Some people equate happiness in life to mean accumulation of riches
and material possessions. They think the more money they have and the
more worldly goods and properties they posses, the happier they will
be. Thus, they spend their whole life acquiring riches. But do they
really find the happiness and fulfillment they crave? No, not at all.
Research and experience have shown that the more people accumulate
worldly riches and possessions, the more dissatisfied and unhappy they
become. In Ecclesiastes 5:10-12, the
Bible instructs us: ‘He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with
silver, nor he that loveth abundance with increase…… The sleep of a
labouring man is sweet, whether he eats little or much but the
abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep”.
This universal paradox is also captured by the author of the book,
“Happiness: Lessons from a New Science’. He said, “Most of us want
more income so we can consume more. Yet as societies become richer,
they do not become happier”. Another writer affirmed, “People believe
that buying more and more things will make them happy, when in fact
research has shown time and time again that this simply isn’t the
The findings of these people clearly confirm the admonition of the
Bible in 1Timoghy 6:9-10: “They that will be rich fall into temptation
and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men
in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all
evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith,
and pierced themselves with many sorrows”.
Also in Luke 12:15, Jesus made it plain to us that, “a man’s life
consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth”.
Some people also hope to find lasting happiness and fulfillment in
their lives through their educational, career and sporting
Thus, their entire being is wholly devoted to breaking new grounds and
records. But while there’s nothing wrong in feeling good about awards,
rewards and promotions; while there may be many benefits in this
pursuit, evidence have shown that it has never been able to satisfy
the longings of the human soul. Feelings come and go, emotions rise
and fall; feelings and emotions are highly unpredictable.
Worldly accomplishments do not fill the most important vacuum in the
life of a man. Even after many awards, rewards and promotions, and
reaching the pinnacle in their chosen fields, like receiving the nobel
prize for instance, many people still find that there is so much more
to life that guarantee happiness. This is why it is not uncommon to
hear of some great, accomplished people taking their own lives out of
disappointment and frustration with life.
Ernest Hemmingway, Sylvia Plath and others readily come to mind.
An attractive physical appearance is one of the most highly valued
personal attributes in our society today. Many tend to attach their
happiness on the praise or positive compliments they receive from
other people based on their appearance.
This is seen in the extent to which some go to enhance their physical
appearance. They spend huge amount of money on things like clothes,
cosmetics, jewelry, hairdos and physical fitness. Some even go as far
as changing their physical appearance through putting tattoos and
doing cosmetics surgery on every imaginable part of the body.
To such people, their sense of happiness in life has been shaped by
how they look. No wonder they sway back and forth between happy and
sad moments; they don’t experience true, lasting happiness.
In 1Samuel 16:7, the Bible says, Though there is nothing wrong with
clothes and taking care of your body to look great, this should not
form the basis of your happiness in life or else you would be
Some have the philosophical belief that pleasure should be the guiding
principle of a man’s life. Simply put, it is deliberate devotion to
fleshly pleasures and self indulgence. It encompasses sexual
immortality, gluttony, alcoholism, smoking and other indulgences. Many
have been caught in this deadly snare because, on the surface, it
seems the most appealing and gratifying to the human nature. Yet those
who have been caught in it know that worldly pleasure is far from
giving true, lasting happiness. Someone describes it this way: “…
pleasure is not gained by pursuit; the more one seeks it, the less one
finds it. It is like the rainbow which retreats as one approaches it.
The more one tries to seize it, the more elusive it becomes.”
In 1Timothy 5:6, the Bible describes those who seek happiness in life
through fleshly pleasures as walking corpses: “…. She that liveth in
pleasure is dead while she liveth.”
To crown it all, King Solomon , who went to the extreme in pursuit of
pleasure, has a regretful message for those who trust in worldly
pleasures: “ I said in mine heart, go to now, I will prove thee with
mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure…. I sought in mine heart to give
myself unto wine….. And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from
them…. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and
on the labour that I had laboured to do: and BEHOLD, ALL WAS VANITY
AND VEXATION OF SPIRIT….” (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11).
e) Position (Status)
Many people in our society think they will be happy only when they
assume positions of power, influence and control over others. This is
a great error. Their sense of happiness is tied to the status they
Such people are driven to do almost anything to seek positions of
prominence in business, politics and even in churches.
To them, to be happy they must extent influence and power over people.
Contrary to the thinking that your status equal happiness, reality
shows that it rather breeds pride and destruction.
Positions of power are only for a period of time. So what happens to
your happiness when you no longer occupy the position?