What matters most to you? What do you spend your time dreaming about? Fame? Success? Fortune?
Or is it something totally different? Is it family? God? Finding happiness?
Despite how we prioritize our lives, we all have to turn some of our attention to money so we can pay the bills. With the recent economic downturn, it's hard not to put most of our focus on money. Nearly every news station is constantly addressing money. Whether it's Wall Street, the national deficit or austerity measures, it feels like making money is always the topic of discussion.
Personally, budgeting can be very overwhelming when the numbers aren't adding up how you would like. It can feel like your world is crashing down and the only thing you can do is pray that it gets better.
But why is it that we feel so much pressure to find wealth? On the surface, we may feel attracted to a luxurious lifestyle; ditching the minivan for a sports car and dressing our kids in the nicest clothes appeals to many.
Yet for most of us, these desires are mostly motivated by family. After a long night at the office, you might be thinking, "I wish I could afford a secluded cabin so I could spend more time with the kids." Maybe you feel like if you just had a little bit more money, everything would be easier.
Money can work wonders, but it can't do everything. Although money can pay your mortgage, it might not put a smile on your grumpy teen's face. Even though it might pay for a great trip to Disneyland, it might not stop your toddler from having a temper tantrum in the middle of the park.
Recently, an image went viral on Reddit. It is a picture of a phrase someone painted on a wall somewhere. It reads, "Some people are so poor, all they have is money."
This really changes our perspective about money. Sure it's nice to have, but it doesn't make you really rich with the things that matter. And it could never come close to replacing the invaluable things in our lives, like family and friends.
In the video, a professor tells his students to pursue whatever makes them happy and they would find the most success that way. By chasing your dreams, you may or may not find fortune, but you will definitely find joy.
A memorable, timeless example of this lesson is the in the classic film "It's a Wonderful Life." George Bailey, a father who grudgingly runs his family's business, has his life turned upside down when his co-worker loses a huge amount of cash. Distressed, George wonders how he can stay out of prison, because it appears that he stole the money.
At the end of the film, all of the people George has helped during his lifetime bring all of their cash to help George pay the debt.
One of the last lines of the movie is, "No man is a failure when he has friends."
That's something you could never buy.
When the monetary stresses of life get you down, take time to consider all that you have - that money can't buy.