Money can't buy you love but it can buy you happiness
‘Money can't buy you love but it can buy you happiness – as long as it's money for someone else’ discovered Harvard professor Michael I. Norton and colleagues Elizabeth W. Dunn and Lara B. Aknin in their latest research described in the journal Science. It was their article that prompted me to want to explore the issue of 'happiness'. Ultimately our deepest desire is to avoid suffering and stress, or in other words, we do and buy things to help us feel more comfortable and happy.
Have you ever stopped to think and observe which are the things that bring you happiness? When do you feel at your very best? Which attitudes and actions make you feel really, really good inside?
In their research Norton, Dunn and Aknin found that how much money people earn is less important for their happiness than how they choose to spend it.
In one of the studies, they showed that spending as little as $5 over the course of a day on another person led to demonstrable increases in happiness. In other words, people needn't be wealthy and donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity to experience the benefits of spending; small changes—a few dollars reallocated from oneself to another—can make a difference.
Their findings confirm my own observations over the years. In fact I would add that each time we do something for someone else our happiness increases. This can be as simple as helping someone crossing the road, or helping a colleague with a problem, or supporting a friend in need. Sharing, connecting, contributing feeling part of a whole, having a common cause is our nature. Whenever we engage in ‘giving’ we feel at our best, as long at our giving is not connected with wanting something in return. The value in giving lies in the reaching out, in the moving away from our self – giving in fact is a way of creating more openness and space.
And we need more happiness. We need it in our daily lives, in our work environment, in our relationships. We need happiness to create extraordinary lives and businesses, to feel good with ourselves. The bottom line is: whatever we do, if we do not feel good about it then it has little value.
How about increasing your own happiness? Here are some ideas that have worked for me over the years:
• Contribution by creating opportunities for others to develop and be their very best – in our families, communities or organizations
• Looking at ways to bring people together to work for a common cause
• Creating and communicating values that enhance people’s daily interactions
• Being open minded to the fact that other people behave differently from us and cutting them some slack
• Contributing money or time to a cause the we feel strongly about
• Being authentic, honest, vulnerable, considered, kind, caring…after all the biggest gift we have to give is our SELF.
With my best wishes for your happiness,