Aug 3, 2010
Bucko's Bucks - Can Money Make You Happy?
Needless to say, this contradicts one of the central assumptions of modern society, which is that more money equals more pleasure. That’s why we work hard, fret about the stock market and save up for that expensive dinner/watch/phone/car/condo. We’ve been led to believe that dollars are delight in a fungible form.
But the statistical disconnect between money and happiness raises a fascinating question: Why doesn’t money make us happy?
A man who is given a drink of water after being lost in the Mojave Desert may at that moment rate his happiness as eight. A year later, the same drink might induce him to feel no better than a two. This phenomena is called experience-stretching.
What does experience-stretching have to do with money and happiness? Because money allows us to enjoy the best things in life – we can stay at expensive hotels and eat exquisite sushi and buy the nicest gadgets – we actually decrease our ability to enjoy the mundane joys of everyday life (sunny days, cold beers, and chocolate bars). And since most of our joys are mundane – we can’t sleep at the Ritz every night – our ability to splurge actually backfires. We try to treat ourselves, but we end up spoiling ourselves.
I say that happiness must come from within, and I can say that I am a happy person. I absolutely can live with what I see in the mirror. How about you?