Good Day World!
In this highly stressful society finding happiness can be a real challenge. The pressure of daily life – just making a living – has a way of harshing many people’s attitudes.
There’s a lot of good reasons to seek happiness. Sometimes people think happiness can be bought like any other commodity.
If your rich enough you can buy anything and not have to worry about where your next meal is coming from. It’s easier than the alternative.
Most of us struggle to make ends meet. But does that mean we can’t be happy.
In short, the latest research suggests wealth alone doesn’t provide any guarantee of a good life.
What matters a lot more than a big income is how people spend it.
For instance, giving money away makes people a lot happier than lavishing it on themselves. And when they do spend money on themselves, people are a lot happier when they use it for experiences like travel than for material goods.
Life experiences give us more lasting pleasure than material things, and yet people still often deny themselves experiences and prioritize buying material goods.
Extremely wealthy people have their own set of concerns: anxiety about their children, uncertainty over their relationships and fears of isolation, according to research by Robert Kenny, a developmental psychologist and senior advisor at the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College.
His research shows the rest of the world, who often think that if they just made one more bonus or sold one more item or got one more promotion, then their world and their family's world would be so much better, that this isn't necessarily true.
There's another whole level of concerns that parents are going to have about their kids. One of those concerns is this feeling of isolation. That's actually a No. one concern for families with a high net worth — this sense of isolation — and the higher the wealth, the worse it gets.
Yes, it’s easier being rich than poor. No one can deny that. But money isn’t necessary if you can enjoy the simple things in life, like going for a walk, laughing at a friends joke, or writing a poem.
Happiness has many sources if we allow ourselves to seek them out. I’m speaking from the experiences of over six decades in the quest to be happy. Your greatest happiness can come from living in a close family, and having lots of friends.
It’s an almost unbeatable combination when you boil everything down to the basics. Watching your daughter take her first step, or your son say his first words, can be more precious than all of the money in Ft. Knox.
What makes you happy?
Time for me to walk on down the road…
(This column first ran in As It Stands 2/7/15)