Can Money and Material Things Alone Make You Happy? 

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Let me tell you a story. 

An intelligent, self-motivated man was offered a well-paying job. The catch was that he had to work overseas, and couldn’t take his family with him. Although he had to spend the majority of the year away from his family, they offered to compensate him generously. It was an offer he couldn’t refuse. And so, he decided to take the job. 

Once he was officially hired, he decided to make a series of big purchases: A big house for his family to move into. A couple of luxury cars for his family to ride in. Expensive furniture and appliances so that he and his family could enjoy the home. And the best toys money could buy so that he and his family could play and have fun together. The problem was, this man would spend most of the year away from his family. Therefore, he could never enjoy his family, nor the material things that he had acquired. 

One day, when he got home after being away for nine months, he noticed that things weren’t the same. His family was not happy because they couldn’t enjoy him. He wasn’t happy because he couldn’t enjoy his family. He soon realized that he had missed the whole purpose to finding true happiness and fulfillment. 

When we sacrifice what we love and what truly matters, we miss the real point in life. Material things are great, but the truth is they are made to serve us, not the other way around. Acquired possessions facilitate life, but we often become slaves to them. We find ourselves working harder to pay the mortgage, car payment, etc., which takes us away from the important aspects of life. We neglect the people we should be putting our energy toward because we’re working to pay for things that have no life. 

We want to associate our identity with these things because we want to belong to the status quo. Instead, spend time with people you love, doing the things that really matter to you. There’s nothing wrong with having, accomplishing, and acquiring, but you have to take care of yourself first, your true self. 

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Dr. Alex Ledgister is not your typical “Success Coach.” The former Marine who holds a Ph.D.

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