People today find that the things they're buying and turning to are not fulfilling. Each person needs to be materially secure, of course. The cycle of consumption leaves us with an unlaced craving for transcendence. For some, consumerism is the new opiate. We are becoming so frantically time-stressed as to be close to losing our minds, while cell phones and laptops and similar devices are cited to represent the assumption that today there is never a moment away from the demands of job, kids, and stuff.
To the extent people are stressed for time, often it is the pursuit of the material that causes the condition. Wanting a 4,000-square-foot house with a three-car garage and two SUVs forces you to take on a huge mortgage and accept long commutes.
Then you find that you're rarely in the house because you are working to pay off the monthly note, or stuck on the freeway trying to get home. It would not be difficult to trade back some of this material superfluity for time and a less stressful day. In pursuit of materialism, some people still value "extrinsic goals" like money, fame and beauty.
Money or affluence, per se, does not necessarily result in an unsatisfying life. Problems are primarily associated with living a life where that's your focus. Nevertheless, the negative psychological picture does seem to be associated with the extent to which people believe they are already on the way to attaining extrinsic goals. A study surveyed about 300 youths, some in the
United States and
some in Russia.
In both countries, lower levels of mental health were found not only in people
who wanted to make a lot of money but also in those who thought they were
likely to succeed at it.
Another study found that college students who were already relatively high in the attainment of appearance, financial success and popularity were nevertheless lower in well-being and self-esteem. Those who aspired to affluence also had more transient relationships, watched more television and were more likely to use cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs than were those who placed less emphasis on extrinsic goals. They do not have self confidence to accomplish any target. They wish to achieve success through unethical means.
Apart from its obvious implications for a culture that thrives on material gain, this whole line of research raises questions about the proclivity of some psychologists to analyze the dynamics of what is often called goal-directed behavior while, in effect, ignoring the nature of the goal. It reiterates homespun advice to follow one's dream, whatever it may be.
Some parents provide excessive money to their children as a token of their love but do not attend them psychologically because of lack of time due to their professional/commercial/social and/or other engagements. When parents are cold and controlling, their children apparently focus on attaining security and a sense of worth through external sources.
This seems consistent with anecdotal accounts of very wealthy men who grew up in troubled homes. Such stories are sometimes cited as evidence that they made the best of a bad thing, turning out well despite or because of their unhappy childhoods. The problem with this interpretation is that they may not have turned out so well after all. They just turned out wealthy.
It is not entirely clear why a poor psychological profile would go hand-in-hand with a quest for extrinsic goals. It may be that unhappy people are more likely than others to chase after money and fame. Conversely, the very act of chasing after money and fame may reduce one's sense of well-being, perhaps because it makes you ignore the goals that could lead you to have more satisfying experiences. Yet another possibility is that extrinsic goals and poorer psychological health are symptoms of something else that is amiss.
We may need more thoughts tease apart cause and effect between mental peace and affluence. Young adults whose parents were divorced or separated demonstrated higher levels of both material values and compulsive buying. This suggests that such people use material objects as surrogates for absent parents. But it has also been experienced that the people who are more materialistic tend to be unhappy with their lives. This effect may be moderated or even eliminated for those who have close caring relationships.
Now, we may see how we can gain a balance between our emotional life and materialism. Undoubtedly, money, or we say affluence, plays an important role in organizing ourselves to meet our basic, social and other needs, including our emotional attainments too. But it is required to be handled carefully. There is one story narrated by Mr.Deepak Chopra, which tells us the importance of knowledge. I quote it in his words to spread his message.
Once upon a time in a faraway land, a young man went to the forest and said to his spiritual master, “I want to have unlimited wealth, and with that unlimited wealth, I want to help and heal the world. Will you please tell me the secret to creating affluence?”
And the spiritual master replied, “There are two Goddesses that reside in the heart of every human being. Everybody is deeply in love with these supreme beings. But there is a certain secret that you need to know, and I will tell you what it is.
“Although you love both Goddesses, you must pay more attention to one of them. She is the Goddess of Knowledge, and her name is Sarasvati. Pursue her, love her, and give her your attention. The other Goddess, whose name is Lakshmi, is the Goddess of Wealth. When you pay more attention to Sarasvati, Lakshmi will become extremely jealous and pay more attention to you. The more you seek the Goddess of Knowledge, the more the Goddess of Wealth will seek you. She will follow you wherever you go and never leave you. And the wealth you desire will be yours forever”.
Be Happy – Gain Knowledge From Every Source.