In a perfect world, this wouldn’t even be a discussion.
Every day, you’re bombarded with advertising, social media and other influences. They can make even the most-content person believe more money leads to more happiness. And maybe even that more stuff can mean a better life.
More, more, more. We always want more.
It’s easy to get hinged on the belief that once we have more of something, we will finally be happy.
But guess what? When you finally get there, you’re only going to want something else. This cycle repeats itself until one day you’re wondering where your life (and your money) went.
In a slightly altered quote from the classic novel and film “Fight Club” …
“We work jobs we hate … to buy things we don’t need … to impress people we don’t like.”
And sadly this is the truth for way too many people.
Happiness isn’t a destination. Rather, it’s a state of being that each of us has inside ourselves every second of every day.
Religious messiahs, great philosophers and spiritual leaders have been preaching this lesson since the beginning of civilization.
And now, we have the scientific data to back it up.
In six studies with more than 4,600 participants, researchers found an almost-even split between people who tended to value their time or money more. And this choice was a fairly consistent trait both for daily interactions and major life events.
Lead researcher Ashley Whillans, a doctoral student in social psychology at the University of British Columbia, had this to say:
“It appears that people have a stable preference for valuing their time over making more money, and prioritizing time is associated with greater happiness.”
These results, published online in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, aren’t surprising in the least bit.
But having scientific data is the type of realization some people need.
“Having more free time is likely more important for happiness than having more money,” Whillans said. “Even giving up a few hours of a paycheck to volunteer at a food bank may have more bang for your buck in making you feel happier.”
We think it’s important to do a self-check-in on your life every so often. To make sure your values are aligned with the person you truly want to be.
Choosing to spend our lives doing something we love, something purposeful that makes other people’s lives better, is priceless.
As the late Steve Jobs once said …
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”
So ask yourself, what really matters to you?