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Wealth does not equal well-being

OK let’s get straight to the low point…

Did you know that more people die by suicide each year than by murder and war combined? Globally, that’s about one million people per year, and rising.

It’s almost impossible to believe isn’t it?

Black Dog / SuicideThis isn’t only shocking, it’s surprising…murder and war get SO much more attention.

Does the stigma attached to suicide silence the conversation about it?

Or maybe suicide just doesn’t have the dramatic potential, the shock factor, the ‘who-dunnit’ element or, well, the thrill of war and homicide. It’s just too quiet and quick to be interesting.

Are we more afraid of suicide?

Or does the extent of it tell us something we don’t want to hear? The figures illuminate how many suicides occur in ‘developed’ countries – in places where people are ostensibly closest to an existence of their choosing…where we’d expect to find most happiness.

Governments, psychologists, and others recognise the paradigm-shifting conundrum: greater wealth does not equal greater well-being. And new approaches to growth and success are being sought, through the creation of indices such as the Social Progress Index and The Human Development Index, for example. But meanwhile, we’re still being driven en masse down the same narrow channel of what well-being is and how to attain it. Just look at how we’re sold anything, and you’ll see what we’re expected to aspire to, what will apparently make us successful, fulfilled, happy.

Happiness is neither a destination nor a constant.

Life has ebbs and flows; we will all encounter challenges. If we aren’t prepared for these difficulties and disappointments, then we’ll not only suffer great distress, but we’ll also see no way to surmount it.

Instead, if we consciously choose to appreciate the gifts of life, ignore those who seed our experience with dissatisfaction, and develop our skills of resilience, then we will not step too far or for too long down that road to nowhere.

So what’s the high point?

Well-being is far, far, far simpler (and less expensive) to achieve than we have been led to believe. It’s within our own control. And we can decide to move in its direction at any time.


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