Can You Be Rich And Live An Authentic Life?
Does it end? Not usually because we are never satisfied.
How many times have we convinced ourselves that if we only had more money, life would be better? But then we receive a raise only to complain that we need more to be happy. It is like a vicious merry-go-round we can never get off called the American Dream.
Or can we get off and be liberated from the chains of money?
I speak for you, but I can’t live without cash even though I often tell myself money doesn’t matter. But it’s not realistic to say money doesn’t matter. The reality is, to even be able to read this article you need money to pay for Internet access. And this is the dilemma many faces, to live an ‘authentic life’ proclaiming money doesn’t matter or continue on the capitalistic rat race?
This is a hard question to answer. However, my mom gave me interesting advice about money and happiness as she lay in a hospital bed in the ICU.
She told me to look out the window and then asked, “What do you see?”
I took a closer look to see if I was missing something, and then I answered, “I can see people walking in and out of the hospital and people talking and eating at the restaurant across the street.”
My mom nodded and told me to get up and go to the mirror. She asked me, “Now look and tell me what you see?”
“I can see myself,” I answered.
My mom smiled. “Now you can’t see anyone else. Did you know that the mirror and window are both created from the same raw material: glass? But because on one of them, they have applied a thin layer of silver, when you look at it all you can see is your own reflection.”
She then asked me to compare myself to those two pieces of glass. She said, “Without the silver layer, you saw the other people living their lives and felt compassion for them. When you are covered with silver, you only see yourself.”
I stared at my mom as if she was losing it and told her, “I don’t understand.”
My mom continued. “You will lead an authentic life only if you have the courage to remove the silver covering over your eyes in order to again see there is more to life than focusing on making money.” And then as if she had dropped a mic, my mom abruptly changed the subject.
When I left the hospital that day, I thought about what she said about money and happiness and came to the conclusion that she was not losing it, but instead had an interesting point.
Yes, we need money and we should not aim to lead a moneyless existence in pursuit of living an authentic life. But at the same time, focusing solely on making money is not a healthy life, nor will it lead to happiness.
Instead, I suggest that we should follow the advice my mom gave me. In life, we are allowed to and should be able to look at both kinds of glass, but we should remember that a mirror reflects only us; a window is a door to life, health, and true wealth. In other words, seek wealth to get by, but don’t let it dissuade you from actually living an authentic life you enjoy.