I have a general theory of happiness that can be roughly summarized as follows:
“Human beings find happiness by finding affirmation in their existence.”
Basically we are all wandering through life knowing we have a limited amount of time here hoping there might be somewhere else we all go when we die, but really hoping this isn’t all for nothing. And in the case that this is all for nothing we seek affirmation from other humans that our time here was meaningful and important, even if fleeting.
In short, we’re all just trying to do things that generate an affirmative response from other people. For instance, I write this blog, in part, because I seek the affirmative responses from readers that show me that I am providing value to other people’s lives. You presumably read the website because you might accumulate some knowledge that will help you reinforce and construct a better affirmative response mechanism in your life by making better and more informed financial decisions. You get the point.
Now, what has the highest ROI in terms of an affirmation response? The obvious answer is taking care of other people and making yourself valuable to them. Making a lot of money is a clear path to a high ROI on affirmation because money gives you the ability to do things that multiply your ability to take care of other people.
The problem for the median household in a country like the USA is that the supposed happiness of other people appears to be rising fast while the median income stagnates and fails to supply you with enough money to sufficiently multiply your ability to generate a high affirmation response level. But this is oftentimes truer of very wealthy people. Many wealthy people are seeking a very high affirmation response level to satisfy their own desire to be seen as very valuable to others. But wealthy people often get this backwards. The wealthy are seeking a high affirmation response level, but often do that by satisfying their own egos. But the key point here is that the highest affirmation response ROIs come from displaying a selflessness that proves that we want to make a lot of money because that gives us a better ability to take care of other people.