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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Do You Own Your Money and Stuff Or Do They Own You? - Take This Quiz to Find Out

Most people think they own a home, furniture, computers and other electronics, sports equipment, clothes, cosmetics, a bank account, and perhaps stocks, mutual funds, or a 401K plan. But perhaps they are owned by their possessions instead. Take the following quiz to see whether you are gaining happiness from your belongings, or whether you could find more happiness in a simpler lifestyle.

1. Write down the number of hours each week that you are conscious of enjoying your home. Subtract the number of hours you spend maintaining your home. Subtract the number of hours you work to have others maintain your home, to pay taxes, and to pay the mortgage. Now, subtract the number of hours you are conscious of worrying about paying for your home or about maintaining it.

2. Do you own a golf club membership, vacation home, boat, RV, sports or luxury car? Make the same computation as for your home - hours of enjoyment versus hours of work or worry.

3. Consider vacations, restaurant meals, expensive clothes and beauty treatments. Again compare hours of enjoyment to hours you spend working to pay for the luxury or worrying about its cost.

4. Do you live in fear of losing your job? Write down the worst things that would happen if you lost your job or source of income tomorrow.

Anything that costs you more hours of effort or worry than it brings you hours of enjoyment is a candidate for downsizing. The average American house size has more than doubled in the last 50 years. Has the average enjoyment of that home also doubled? How about the average worry? This article is not a plea for simplicity, but rather, a call for conscious decision making and joyful acceptance - especially in financial matters.

Living in fear of anything is a terrible waste of what could be a great life. If you live in fear of losing your job, either you fear the embarrassment of being jobless, or you fear the loss of material goods - house, car, and such. If you live in fear of losing your stuff and money, it is clear that they own you.

If you discover that your money and stuff do own you, you can regain your happiness either by downsizing, or by mentally accepting that downsizing would not be a terrible thing. It does not matter whether you own three homes, six cars, and a yacht, or whether you rent a room. Just the acceptance that a simpler lifestyle could be joyful is enough. The only meaningful value in life is happiness, and happiness is dependent neither upon owning things nor upon renouncing material wealth, but rather upon consciously adopting an acceptance of whatever circumstances life throws your way.

2 comments:

  1. So true!!! If people would stop and think for a moment they would realize that money and things do not bring you happiness. Nothing is really yours anyway. We are all just tenants to the government. If you do not pay tax where you live, you will be thrown out of where you live. We are all tenants millionaire or poor.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
    - Native American Proverb.

    ReplyDelete

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