Is Happiness A Rich Or Poor Trait?

In the article “How to buy happiness” by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, it analyzes if a person can truly obtain happiness with a million dollars all to him or herself. The first thing on many people’s minds traditionally, is to “do them” meaning spend money on them. However, research conducted by a generation of behavioral scientists conclude that the acquisition of material items is a temporary conduit to happiness. The true conduit to happiness is doing for others.

Researchers made a case in point in the study of buying a home, which, according to them, is the American dream. However, it yields basic satisfaction and even less happiness because it becomes hollow when there’s no one to share that with. It’s more about experiencing life according to the authors and I tend to agree with them. Selflessness is paramount in the pursuit of happiness. I tend to be a very cynical person, however as I’ve matured, I began to appreciate the wealthy’s philanthropic nature. Besides it being advantageous to tax breaks, it actually is quite impacting on the receiver of one’s generosity. There have been studies researching whether a person’s generosity actually results in a person’s happiness, conducted throughout various countries such as Canada, US, Uganda and South Africa. Needless to say, it was discovered that there is a correlation between doing for others and being happy.

The overall conclusion, per the “Starbucks” study where gift cards were distributed among three different groups of people. 1st group: Instructed to use the gift card for themselves, 2nd group: Instructed to pass their card along to someone else, and the 3rd group: Instructed to use the gift card to buy something for someone else. The only requirement: Hang out with the person you’re buying something for. It was concluded that the happiest and most satisfied were people hanging out together.

It takes next to no money to indulge in true happiness. For me it’s nothing more than hanging out in the park with my sons. Throwing the football, buying pizza for my sons and their friends, taking my sons and their cohorts to school, etc. You see? That takes next to no money, and I get immense pleasure from it. It keeps me young and totally in the loop.