Friday, August 18


Daniel Nkado: The Thing about Money and Happiness

by Daniel Nkado

The relationship between money and happiness can be a very complicated one, if not controversial.

Because we live in a financial world, it is very easy to see people get lost in the race.

To many, money [riches, wealth] is the ultimate destination of a life's struggle.

We have been pre-programmed to think that once there is money, there would inevitably be happiness.

I wrote in one of my books how money can easily buy comfort but not necessarily happiness.

But for a lot of people who might be experiencing a new level of comfort for the first time in their lives, this could easily mean happiness to them.

That doesn't completely take away the difference though.

And I know there is also a quality of happiness that gets expired over time--sort of.

A poor man becoming rich will ordinarily, in most cases, feel happier. But it would only be a matter of time -- could be 5, 10 or 20 years -- before this newfound joy melts away, and the mind is focused on other things.

Because the human nature at any point in time is always wanting something.


Then there is also the biological part.

Yes, I personally think there is more to happiness that has to do with our individual biologies than anything we could possibly buy or own.

Some people are more biologically built to be happy than others.

I've seen people who have nothing, don't have any of those features society calls beautiful and drool over, but they still smile and laugh.

Some even go on to create fun with their condition.

But, quite contrastingly, there are still those who have all the money in the world and all the good looks and yet can't stop feeling miserable.

That is one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced in my life.

I once had the opportunity to stay days in one of the classy hotels in upmarket Ikoyi, Lagos, with free and exquisite breakfast served me each morning.

I would stay at the balcony and enjoy my meal while watching the gentle waves of the sea.

I was happy, or more correctly put, I felt happy, but not any happier than I were the times I woke up in the morning in my village to a cold rain and hundreds of tiny, winged termites flying about the air, the goats bleating as loudly as they can as they ran for cover and my grandmother [God bless her soul] would run through the rain to get all the animals into their house and lock the dwarf door.

Or the cool nights we came out with our lanterns to pick snails on the pile of greening bricks by the compound wall.

The afternoons after school we clustered around the udala tree waiting for just another fruit to fall.

The days we would sneak off to the stream at Nibo to swim and look for fish.

The Christmas periods we packed our bags to go to Mum's village and spend time with my maternal grandparents [God bless their soul].

The times we used spear grass to draw termites from their holes in the muddy ground of the backyard.

The time I had my first kiss at the back of the JSS 2 Block at Union.

The times we would all gather at UNIZIK Zoo Lab and do all the crazy stuff science students do.

The times I screamed Mama C-C-C and G-G-G with Aijey and Dinma at their lodge.

The first time Aunty Maths prepared native soup at the "corper's lodge" during NYSC.

And a whole lot of other times too that didn't involve so much money or sophistication.

They were simple, inexpensive things, but nevertheless very happy times for me.

And these days I only pray I will one-day come to be as happy as I were those days again.

For now, too, I've come to believe that happiness might be inversely related to age.

That the older you get, the more faraway it becomes!


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