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Here’s a random thought that might not have occurred to you: It’s not easy being rich.
Well, yes, there are all those things that money can buy to alleviate the burden of fabulous wealth – things like servants, summers in Provence, private jets, and such. But, as an article in the “Wealth” section of the New York Times reminds us, money buys things, not happiness – and the article reports that America’s poor upper-one-percenters are not happy.
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The chief source of superrich sadness? Overwork. It seems that our vaunted CEOs and Wall Street titans feel as though they’re always on the clock, expected to be in charge of every little facet of their business. But, before you fall into uncontrollable weeping over their suffering, let me give you the good news that whole flocks of psychologists, neuroscientists, and other healers are rushing to conquer this tragic malaise of the rich. They’ve even coined a term for this trauma: “Stress of High Status.”
The main symptom of SHS syndrome, we’re told, is “the feeling of always being rushed for time.” Excuse me, but if all these soothers of the elite think high status is stressful, they might examine the lives of those with low status. Try being a single mom with a couple of kids who’s juggling two part-time fast-food jobs and her kid’s schedules, while worrying about making the rent this month, and then having her car break down. Yet the Times devotes a full page to the pseudo-misery of these pampered ones, even citing a prominent psychologist who laments that “[wealthy] people spend less time doing pleasurable things and more time doing compulsory things and feeling stressed.”
More time doing “compulsory things” than that single mom? Get a grip! The sickness that has infected the wealthy class is not stress, but a plague of narcissism.
“How to Gladden a Wealthy Mind,” The New York Times, October 23, 2014.