Other points made in the discussion were:
- You cannot buy or earn happiness
- Happiness is love
- Poorer people are happier
- Being Unhappy is not a bad thing
You cannot buy happiness
Research, not funny comics has proven that.
When people win lotteries, for example, Layard said, “initially there is a big increase in happiness, but then it reverts to its original level.
So why do people want to win lotteries? . . .
They have a rather short-term focus, and they don’t seem to grasp long-term ways their own feelings work.”
“People grossly exaggerate the impact that higher incomes would have on their subjective well-being,”
The problem is that once people get past the level of poverty, money does not play a significant role in day-to-day happiness.
It certainly can buy things, but things do not usually address most of the troubles people experience in daily life — concerns about their children, problems in intimate relationships and stressful aspects of their jobs.
When people daydream about winning big, Krueger said, “they focus on all the things they would buy, without recognizing that does not contribute all that much to their well-being.”
You cannot earn happiness either
If you think that earning twice as much money will make you twice as much happy, you are wrong.
There are diminishing returns at play here.
I read a survey somewhere that if you earned $60,000 or less, you were generally happier than those who earned more.
Those who earned up to $100,000 (I think), were only marginally happier, and it didn’t seem that it would be worth the extra stress, lack of time and pressure just to earn more money.
And the return on money = happiness, came to a definite 0 after $100,000.
It’s all relative to those around you.
When a group of MBAs were asked whether they’d rather make $100,000 when everyone around them made $120,000, or make $90,000 when everyone around them made $70,000, a majority opted for the lesser salary if everyone at the company knew about the discrepancy, Schwarz said.
But if the salary discrepancies were kept confidential, about half said they’d opt for the $100,000 job.
Source: CNN Money
And this is perhaps where we run into problems, seeing all of these fabulous lives on TV, with people who are supposed to earn peanuts (Umm.. Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City?) but running around on high octane lifestyles.
We compare ourselves to what we think is reality, but is in fact, manufactured TV reality.
Happiness is love
And by love, they mean strong family bonds, a sense of a support system, spending time with each other (getting hugs, smiles, kisses), and having a great partner in life also helped.
People who are in love are happy people.
I find that when you aren’t with or around people you love, who care and support you, you feel unhappy.
And you project that dissatisfaction onto others.
Every time I see someone really grumpy at work, I just wonder if they’re happy at home.
When they are being forced to work long hours, and give up time with their family, I find that people get grumpier.
It may be because they need to earn more money to pay down their debt from their high-octane lifestyle, or just don’t want to be at home and use work as a substitute.
Poorer People are Happier
If anyone has ever traveled or known people who have traveled to very poor countries — they’re generally happy.
They don’t stress out about anything except the basics: Food, Clothing, Shelter and Warmth.
Other than that, the rest doesn’t even exist in their word — there’s no TV set or advertising Mad Men to tell them otherwise.
They have no manufactured dissatisfaction, or others in their village sporting iPods to make them feeling jealous at not having what others have.
Envy is what I believe to be the core of retail therapy.
We are so envious of what others have, that we try to level the playing field in our minds, by buying our way up to their “status”.
Being unhappy is also not a bad thing
Being unhappy or depressed once in a while is a good thing.
Trying to be happy all the time is a surefire way to fail at something.
It’s where permanent unhappiness begins — because no one can be happy ALL THE TIME.
I don’t think that anyone can be totally happy and politically correct all the damn time.
Some people may seem like that all the time, but once in a while, even they put on a mask to cover what they really feel inside.
Without unhappiness, we wouldn’t have a concept of the emotion of happiness.
Bad things are going to happen, and it’s just how you bounce back from them that makes the difference.
Plus, I read that tears (even ones you get from watching sad movies or reading sad stories), help cleanse your emotional blockages, and afterwards, you generally ALWAYS feel happier.
(At least, it my case I do).