Happiness is a desirable characteristic to every individual who desires to live an untroubled and settled life. As much as this happiness may be important in life, most people don’t have the slightest idea on how to acquire it. The extents that some individuals go in vain efforts to be joyful are at times amazing. Most particularly, a majority of young men and women today have got the wrong idea of happiness.
This is evidenced by their frantic efforts to look for happiness in harmful habits such as indulging in drugs, imprudent sexual activity and other popular but equally disgusting habits. This paper will illustrate that happiness in life is not found in money or any material thing. It will base its argument on E. A. Robinson’s poem “Richard Cory” to further show that true happiness is embedded in the hearts of individuals rather than what is portrayed on the their visages.
Since time immemorial, money has been considered as the ultimate solution to almost all the problems in life. It is astounding that an overwhelming number of people in the world continue to put their trust in money, even as they see it ruin the lives of several others.
Money is indeed capable of solving financial problems, but when it comes to finding true happiness in life, this becomes a different case. In fact, money can buy all the tangible things that are bound to bring happiness in one’s life, but we tend to forget that happiness comes naturally by itself.
Just the way it is impossible to make seeds grow on unfertile sandy soil, happiness cannot be planted in a heart wasted by the misery and gloom of this life. Such efforts will be to no avail. The much one can achieve in such an instance is temporary, short-lived and superficial happiness that will disappear once the individual becomes aware of the storms of life that he or she is going through.
For Richard Cory to take such a drastic measure as putting a bullet into his head, he must have been holding onto circumstances and people that hurt him in the past (Robinson 16). A more effective way of acquiring permanent happiness would be to root out all the bitterness, pain and misery that is kept in one’s heart and then refilling the gap gradually with joy.
Given that the scars caused by unbearable events and people in our hearts may take a really long time to heal, one may have to wait for even a decade or two in order to finally get the happiness he or she needs so bad.
In order to rejoice in life, it is advisable that people learn to let go of all the pain and disappointment that they have suffered at one point in their lives. Holding onto them will assuredly have an inhibitory effect on the manifestation of true happiness in their lives. This is an example of the many situations where money is totally incapable of making a smile spread on one’s face.
A good percentage of people who aren’t happy in their lives today are rich individuals. This is quite appalling, as one would think that with all the money that this people have, they certainly have access to anything that they could ever dream of. On the contrary, it should not be forgotten that money itself can be a perfect object of torment if mishandled (Layard 46). This is what happens to people who give so much extra attention to their money that they tend to overlook people that care about them and other sectors of their lives.
It is a common thing to come across a man who has toiled all his years to make a lot of money only to end up with a broken family that will cost him his happiness. A far more serious and ironical case is that of a man who strains to accumulate a lot wealth by his side and then ends up spending the better part of it trying to get back his deteriorated health.
Because money can’t buy back the health of this particular individual, he may be doomed to stay in his unhealthy condition for the remainder of his life, which will definitely siphon happiness out of his heart and the hearts of his family members.
A lifelong study conducted on a number of healthy and initially happy men from their youth to old age has revealed that misfortunes that take away happiness in life are inevitable. As much as money can pay for the insurance against risks in life, it can’t take away the disturbance that the occurrence of such a risk will cause in a person’s heart (Seligman 132).
Life is full of uncertainties, and anything can happen to anyone at any time. Although fortune may knock once at a man’s door, misfortune does so at an unpredictable frequency. And when it does, it surely won’t leave our hearts unscathed.
A misfortune always leaves behind a trail of marks that will remind the victims of what befell them at one stage in life. The overwhelming amount of money that one may have will never be sufficient to get rid of agonizing memories and prevent the reoccurrence of the same. It is evident that money can’t guarantee happiness in one’s life due to the uncertainties that surround each one of us.
True happiness in life comes with having trustful, honest and loving people around a person. These are people that are hard to come by, especially with today’s sophisticated world. In fact, once is considered lucky to have any such person. Money can’t buy these wonderful people. Money can’t buy a wonderful wife.
It can’t buy lovely children that are obedient to their parents. Money cannot guarantee any parent that their child will be born without a deformity. The list is endless. According to Myers, the number of things that money can’t buy is more than double those which money can buy (72). A person may have a beautiful palace for a home, a fleet of cars, a decent job and a booming business but lack good-natured people who love him who he is and not because of his money.
Nevertheless, there are also some relatively good things that money can achieve. However significant they may be, they are nothing compared to being happy in life. One of the things that one can achieve by having a lot of money is respect in society. Rich people such as Richard Cory are normally treated with high regard. This is because they have got what others don’t have; money.
A keen observer may notice that these rich people are equally lacking what other people have; happiness. Just like it was with Richard Cory, a person may be outwardly rich and doing well on the outside but dying on the inside. Prior to his death, no one would have believed that Richard Cory was leading a miserable life. All the respect that people had bestowed upon him did not count for anything. As a matter of fact, the much it could do was to mask his face with vague happiness.
From the above discussion, it is clear that although money is an important thing in everyday life, there comes a time when its purchasing power loses meaning. These are times when rich individuals yearn for genuine happiness but their money can’t bring them any. It can also be discerned from the foregoing that there is more to happiness than money.
One needs not to have money in order to be happy. Happiness comes from the heart. Moreover, they are the wonderful people and stress-free conditions that will guarantee happiness to an individual. It is also advisable not to spend a lot of time making money at the expense of happiness. Finally, prudent handling of money is necessary, as money can also be a tool that deprives people of their happiness. In summary, money does not certainly buy happiness.
Layard, Richard. Happiness: Lessons from a new science. New York: Penguin Press, 2005. Print.
Myers, David. The pursuit of happiness: Who is happy and why? New York: Morrow, 1992. Print.
Robinson, Arlington Robinson. “Richard Cory” poemhunter.com, n.d. Available online at
http://www.poemhunter.com/Poem/Richard-Cory/%20- Accessed on 23.9.2011. Print.
Seligman, Martin. Authentic happiness. New York: The Free Press, 2002. Print.