Is flattery the key to success?


One definition of happiness is ‘ability to live life on your own terms.’ But sometimes, we define our happiness based on what others do, and then we try to ‘catch up’ with them compromising our own core values.

Aristippus, a Greek philosopher gained a comfortable position in the Kingdom through constant flattery of the King.

Aristippus once saw Diogenes, another Greek philosopher, dining on a meager meal of lentils and advised, “Learn to flatter the king and you will not have to live on lentils.”

Diogenes replied, “Learn to live on lentils and you will never have to flatter anyone.”

Following is the full story from the book Isaac Asimov’s Treasury of Humor: A Lifetime Collection of Favorite Jokes by Isaac Asimov

Aristippus of Cyrene and Diogenes of Sinope were contemporary philosophers of fourth century B.C. Greece. Aristippus preached pleasure as the greatest good and had a prominent position in the court of Dionysius, powerful ruler of Syracuse on Sicily. Diogenes on the other hand, held that all possessions were corrupting and favored a life of rigid virtue, which could be achieved only in poverty.

Aristippus once met Diogenes when the latter was engaged in washing lentils prior to making himself the soup that was the main article of his diet.

Aristippus said, “Oh, Diogenes, if you could but learn to do a small thing such as flattering Dionysius, you would not have the sad fate of living on lentils.”

And Diogenes answered, “Oh, Aristippus, if you could but learn to do a small thing such as living on lentils, you would not have the sad fate of having to flatter Dionysius.”


Only The Poor or Super Rich Say “Money Can’t Buy Happiness”

Money can’t buy happiness? That’s just wishful thinking. ~ Ruth Whippman

Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness, But…

It’s a saying that comes up time and time again. So many people will continue to tell you that money doesn’t buy happiness. They’ll tell you stories of all the people who won the lottery, only to be miserable a few short years later. They’ll tell you tales of humble folks who couldn’t be more satisfied with their lives.

Neither Doesn’t Being Poor

So, money can’t buy happiness, right? Well, that’s only part of the picture. Another way to think about it is that poverty isn’t going to bring you happiness either. In fact, poverty is much more likely to make you pretty darn miserable.

A number of studies have indicated that there is a certain level of diminishing returns when it comes to wealth and income. After you make enough to take care of your family’s basic needs — housing, food, clothing, etc. — more money won’t necessarily make you any happier. You might be able to buy nice things, but that 3BHK house isn’t going to make you much happier than a 5BHK house.

That’s one way that most people incorrectly approached this “problem” of being wealthy. They think that they can just buy nice things, throw extravagant parties and be happy. It doesn’t work that way. Money is a means, not an end.

It Can Buy Freedom

And that’s really what it comes down to. Money, in and of itself, probably can’t buy you happiness. But if you use it correctly, it can be an invaluable tool that can provide greater flexibility, incredible freedom, and a much improved sense of self-worth.

Money isn’t evil. Money doesn’t equal happiness. Money is neutral and it’s what you make of it that counts.

Closing Remark

When people start telling you money can’t buy happiness, take a good hard look at their finances. They are likely telling you this because they don’t have much money themselves. They haven’t tasted the freedom money buys. If they are super rich, then you know they are just trying to blend in and not look selfish.

Money can buy happiness because money buys peace of mind and opportunities for great experiences. Don’t be fooled by ego-consoling research and those who espouse! They are just trying to keep you from achieving your financial goals so they can feel better about themselves.


Wise and Witty Quotes About Money and Happiness

Looking back at the quotes about money that have survived through the generations, it’s apparent that thoughts about money and happiness have not changed all that much over the ages.

Money Can’t Buy Happiness

Several historical characters extol on the virtues of living simply and of the importance of faith, friendship, creativity and achievement over the pursuit of greater wealth.

  • “Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.” And, “By desiring little, a poor man makes himself rich.” — Democritus, pre-Socratic philosopher (circa 460 B.C. to circa 370 B.C.)
  • “Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has, the more one wants.” — Benjamin Franklin, author, polymath and printer (1706-1790)
  • “It is my opinion that a man’s soul may be buried and perish under a dung-heap, or in a furrow field, just as well as under a pile of money.” — Nathaniel Hawthorne, American novelist (1804-1864)
  • “He who loses money, loses much; he who loses a friend, loses much more; he who loses faith, loses all.” — Eleanor Roosevelt, author and first lady (1884-1962)
  • “Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” — President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945)

A Philosophical Disagreement

  • “It’s a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be happy without money.” — Albert Camus, philosopher (1913-1960)

It Might Not Buy Happiness, but It Sure Is Nice to Have

  • “I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.” — Mark Twain, American author and humorist (1835-1910)
  • “I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money.” — Pablo Picasso, artist (1881-1973)
  • “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.” — Woody Allen, director, actor and comedian (1935- )

Money Equals Happiness

  • “When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old, I know that it is.” And: “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from imagination.” — Oscar Wilde, Irish poet and writer (1854-1900)

My Favorite Quotes

  • “Wealth is the ability to truly experience life.” — Henry David Thoreau, author, poet and philosopher (1817-1862)
  • “There are people who have money, and there are people who are rich.” — Coco Chanel, fashion designer and businesswoman (1883-1971)

I want to be one of the “rich” ones. What do you believe about money and happiness?

Money can make you happy

Whoever said money can’t buy happiness, simply didn’t know how to spend it.

Money can buy you better food, better medical care, more free time and more meaningful labor – so why does people with more money are not much happier than those who have less? Jennifer Aacker and Melanie Rudd of Stanford, along with Cassie Mogilner of Wharton provide an answer: they aren’t spending it right.

In an article in the latest issue of Rotman journal, the authors offer seven tips on how to wring more happiness out of your hard earned money.

  1. Spend on experiences like holidays instead of things like jewellery. Experiences are usually shared with people we love and they tend to be our greatest source of happiness.
  2. Buy many small pleasures instead of a few big ones.
  3. Don’t spend your hard earned money on extended warranties.
  4. Pay now and consume later. Delaying consumption provides the benefit of anticipation, which increases happiness.
  5. Remember that happiness is in the details, so a farmhouse in the hinterlands may not bring as much happiness as you might think if you factor in the inconveniences you have to put up with when living there.
  6. Beware of comparison shopping because it focuses your attention on attributes that are not always important for happiness.
  7. Spend money on others instead of yourself — it actually gets you more happiness.

When asked to take stock of their lives, people with more money report being a good deal more satisfied. But when asked how happy they are at any given moment, they are barely different from people with less. This suggests that money provides us with more happiness when we think about it, but not when we use it.

If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy, Consider Time