them.

Happiness is a verb too. Based purely on this aspect alone, I think it’s safe to say that you literally cannot buy happiness – it is not something you can obtain through a materialistic purchase – there isn’t a single place on this earth where you can purchase happiness for a price.

Happiness however will also have physical outlets – there are things we do and say that express our happiness. Again, however, this is expressed through the human being, and not through the items we purchase.



I’m not saying that having an abundance of money brings no rewards. It certainly does bring some very important ones.

Having money means we find ourselves in a place where our basic needs are met, where we have enough to even meet further needs such as the ones that fulfill our desires, our hobbies, our interests.
Money can create a space where our physical needs are met and this means we will be CONTENT and physically SATISFIED.

And yet...

I have had many times where I’ve gone out and bought that paint brush and canvas, I’ve bought the guitar…. but those purchases didn’t teach me what is so beautiful about creation, or learning, or playing music, or having passion, which is where the true beauty lies. 

 The blessing of these things and the love I have for them were already there before the purchase, and purchasing these things doesn’t mean I know how to tap into those blessings and use them to bring me happiness. That skill is found through personal growth, and that personal growth is the thing that brings the skill and through it the happiness. 

When we are in a place of contentment and we are satisfied within our basic needs, our energy and attention is then free to be invested in another space – where deeper meaning lies.

I have met many people who have had more money in their pocket than a couple hundred people put together. I have observed them, sometimes at a close proximity. Some people use their money wisely, and these people seem to have something in common. They don’t lavish their everyday lifestyle in it’s luxuries but instead they use the money to actually benefit themselves and even more so to benefit others.
And then so many still desperately focus their lives on further consumption. More beauty…. more food….. more electronics…. More gadgets…. more entertainment….. thirsts that cannot be quenched. These people have not invested themselves within the space that their money created. They have not used it to build meaningful lives; they have simply tried to fill the space by continuing to purchase. But it never quenches the thirst…and so the consumption continues, continuously, desperately, trying to fill something but never being able to create a sustained happiness or fulfillment.

I have also met many people with very little in their pockets. So many of them are indeed plagued with worries and stresses about meeting their basic needs. But then there are a few who, despite the unsurity that surrounds their circumstances, have found incredible joy and meaning. Somehow even among the small space within their worry and stress, they found a space to create something more beautiful, more meaningful. 

Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

For both the rich and poor man, there is a space inbetween the physical, materialistic satisfactions and needs that we have, which cannot be filled with physical satisfaction. This is the space that holds a thirst for purpose; a deeper meaning to our existence; a fulfilment.

The good news is that this deeper meaning and fulfilment can be found in our every day lives without even needing to initially change anything.

It is found within….

– Gratitude for the roof over their heads and the things we do receive, be it little or much.

– Mindfulness within our day to day lives – allowing us to pick out and keep the small joys and delights of life such as the devoted hug from our little ones, the morning sun shining through those gorgeous trees, the joyful calls of birds in the morning, the song that touches our soul, or the soft spread of a sunset over the sky.

– The devotion towards something that is bigger than you; something that brings others joy, or fills a need of theirs. This could be anything from the devotion towards raising our children right, to the devotion of bringing a smile to the face of everyone we meet

– A greater connection to our core identity – knowing who we are, gives us an incredible power to root our lives in something that gives us that deeper meaning. What means most to you? Adventure? Learning? Inspiration? Art or creation? Love? Singing? These things are completely personal to us. 

With every point listed above, if you add gratitude to the equation, you instantly create a space where contentment and satisfaction can reside without even needing to have all your materialistic desires met, because suddenly you are focusing on that which you do have – not that which you don’t.

The shift in perception is the key. Do we want to focus on running after that goal, continuously telling ourselves that only once we have achieved it we will be happy? That mindset is what sends people to their old age wishing they had used their youth more wisely. 

So to start, we must shift our perception of that which we already have in our hands:

* Stop looking at what you don’t have, and start looking at what you do have. Be grateful.

*Let go of focusing  on moving away from what you don’t want in your life, and start focusing on moving towards that which you do want in your life. This automatically takes you away from what you don’t want, but now you have a clear direction

* Stop accepting everyone else’s standards of what the meaning of existence is and start focusing on designing your own meaning for your own life. When we do this, we’ll find purpose regardless of what others say or think.

* Don’t listen to the media – you don’t need that new TV to bring you more entertainment (besides, a big TV displays exactly the same program as a small one does).


* Challenge the status quo, even the ones you’ve set up in your own life. Ask yourself the hard questions, this will only deepen and strengthen your beliefs and can break some powerful holds that don’t serve us anymore.

My conclusion:

Indeed, I will say that I cannot believe in money bringing happiness. I believe it’s one of our most powerful tools on this earth as it brings power which should be used wisely – it also provides us with a big portion of its opportunities.
It also creates the space for us to cultivate that which we want in our lives: happiness, love, purpose and whatever else there might be.
It also creates a space where we can give to that which is bigger than us; where we have much, others will have little.

So do not waste your life striving to meet the status quo, buy the car, have the house, and wear the clothes. Instead, strive to fill the spaces in your life with meaning and purpose that creates happiness, love and light in yours and others lives. Work hard, be grateful for what you receive, always remembering this keeps us humble and avoids us slipping into the space where we start to believe that purchasing

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