Yesterday I watched a rather interesting video made by a guy by the name of Daniel Pink (danpink.com). It blew my mind.
I laughed at it at one point because he talked about the fact that in America there is rampant abundance, the average income over the last 35 years has gone up significantly, the average house size has gone up, people have two or three cars per family (a huge luxury 35 years ago) and the self-storage industry (finding a place to put all of our EXTRA stuff – even though house sizes have increased) does more busines than the top three fast food chains combined.
Here’s the kicker though – the level of happiness in america – has stayed the same.
It is scientific proof that more money and more stuff does NOT equal more happiness.
I laughed because I had figured this out a while ago and was surprised to be seeing it presented to a bunch of business men and women who were eating it up!
There is a phenomenon called Hedonistic Adaptation – which to put it simply means you adapt to the level of prosperity where you are at. If you are making $20,000 a year you’ll live at that level. If you then get a raise of lets say $2,000 per year (and you’re saying “I want to work at this company!” – it’s an example, it’s not supposed to be realistic OK) then after ten years you’d be making $40,000. but you’d still fee like you don’t quite have enough. WHY? because you will adapt to the new wealth.
Even lottery winners adapt surprisingly quickly to their sudden increase in wealth and once the immediate “High” goes away studies have found that they are no happier than they were before. They ADAPT to their new situation. Ever hear of a fellow called Charles Darwin, he said that human beings have survived because of our ability to adapt and that is exactly what we are doing!
So how do you find happiness then, if you will constantly be adapting to what is going on around you?
Don’t look around your for happiness – look within you.
Laugh for no reason (reasons are around you).
Laugh just because. Laugh from within. If you can understand this simple shift in perspective I guarantee you will be happier. You may not be a lot happier, not at first, but as time goes by and you find more within yourself to be happy about, it will change your life.
It changed mine.