Is money really everything? When did money become everything?

Following the discussion is class regarding the meaning of money, it triggers a lot of thoughts in my mind. Is money really everything? Do we really work only for money? When did money become everything?

My point of view is that money is not really everything and we do not work only for money. Well, maybe sometimes we do, but not all the time. Let me bring in some examples to justify my thinking.

Firstly, let us look at the comparison between US president Obama and our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. According to Ong (2013),  Mr. Lee receives $2.2M per year as compared to Obama who earns only $500,000 annually. Both took on the position as the leader of their respective countries but look at the disparity in their pay. The main focus probably should be why then is the underlying motivation that pushes Obama to take on his job despite the fact that he is very much underpaid as compared to the rest of the world leaders? Could it be that he has a high need for power? Or just like what he have said when he first ran for the election, that he wanted to solve the problem of income inequality?

Now how about we shift our attention to another occupation, the social workers. Have you ever wonder why are they willing to work in such a stressful environment even when they are compensated miserably?

In response to the question, I went to read stories of others who have become a social worker and the reasons they have given is that the job itself makes them feel proud and rewarding as they make a difference in people’s life. Some even enjoy the challenges that the job brings to them.

From these 2 examples, I want to draw everyone’s attention to see that people do not work just for money; they find meaning for their work. This is just like what Dan Ariely have mentioned in his Ted Talk “What makes us feel good about our work” that people want to make progress and feel a sense of purpose. YES, people work for money but because they need money for survival and pay for daily expenses.  However, it is not the only thing that motivates them to go to their office every day.

In today’s society where competition is strong, people are forgetting who they really are and what is it that they really want in their heart. Just like the story that Professor Audrey has shared with us in class regarding the issue “what amount of money is enough?” The story she mentioned about how people just keep upgrading their houses and cars as they compare themselves with others. There is a Chinese saying that goes “人比人气死人, 何必去羡慕别人”, meaning comparison are odious, why bother envying others. How are we ever going to be content with what we have and be happy of who we are if we do not stop comparing ourselves with others!

So let us all be brave and pursue what we want and not live a life based on other people’s expectations or the societal norms. Life is too short to have regrets and it is definitely OK to make mistakes and it is alright to be different as we are MEANT to be unique individuals.

I would like to end off by sharing an article entitled Top 5 Regrets of the dying by Martino (2013), to trigger some self-reflection.  It was stated in the article that the number 1 regret of the dying is that “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me”. If this is not enough to convince you, I would strongly recommend all to watch the Tedx talk titled “How to find and do the work you love” given by Scott Dinsmore. Personally I have taken away two main learning points from him and that is:

#1 Understand myself

No one will do it for you but yourself. Take actions today to find out about your strengths.

#2 Do the impossible

Believe in ourselves. People say they cannot do it because they do not believe in themselves or others say they cannot do it.  Surround yourself with people who believe in you.


Martino, J. (2013). The Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying. Huffingtonpost. Retrieved from

Ong, R. (2013). The 7 Highest Paid Political Leaders in the World (2013). Retrieved February, 27, 2015, from Yahoo News Web Site:

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