A few years ago, during the lunch break, I was talking to a colleague, mostly complaining about our job. As often happens in workplaces, where one feels more as companions of misfortune than just colleagues, we were deploring our job and, in particular, our salary that was always too low compared to the amount of duties and responsibilities we had.
Then the colleague mentioned the paradox of Easterlin (professor of Economy at the University of California) according to which a person's happiness and fulfilment constantly increases with the income up to a certain point, a threshold, after which it drops drastically following a kind of inverted U-curve.
Without going into the field of economics studies, theoretical hypotheses and debates on possible mathematical formulas to explain this paradox, it seems that the professor in the end merely agrees with the old saying we all know: the money don’t give happiness, neither does the poverty.
Practically, after a certain level of income that covers the primary needs, an infidel mechanism in us starts, that makes us feel unhappy despite we are gaining more. Why?
Because, after we fulfil our primary needs ( those who are at the base of the Maslow pyramid), we begin to have some extra cash to please us with something more, so entering the spiral of consumerism and so the increasing lust for the unnecessary.
And at the end it doesn't matter how much more we earn because we want more and more to fulfil the need for all those "extras" that, suddenly, became primary needs: change the car, change the phone, buy the last gadget, eat at the restaurant more often, or going out on the weekend to squander hundreds of euros at the cocktail bars and clubs.
Each of us waste money, and, personal opinion, I think there is nothing wrong with it if it can be kept on a small scale: I earn little bit more, it’s ok I please myself with something extra.
The problem, however, is to set a limit, a stop, because it makes no sense to talk about poverty, or complain about the income which suddenly becomes too low just because we can not spend as we would like to: we complain, we feel like slaves, we spend our lives hoping to win at the bingo or at the casino (forgetting how many of these "lucky winners" have ended up in miserable tragedy), working in places we hate hoping to earn more to spend more .
What would be our limit?
Two thousand, three thousand, ten thousand euros a month?
After five years I was still in the same hated work, with the same hated colleague, complaining about the "miserable" salary I had.
How much time did I waste there?
How much energy did I lost and how much stress did I gain instead?
Of course, the salary should grow with the cost of living, but is this really why we want more and more?
Perhaps we should stop wanting the unnecessary and instead start think about , and look for, what makes us feel really happy.
And get out of consumerism and the waste.
Otherwise we are just spoiled children who want and ask for a new toy because the last one we just got is not appealing anymore,
And the problem is that, even if in small doses, we always get what we asked for.
Because “they” know we will ask for more and more…