By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer
Money isn’t happiness. We’ve heard it a million times — so much so that it has become a cliche. However, it has become, for the most part, an ignored message in today’s society, where there is an overemphasis on becoming rich and famous. In no way am I saying money isn’t important or a good thing to have; I simply believe it shouldn’t be prioritized over genuine happiness.
When I say genuine happiness, I mean that pure feeling where you can’t help but smile, when you can look at your life and say to yourself, “I wouldn’t trade this for the world.” Genuine happiness isn’t temporary; that doesn’t mean you’re 100% happy and in a good mood at all times, but it does mean you can appreciate what you have and understand what really matters. Rap artist J. Cole was one of my biggest influences with regard to this belief, specifically with his song “Love Yourz,” which I can say saved my life.
“For what’s money without happiness, or hard times without the people you love?” Cole said in the song. “Though I’m not sure what’s ‘bout to happen next, I ask for strength from the Lord up above.”
I believe there is such a thing as conditional happiness, and it is only a temporary feeling and a distraction. The main source of this is money and material things. No matter how many things you buy, there will always be something new. There will always be a new iPhone. There will always be a new car. There will always be new clothes. These things won’t ever bring you genuine happiness. If you want some new clothes, by all means, treat yourself. My advice is to not seek happiness through things that have a monetary value, though, because the best things in the world are immeasurable.
Money can be a great thing when it is used properly. I understand that people work hard for their money, and when they find themselves with a surplus, it is easy to go all out and buy everything they can afford. It is hard to understand why there are people who could give $20 to every single person on this planet and still have billions of dollars left, while at the same time, there are people dying of starvation and standing with signs on the corners begging for money and food. I think it is important for us to help people who are in need and don’t have the opportunities we have been blessed with. Tupac Shakur explained this in an interview with MTV in 1992.
“There’s too much money here,” Shakur said. “Nobody should be hitting the lotto for $36 million and we got people starving in the streets. That is not idealistic. That’s just real. That is stupid. There is no way Michael Jackson should have, or whoever, should have a million, thousand, triple billion dollars and then there’s people starving. There’s no way. There’s no way that these people should own planes and there are people who don’t have houses, apartments, shacks, drawers or pants.”
I understand things get hard, I understand that it is impossible to be happy at all times and that there are a lot of times of struggle. What gets you through the struggle is recognizing everything good in your life and looking on the positive side — appreciating what you have, loving the people in your life and enjoying every moment as it comes. Money comes and goes, but these things are what bring genuine happiness.
“Always gon’ be a bigger house somewhere, but [brother] feel me, ‘long as the people in [there] love you dearly,” Cole said in “Love Yourz.” “Always gon’ be a whip that’s better than the one you got. Always gon’ be some clothes that’s fresher than the ones you rock. Always gon’ be a [girl] that’s badder out there on the tours, but you ain’t never gon’ be happy ’til you love yours.”