Can Money Truly Make You Happy?

by GEM Magazine / Jul 23, 2015 / Comments

In my bedroom, framed in a mahogany glass case, I have two 10,000 Deutschmark notes. These notes are from 1909, and it’s my understanding that during the time those two notes would have allowed you to buy a large Castle estate in a nice Bavarian region overlooking the creek or forest of your choice. However before you ask “why haven’t you got out of a hammer, liberated those notes and contacted your closest German real estate agent?”, the notes significance go far passed their original value.

Only a few short years later, those same notes would no longer buy a castle, but only a small tenement in Berlin. Fast forward a few more months and that same 10,000 Deutschmark note would acquire a kilo of salt and three loaves of bread.

Ultimately some of the most famous pictures illustrating the consequences of hyperinflation are German citizens using these same notes to wallpaper their walls, as it was cheaper than buying conventional wallpaper.

It can be very concerning to understand the fluctuating nature of capitalism. Money has no intrinsic value, it's paper. And even when it was on the gold standard, the reality was using gold had no intrinsic value outside of the fact it was an unusual yellow metal.

If this is true, then why do we have a world obsessed with money?

The answer is simple, the world is in excess of money, it is obsessed with the idea of the life money can provide. When I ask people what they really want in life are normally get the answer: “to be happy”. When I ask them what makes them happy I get a range of answers that normally fall into five distinct emotions; Freedom, security, health, family and personal growth. Marketers from around the world understand this better than most and have linked products and services, creating financial value to these emotions.

It's argued, very effectively, that;
Freedom involves having stacks of cash in the bank.
Security is an extension of how much of your mortgage you have paid off.
Health can be bought in a pill or gym membership.
The quality of your family life depends on the length of your new swimming pool.
Personal growth comes in the form of a new haircut or personal development CD box set.

Everything you want, and everything you need, you’re already have inside of you.

Let’s explore that powerful statement; You save for 30 years, and at the age of 50, with a new set of grey hair developing above your ears, you walk out of the bank manager’s office after making your last mortgage payment.

You now have security. As you get your car to drive back to a house that is now totally yours to own…. you feel….well…. wonderful. You can easily justify the 30 years of skimping, saving and settling for 'staycations' rather than traveling to France, on the fact that you now have peace and security.

Achieving this, on the surface, was through discipline, hard work and saving, however at a deeper level it’s much simpler.

You decided that day you walked out of the bank to allow yourself to fully feel security once that last payment was made.

I repeat, you gave yourself permission to feel secure once you reached a certain set of parameters.

The repayment of the mortgage did not make you feel more secure, the permission to allow yourself to feel secure gave you the feeling of security.

This is an incredibly deep insight, because as we all know, a mortgage has no real power, and to many people that same event would not create the same feelings of security. So in reality, you’ve done the opposite of what you wanted, you allowed yourself to feel insecure, unsafe and anxious for 30 years so you could feel secure for a fleeting moment.

Yes, that’s right, it’s completely insane. And to add insult to injury, that level of security lasts for a very short period of time, because you have trained yourself so long to feel insecure. Weeks after paying off the mortgage, you may begin to feel concerned that it could be taken from you, or that property values could drop so you begin looking for a new security blanket to carry you into the future.

Any time you believe a financial goal will provide you with an emotion, you must understand the side effects of that belief system. By its very nature in order for a thing in the future to give you an emotion, it must remove the ability to have that emotion in the moment.

This is very dangerous stuff, it means you are continually on a hamster wheel of searching and never living. And all that practice on a hamster wheel means that you start doing this in other areas in life. For example; "When I have that perfect relationship I will feel love", "When I have a six-pack I will feel self-worth" and "If I could only get that pay rise I would feel successful."

The delay of happiness that proceeds the gain of material objects, simply put, is the best blueprint to live an unauthentic and unfulfilled life.

I heard a great story recently about a homeless man living in Venice Beach. He was incredibly malnutritioned, he smelt and wore a combination of ripped and mismatched clothing. He sat in an old wooden box and would ask for loose change as people passed him in the street.

He was incredibly dedicated, in fact he maintained this spot on the street for over 10 years, each day waking to sit upon his wooden box and begin the process over. One day on a hot afternoon, a man in an orange robe slowed his walk as he passed.

The homeless man, as he usually did, took this as an opportunity to ask “do you have any cash brother, to help me out?” The man in the orange robe replied, "everything you need is inside the box you sit." The homeless man scoffed, however the man in the orange robe was insistent, and said “you have what you need, you no longer need to suffer."

The homeless man dismissed him and carried on asking others for change. The next day, upon waking, the homeless man continued to think more and more about what had been told the previous day. He had never even examined this old box that he had sat on for so long. He investigated the box for the first time, like many things that he owned, it was old and worn. Lifting the box the first time, he noticed it was incredibly heavy and on the bottom was stamped USA followed by serial number.

Instead of buying is normal bottle of rum, today the man took his proceeds from begging and bought a crowbar from the local hardware store. In curiosity, he decided to pry open one of the planks nailed down to the box. As he pried open the plank, the sunlight reflected a glint from within the box, the man’s amazement 12 large US Federal reserve gold bars were neatly packed underneath a layer of straw.

Incredibly, he had always been wealthy… but had spent the last 10 years of his life living as a beggar because he decided to ignore a simple fact; everything he needed, to feel the way he wanted, he already had, inside of him right now.


So I ask you to choose your most pressing desire. It may be by house, a new car or saving for you children’s education. Now delve a little deeper... what does that financial goal really mean? What’s the emotion behind it?

Once you have isolated the feeling, give yourself permission to feel it while you’re on the journey towards achieving the goal. Tell yourself repeatedly that the actions you are taking towards the goal are in itself the most important part of the goal, therefore you should be rewarded with the feeling you’re chasing NOW.

By Bradley Hughes

Bradley is a peak performance coach and Philosopher, exploring human consciousness through psychology, quantum physics and Zen Buddhism.


Website -
Facebook -
Instagram - @1yearlifetransformation
Twitter - @1videoperday

gem's picture
The Contributor

GEM Magazine


GEM is pushing for Gender Equality, and encouraging people to share their message through free speech. It aims to create more positive ways to utilize the internet.

This publication is an open platform raising awareness and resonating with readers through truth, honesty and vulnerability on subjects affecting our daily lives.

GEM contains articles that educate, inspire and provoke thought around aspects that are of concern in our current society.

"We all have the ability to make a difference. Inside each and everyone of us, we have the power. We are the people."