Enjoyment of Life
The gap between wealth and poverty widens, fueling the discontent of those in poverty at the bottom who cannot enjoy the fruits of prosperity. A living standard above poverty is needed to attain and maximize happiness.
Social science research shows that incomes beyond middle-class living standards generally do not lead to more happiness. Paradoxically, wealth buys complexity, reducing one’s enjoyment of life. Troubles, concerns, and other distractions displace happiness. Thus, more money doesn’t buy more enjoyment.
Mongolia offers this ancient inspiration during joyless times: ‘Not forever can one enjoy stillness and peace. Nor are misfortune and destruction final. When the grass has been burnt by the fire of the steppe, it will grow anew in summer.’
You certainly need good mental and physical health, water, food, clothing, shelter, stable human relationships, and opportunity to pursue happiness. But you don’t need material wealth, or the symbols of status that you think you ‘need’, to find happiness.
A simple life affords freedom to enjoy simple pleasures.