New car: $30,000. In ground pool for the kids: $20,000. New diamond ring for 25th anniversary: $4,000. Earning the money you spend honestly and through an enjoyable career: Priceless. When asked to define success, many people’s answers include the word “money”. Money is only a piece of paper that has been given “value” in order to trade it for something of equal “value”. So why does money define a person’s success or worth? Shouldn’t success be defined by personal achievements or at least sincere attempts? Why do we as a society allow others to judge our bank account as a direct connection to our success? People do need money, no argument there. We need it to survive and we need it to live in comfort, which it is safe to say, is a desire of all people. If you earn your money honestly, it should not matter what you spend it on to make you happy—as long as your purchases are needed or will bring genuine joy to you or those you love and not just give you a higher social status. “Some scholars have pointed [money’s] role as an incentive, insofar as people want money in order to trade it for prized goods or services. Others, however, have deplored money for undermining interpersonal harmony.” (Vohs 1154). Of course we work in order to make money. However, money should not be made just for the fact of making it. Vohs’s article notes that money makes people feel self-sufficient and independent of needing help from others (1154). This self-sufficient feeling spurring from money is an outcome of society’s definition characterization of success.
Arthur Krystal’s article Who Speaks for the Lazy? has many references to the way today’s society defines success in terms of money and career. In the very first sentence, he implies that success seems to be less attainable without a college degree—which leads to a career, which leads to money, which leads to “success”—success of course being that correlation between the checking account balance and...
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