The ultimate source of happiness is not money and power, but warm-heartedness.
― Dalai Lama
In the Smithsonian Magazine article Why Power Corrupts, Christopher Shea highlights a study that identifies when power corrupts the individual, and when it does not. The answer lies in the moral code of that person. People in power can do greatness if they have a sense of self that encompasses fairness, compassion, generosity, and like values.
The findings were that power itself did not corrupt the individual. Power brings out and strengthens that person’s already existing values.
My father was fond of saying that the root of all evil was money (and power). I think he got it wrong. The difference I see is that it is the allure of money and power that can corrupt. In the right hands, it can lead to positive leadership and prosperity for all. In the wrong hands, it can destroy people’s lives, as witnessed by the many corrupt world leaders we’ve seen down through history. It all depends upon a person’s motivation.
The positive leader’s motivation is not in the allure of money and power for itself. An individual who keeps their generous and compassionate core values as their focus for their actions will affect life-changing results. Money and power may or may not result as a by-product of their pursuits.
The person whose motivation is strictly on how much power they can garner for themselves, or how much money they can make, will lead themselves (if not already there) into corruption. And eventually into ruin. This type of motivation is exploitative and robs that person of their true purpose in life.
It is very easy to give into the allure of money and power. We are naturally drawn to those things that make us feel good. And it is easy to desire the attention and indulgence money and power can provide. The irony of that belief is that the result is fleeting. And like an addiction, it must be fed greater and greater amounts to come up with the same boost to a person’s satisfaction.
True happiness comes from within. No external stimuli will produce any contentment close to the joys that come from living an authentic life. Integrity in following your conscience brings peace of mind and true happiness.
Avoid the allure of money and power. Its destructiveness can sabotage your happiness. Instead, pursue what is pure, good and in line with your true purpose. As the Dalai Lama points out, true happiness comes from a warm heart.
Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson