What Is Wealth Essay Example



What does it mean to be wealthy? Initially, when people think of wealth, they picture a paraglider wearing a velvet robe covered in gold rhinestones soaring over the statue of “Christ the Redeemer” in Rio de Janeiro. Or maybe they see a family living in a four story mansion with 16 bathrooms made of quartz. Whatever the case, the majority of society has it all backwards. With lots of money comes great responsibility, judgement, occasional end of goals and ambitions, not real happiness, and having to sacrifice a lot. To be wealthy means to be supplied with tons of money and loaded with every materialistic thing one has ever wanted; though, having many possessions does not bring a lifetime of satisfaction.

Through the Prism of The Great Gatsby

In The Great Gatsby written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jay Gatsby struggles to maintain the happiness of that of a person with half the money he has. Although he is rich, it is stereotypical to assume that a wealthy person has everything he/she desires. Money can never make an individual as happy as one can make themself by accomplishing their greatest goals or experiencing the most exciting moments in life. Carmen Jacob from 21 Reasons Why Money Can’t Buy Happiness, says, “Psychologists call this the ‘hedonic treadmill’ – we get used to new things, and they become ‘old things’ and we decide that we need even newer things to replace them.”--It becomes an endless cycle since buying material things won’t fill that gap in our self-esteem or our self-worth. In that matter, Gatsby lacked contentment in life despite all of the pleasant items he owned. Regardless of his financial state, he was an unhappy person due to loneliness, losing the love of his life, and having his entire family die to a terrible accident.

In addition to that, being wealthy comes with great responsibility and judgement from others. Wealthy people are very often expected to donate to charitable organizations, balance family obligations, and personal and professional goals. Many people are reluctant to realize that living in prosperity is not so tremendous as it appears. While it sounds amazing to have a private plane or two acres of backyard area for parties, it’s the responsibility of having these valuable possessions that isn’t so amazing. Like in The Great Gatsby, Jay’s parents are gone and Nick is the only friend he has. Furthermore, he’s very much alone and his life is biased against by those of lower classes. We as human beings tend to compare ourselves to others and judge others before we even get to know them. It is, unfortunately, the root of our society.

“This idea has long been the domain of Cornell psychology professor Thomas Gilovich.--‘It’s not only living in the moment but also the anticipation of the experience.’” (Nicole Middendorf). It is essential for us to realize that experiences are far more memorable than obtaining material things. We are all about 100% more likely to be happier from achieving a lifetime goal than to buy or recieve something we have not originally worked for. Additionally, many people who become rich give up some or all of their previous goals and ambitions. They initially lose lack of ownership and are not willing to put in the time and effort to achieve what they want.

As Nicolas Cole states in 7 Reasons People Give Up On Their Goals Too Early, “Human beings love to fall in love with the idea of something grand. We love the thought of being a famous tech entrepreneur, far more than we love sitting in a dark room for years on end learning how to code.”--Just like in The Great Gatsby, Jay tells Nick that he enjoyed all the adventures and experiences of having all the money in the world, but despite that, he wasn’t experiencing all the world had to offer him. It was more like Gatsby was trying to use money to buy experiences to help him get over his heartache of losing his parents than living a free life of limitless cash.--It wasn’t true happiness.

Conclusion

One of the downsides of being rich is having to sacrifice an incredible amount in order to become that financially stable. During years of hard work to earn all the money an individual wants, they might have to cut off future opportunities, give up key relationships, and possibly miss out on life experiences that really matter to them. Ben Towne and Stan Hayward mention, in an article by Maggie Zhang, that, “If wealth simply compensates for the things you can't do, then the benefits are a trade-off that might not be worth it.” Gatsby had to sacrifice everything in order to become wealthy like he was before he died. He worked at many different jobs and even became a lieutenant in the war. By the time he got back from the war to live a happy, prosperous life with Daisy, he discovered that she had been married to someone else and no matter how hard he tried to get her to leave her husband, all his hard work was all for nothing.

The definition of wealthy is: “Having a great deal of money, resources, or assets.”--It means to be full of cash and to be financially comfortable with everything a person wants. They have enough to buy the most expensive things and buy the most expensive vacations, but their wealth does not bring true happiness, let alone a lifetime of it if they maintain their economic status.