This I Believe

stephany - palatine, Illinois
Entered on May 18, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Bill Gates is the richest man in the world with the net worth of $50 billion dollars; however, he is neither the luckiest nor the happiest man in the world. It bothers me when people today make remarks about how lucky people are to have so much money. Society solicits the idea that happiness comes in the form of hard cash, large houses, and customized sports cars. People today revolve around the principles of money and material wealth. The media as well as Hollywood promotes this grand image of “rich and famous.” Americans believe that is they were to achieve the amount of wealth that Bill Gates had, their problems would disappear and happiness would be bestowed upon their household. Children abandon their childhood dreams of being a cowboy, artist, schoolteacher in pursuit of “something else” with at least a six-figure salary. I believe that happiness cannot be founded on the principles of money and material wealth, rather happiness is derived from the passion, love, and belief.

I am a victim of hypocrisy. I live in a world where I spend too much money on acceptance in the form of ripped jeans, frayed shirts, and shoes that make you feel like you’re walking on thin ice. While people in impoverished countries are dying from hunger, thirst, malnourishment, I am suffering a fashion crisis: the realization that my wardrobe does not accommodate for an orange racer back tank top. These inhabitants of Ethiopia, North Korea, and slums of America truly suffer because they cannot afford the simple necessities of food, water, and shelter. Money, paper and metal, can determine the future survival of these people. Yet, Americans continue to waste money on fast food, designer jeans, and unnecessary “bling.”

People search their entire lives for the one thing that will make them happy. According the founding fathers, Americans have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, this pursuit has become corrupted. People will lie, cheat, and steal for the achievement of wealth. Somewhere along the journey of the pursuit of wealth, happiness becomes part of the “if factor.” For example, if I make more money this year, I can replace the television, get a new car, and possibly buy a vacation home. However, the world cannot be limited to those who covet physical wealth. There exist those few that sacrifice the dream of being the richest man in the world, for pure happiness. This group includes the kindergarten teachers, medical missionaries, and so many others who “chose to take the road less taken.”

Those who love their work have never worked a day in their lives. Life is honestly too short to be spent working a cubicle. Finding something you are passionate about and you truly believe in, will ultimately lead to happiness. It isn’t about the money, the cars, how many homes you have; it’s about living this worthwhile life of no regrets. At the end of your life, you want to be able to reminisce happily about the past accomplishments and adventures, if you constantly sacrifice the possible adventures for “the future” you might just end up old, bitter, and full of regret. I believe in living your life to the fullest and not be blinded by illusion of wealth.