So today I figured out the cause of unhappiness in most people. It’s because most people don’t own a red Ferrari.
I was leaving the grocery store in which I had eaten dinner. It cost me about $10.00. For a brief second, I wondered why that soup and salad cost $10.00. Was it really worth it? What did $10.00 today get you in comparison to $10.00 five years ago? A lot less.
Suddenly, in the parking lot, I spotted a red Ferrari. The person driving it looked like he was in his early twenties. He also looked like he didn’t need to think about the cost of his dinner. Immediately, my mind began to create a narrative around that twenty-year old and his Ferrari. I chalked up his ownership of that vehicle to rich parents. Unless he’s some super genius inventor or he won the lottery, the most likely reason a twenty-year old has a Ferrari is rich parents. Privilege. I scoffed.
I began to wonder if I’d ever own a Ferrari. It was beautiful. Ridiculously magnificent in comparison to every boring box-shaped vehicle on the road. None of them stood out. None of them made a bold statement without begging for the attention. The engine didn’t need to be revved, the music didn’t need to be blasted – the Ferrari was in and of itself a statement.
That’s what I was missing. That’s what would make me happy. A red Ferrari. I would have all the friends in the world if I owned one. And every guy would want to be in the passenger’s seat. And I’d hang out with all the fellow Ferrari owners…
But what if they had nicer Ferraris than mine?
What if mine was made in 2009 and someone else had a brand new one?
Wouldn’t I want that Ferrari instead?
And isn’t it always like that? People wanting what they don’t have, and not appreciating what’s in front of them? People seeing something material as an answer to their unhappiness?
I’ve bought things in my lifetime that I had pined for and didn’t end up any happier as a result. I achieved things in my lifetime that I thought would make me feel accomplished but no such feeling ever overwhelmed me with contentment and satisfaction.
Humans seem to have an insatiable desire for more. And we often think that more, such as a Ferrari, will make us happier. But will it? Maybe. For a second. But then you’ll want even more. And more. Does it ever end?
Maybe true happiness isn’t something that can be achieved through acquisition, i.e. of material wealth, relationships, friendships, a red Ferrari, etc. Maybe it’s only achieved when we stop thinking of it as something to be acquired and just start being.