Years ago I received a phone call from someone saying I’d been referred to him by my local servo owner. The caller said he had a great investment that would interest me. It was one of those too good to be true opportunities and I told him I wasn’t interested. “But,” he said, “you’ll make a small fortune.”
“Still not interested,” I said.
“Don’t you want to be rich?” he persisted.
“No. I’m content with what I already have, thanks.”
I was reminded of this conversation a couple of days ago, when a young real estate agent came to the door. Properties on our road are selling like the proverbial hot cakes and he thought we should take advantage of this. I said I wasn’t interested. “But I have buyers who are prepared to spend well over the odds for a property like yours.”
Perplexed, he said, “You won’t get another opportunity like this to make such a profit.”
“Fair enough. I can live with that.”
And he left, shaking his head at my lack of enterprise.
Yesterday, our prime minister – who keeps his money in a tax haven – said, “The 60-year-old aged-care worker in Burnie is entitled to aspire to get a better job.” In other words, said worker should be dissatisfied with what he has and, despite doing a valuable and worthwhile job, aspire to a better paid position. Ignoring all the assumptions made in his statement, it’s clear that we now live in a society where the pursuit of wealth is equivalent to the pursuit of happiness. Both are recipes for discontent.