The 3 Critical Elements of Human Happiness (& Why Unlimited Money Isn’t Enough)

Human beings set goals and do everything within their power to chase after them. They either attain the goals or drop dead. Once one goal has been achieved, they set another one and it goes on and on. This is how people are wired. 

Money Goals

America is in a time of abundance—much more like never before in human history. Basic needs are generally met for everyone and, therefore, you think the only goals left to set are money goals. You aspire to earn a certain amount of income, build investments and savings to a certain level and create a passive income stream. 

You set these goals so you can live the lifestyle of your choice and spend some time with your loved ones. You also want to be financially independent. To put it simply, you are trying to be happy and according to you, more money means happiness. 

Now, suppose you have all the money you desire in your bank account. You have finally achieved financial independence. You have enough time to spend with the ones you love and you can go wherever you want—money is unlimited. 

Will you be happy? Sure, initially. 

However, once the ecstatic stage of travel, binge purchases and whatever else is over, you will be bored to death. You may find yourself lonely and depressed—something common to many famous and rich people. 

Why the unhappiness? 

Pursuit Is Missing

Everyone wants to succeed, but success feels better when it is earned instead of undeservedly handed out. To be truly happy, you need to pursue and attain your lifestyle goals. This is common sense but how true is it? Some people pursue their goals, become successful but they are still unhappy. 

What is missing?

Connection Is Missing

You have a need to overcome your obstacles, accomplish and achieve your goal. For human beings, the pursuit is the end, not the means to an end. Without it, you will be rich yet miserable, well-traveled yet depressed, financially independent yet bored. 

The lifestyle you seek is a reflection of the connection you yearn for. 

For example, experiences are only full when shared with loved ones. To be happy, you need to integrate and balance your drive for pursuit and connection. Your love for the chase should be anchored to the reason for the chase. 

However, is that all there is to it? If you are successful in what you do and have healthy connections, will there be anything eating you up? Yes. There is one more piece to the puzzle.

Fulfillment Is Missing

Once your basic needs (pursuit) and psychological needs (connection) have been fulfilled, the missing piece is self-actualization. To achieve total happiness, you have to achieve your full potential and use your talents to the maximum.

Calogero from a scene in A Bronx Tale says that: “the saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever.” 

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