Happiness is built on relative wealth
I read an article recently that talked about one of my favorite subjects: happiness. It always seems like just a little more money will make us happier, right? If we just had a couple thousand dollars to buy a new computer, or a pair of shoes, or ten pairs of shoes if you are a girl, we would be so much happier! What does research say about this? Sure, it will make you happier, just as long as no one else gets a couple thousand dollars also.
The trick is that happiness, in relation to wealth anyway, is completely relative. If you get a raise and a promotion at your job, you will be measurably happier. What if everyone gets a raise? You will be just as happy as the day before.
This is probably a consequence of America’s culture of keeping up with the Jones’s. If we see that our friend across the street bought a sweet sports car, we need to buy the same one to show that we’re just as good as he is. Of course, we don’t take into account that our friend might have gone into debt to get that car, just like you will have to.
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. How can we increase our happiness factor? By increasing our income in relation to other people? Sure, that’s one way. Another way is to refocus our priorities away from showing off our wealth to getting only what we need.
Get rid of clutter, get rid of unnecessary things, and be happy. Your health and wealth will be the better for it.
Monday, August 13th, 2007 at 12:37 pm