Contrary to popular belief, apparently you can buy happiness—for a whopping 1.56 million dollars.
Once upon a 1922, Albert Einstein scrawled a couple snippets of wisdom on a note he offered to a bellboy in Tokyo instead of a tip.
The renowned physicist had just found out that he won the Nobel prize in physics, so he told the boy that “if he was lucky,” the notes regarding his advice on happiness would be worth something someday. It was the best he could offer, as he didn’t have any money on him at the time.
After they sold for £1.19m ($1.56m) in an auction house in Jerusalem this week, l think it’s safe to say “lucky” is an understatement. Nearly 100 years later, the bellboy made out like a bandit with the unlikely gifting that was seemingly worthless at the time.
So what was this million-dollar message?
The first note, penned in German on stationary from the Imperial Hotel Tokyo read, “A calm and humble life will bring more happiness than the pursuit of success and the constant restlessness that comes with it.”
The second (written at the same time) simply read, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
The auctioneers estimated a much lower return for the items, but it turns out, our world’s obsession with the “secret to happiness” as dictated by a genius has a mighty high-dollar price tag.
Observers on Twitter were quick to point out the irony of Einstein’s advice on modesty and humility going for such an astronomical amount.
But irony aside, there is something to be said of the truth in Einstein’s wise words. As a society hardwired to chase success, wealth and power at all costs, perhaps it’s time for us to take a step back into simplicity. I don’t know about you, but I think the “calm and humble life” sounds strikingly similar to the one that Jesus Christ led during his time on Earth.
Perhaps that’s million-dollar advice after all…