Before making some thoughts on the topic, I want to present you with the results of two studies that are particularly significant.
The first one.
In 1978, social psychologist Philip Brickman conducted a study aimed at understanding whether people who had won large amounts of money in the lottery actually felt happier than in the past.
The researcher and his staff interviewed 22 people living in Illinois who had won amounts ranging from $500,000 to $1 million; the question was extremely simple:
All of them declared to be much happier but when, a year later, Brickman interviewed them again asking the same question, the answer was different; the lucky respondents left the impression that the winnings had not significantly improved their overall happiness, despite having enjoyed vacations and considerably more comfortable life:
Interesting? Not as much as the second study I’m going to introduce you to.
In 2006 Daniel Kahneman, David Schkade and a team of experimental economists conducted a study and thereafter published a paper in Science entitled Would you be happier if you were richer? A focusing illusion.
The Nobel prize winner and his staff wanted to evaluate the daily feeling in a sample of hundreds of people; the method used is the Experience Sampling Method (ESM), which uses a palmtop that at regular intervals invites the interested person to communicate his mood and its intensity by pressing a button: in this way, the researchers were able to collect interesting instant information about joy, irritation, anger, tranquillity, stress, etc.
Indeed, there seems to be a negative correlation between income and the quality of daily experiences: high incomes are associated with higher levels of stress and more intense negative emotions.
Now let’s draw some conclusions.
Kahneman said that
Especially when we are living an unpleasant situation, we consider the impact of a single event, the one that will help overcome the momentary difficulty; we tend to focus only on that one, exaggerating its influence and neglecting other factors that may affect our life.
In this case, the desire for a happy life leads to associate money, and what it makes possible, with the achievement of the feeling of well-being that we lack today; but what we neglect to consider is the negative effect that money can bring with it in terms of concerns, commitments and stress of various kinds.
If you agree in defining happiness as a condition of joy, pleasure and satisfaction, then you will not be surprised that Kahneman and staff’s research shows that
What do you think?