Money versus Happiness

a tryptic of dreamy flowers

“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”
| Henry David Thoreau

A while ago, I was thinking about the relationship between a professional career (measured through money) and happiness (measured through doing things you love doing). I realized that many people in my environment complain that they are less and less doing what they originally liked doing. While they have a secure social status, and a solid steady income in a safe and healthy environment, they are still not happy. Why are they not happy? Maybe, because they have followed their ego throughout their life and with an increasing career path, they realized a decreasing slope in happiness and doing things they liked doing. In Figure 1, I illustrated this traditional career path scenario on the left side. Compared to a life in which your professional work is in harmony with yourself and in which you do things you like doing, I’d assume that money then follows happiness over time. Potentially not to the same level as in the traditional career path, but with a consistent, positive slope. So, where are you on the slopes?

Figure 1: Money versus happiness over a lifetime