Saturday, 13 October 2012

Money Can Buy Happiness! – Part 4: Analysed Through Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

If I consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, human beings have needs that evolve over time. However, considering the modern material world, we will notice that all those needs in some way or other is connected to the requirement of money.

Let us first consider the first level: Physiological. The basic needs to survive in this world would be air, food and water, followed by some other needs like sleep, sex, excretion, and such others. While air is available for every person (polluted or otherwise), food and water require money. If we do not get the food and water, the other physiological needs would have no meaning for us.

Moving up to the next level called Safety: we will find that health, home and other resources can only be obtained through money. Employment is a need at this level, and that is not only to work and be satisfied that we are working, it is for earning money. A practical observation shows that a person having money can afford better education, and thus opportunity for better employment, and therefore, such people earn more money. More the money, better the prospects. Only a few exceptional people move up the ladder with grit and determination, and then they earn more money. What happens next is that their children can afford better education with that money. In fact, health of the family means better hygiene, affordability of medical facilities and doctors. Home means money again, no money no home! The physical state of “comfort” achieves the mental state of “happiness.” (Thanks to my friend, Amit Ojha, for making me think about these two words).

Love and belonging is the next level. Friendship, family and sexual intimacy are the constituents of this level. Friendship is not created by money. But money helps in keeping pace with how we meet our friends and spend time with them. Let us be practical in our thought process and consider a situation. Your friends go to Barista to hang out and chat, you are the only person who cannot afford to. How would it feel if you are unable to pay for your coffee every time? The need for social interaction cannot be ignored. We need friends and company, and needs and aspirations grow as we fulfill each level as drawn out by Maslow. To have a family you need to get married. The world will tell you that only “love” is not enough to run a family, money is essential to provide for the necessities. In India money is one of the criteria to even get married! The richer you are, more the options you get as well!

The other two levels of Esteem and Self Actualization can only be achieved after the levels I have already discussed. So we cannot even reach these levels if not for money!

There is one catch to the aspect of money. It is related to the way a person earns the money. The ways to the means says a lot about character. Character builds the personality and image of a person. The ideals are created by the character. How a person earns money is something that is noticed and either appreciated or criticized by society.

Money is not bad, and yes, I will stick to the opinion that money can buy happiness. How we earn the money defines what kind of person we are. Some steal, some rob, some earn an honest wage. People like me want to earn honestly, but with strategy, effort and hard work. To reiterate what I had written in the first part of this series (Money Can Buy Happiness! ), it is effort which gets us the money, and then money helps us buy happiness!

What is your take on this?

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