When Richard Branson posted this on Twitter on 29 July 2019, the response was an avalanche of revolt.
“I truly believe that “stuff” really does not bring happiness. Family, friends, good health and the satisfaction that comes from making a positive difference are what really matters”.
It gained enough attention to have “news” of it broadcast around the world on assorted media.
The overwhelming response was “how dare someone rich and famous, with all the “stuff” say that it doesn’t bring happiness. He doesn’t know what it’s like to not have “stuff”. How can he be so outrageous as to suggest this?”
I imagine he probably would have foreseen that response. It may seem a little trite perhaps, but clearly the problem was not so much the words, but who it came from. But without even pointing out that Richard Branson was not actually born rich, I can’t help but think that surely he is exactly the sort of person who in a position to say this. You can only ask someone who has all the stuff whether it makes them happy or not. He should actually know. The rest of us are merely speculating that owning “stuff” will make us happy and solve all our problems.
And gee, aren’t we keen on believing that.
Like many others, I’ve grown up in a culture geared towards consumption of material goods. It’s bad for the environment and it’s bad for us personally in many ways. I’m trying really hard to critically asses the place “stuff” has in my own happiness index. It’s not as high as I first thought it might be.
If you want to read a solid study by 2 Nobel Laureate economists about how
“High income improves evaluation of life but not emotional well-being”
And another economist’s interesting take on money and happiness in this article: