If we have a positive mental attitude, then even when surrounded by hostility, we shall not lack inner peace. On the other hand, if our mental attitude is more negative influenced by fear, suspicion, helplessness, or self-loathing, then even when surrounded by our best friends, in a nice atmosphere and comfortable surroundings, we shall not be happy. So, mental attitude is very important: it makes a real difference to our state of happiness.
I think it is wrong to expect that our problem can be solved by money or material benefit. It is unrealistic to believe that something positive can come about merely from something external. Of course, our material situation is important and helpful to us. However, our inner, mental attitudes are equally important—if not more so. We must learn to steer away from pursuing a life of luxury, as it is an obstacle to our practice.
It sometimes seems to me that it is the fashion for people to put too much emphasis on material development and neglect their inner values. We must therefore develop a better balance between material preoccupations and inner spiritual growth.
I'm sharing the above because I'm currently reading An Open Heart: Practising Compassion in Everyday Life, by the Dalai Lama (edited by Nicholas Vreeland). It's thought provoking and I'm reading it slowly, reflectively.
I'm also watching live, right this moment, His Holiness the Dalai Lama's talk on "Compassion as the Pillar of World Peace" from the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. I found out about this webcast by accident when I was searching for the one in 1999.