To Me? Happiness.
Now, the real question comes down to just what makes a person happy? Being happy is a highly desirable state, which puts it at the top of the hierarchy being discussed here.
Happy is a state. Money is a construct, device, means to an end, one of which may be simply getting happy.
Money might make someone feel happy. Many people mistake luxury/comfort with happiness! For example, many think that sleeping in an air conditioned bedroom is happiness, but they don’t realize many people spend sleepless nights in such bedrooms due to stress/unsolved problems etc!
Money is also confused with wealth. Having money makes a person rich. What that money does for them, and the obligations it may have might not make them wealthy at the same time.
Same goes for having a car. Many mistake possession of the car with happiness not realizing that the guy owning the car has hundred unsolved problems whirling in his mind all the time making him one hell of an unhappy person.
Material possessions bring comfort but not necessarily happiness; of course, they make one feel happy for few days after possessing it.
Wealth is having more of your time –or perhaps better, a sufficient measure of your time self-purposed as opposed to being purposed for you.
It’s entirely possible to be completely happy on very small sums of money, just as it is possible to be happy on large sums of money.
More money doesn’t necessarily bring more happiness.
Money is essential. Happiness doesn’t pay bills:(
But one can be happy even with less than needed money or even when s/he is in debts.
“Man is a pliant animal, a being who gets accustomed to anything” – Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Good news is money buys happiness, although, sadly, temporarily! Humans naturally have the ability to adapt quickly both to pleasure and adversity. Psychologists technically call this amazing phenomenon ‘hedonic adaptation’. Partly due to which, humans can tune and recalibrate goals fascinatingly well. In other words, a mountaineer who became a paraplegic and a rag-picker who won a lottery will alter their goals to suit the current disposition.
Research abundantly proves, says behavioral economist and bestselling author Dan Ariely, “though a life-altering event such as a bad injury or winning a lottery can have a huge impact on happiness, this effect to a larger degree, wear off over time”. Interestingly, “In the long term, we don’t end up being as happy as we thought we would be when good things happen to us, and we are not as sad as we expect when bad things occur”.
What is the difference?
Expectations. Managing one’s life expectations is more important than money is, because doing that has a primary impact on whether or not one is happy, and it has that impact money being present or not and in quantities or not. In the related question, managing expectations can also deal with the case of being happy or accomplished too.
Because of that dynamic, happiness is far more important than money is. We are all completely free to seek it, however, we think might be best for us to succeed.
Happiness is a state of mind and a way of life. It is a choice. If you want to be happy just BE. Happiness begins with and ends with what you have right now.