We’ve heard it again and again … money can’t buy happiness. According to the Beatles, it can’t buy love either!
But what if the order is reversed? Can happiness buy money?
The latest research supports the notion that happiness can buy money[PDF]. It comes from a team effort with researchers from the University of Virginia, Michigan State University, and last but certainly the most, the University of Illinois. Okay, we’re biased but at least we admit it.
Happiness buys an extra $8,263 a year!
The researchers surveyed incoming freshmen at 25 elite colleges. We’re not sure how they defined “elite”, but we’re pretty sure it’s the schools we attended!
The participants reported their cheerfulness. 19 years later, when the participants were about 37 years old, the researchers asked them to report their annual income.
On average, the participants in the highest 10% on the cheerfulness scale earned over 15% more than those in the lowest 10%. In 1995 dollars, this was a difference of $8,263 a year, on average ($62,681 vs. $54,318).
Attitude to altitude
That’s a bigg difference. So not only can happiness buy you money, it can buy quite a bit of it! Apparently attitude does determine altitude!
That’s one of the bigg takeaways here. If we approach the days of our lives with the right attitude, we’ll be more productive. We’ll show more initiative. We’ll get more opportunities.
More money, less risk
We also found it interesting that the most cheerful participants were one-third less likely to ever be unemployed than the least cheerful. It appears that being of good cheer not only helps you be more prosperous, it reduces your risk as well. That’s a slam dunk!
And it flies in the face of conventional wisdom. We learn in business school that you have to take more risk to make more money. But as this study shows, you can make more money and actually have less risk with the right attitude!
That’s the bigg idea behind bigg success – to get all areas of our lives working harmoniously by finding synergy like what we see here.
Being too happy is costly
Here’s a surprising twist from this study: People who were moderately cheerful (above average on the researchers scale but not in the top 10%) earned the most on average.
They made almost 6% more than those in the top 10% and about 22% more than the bottom 10%. In 1995 dollars, that means they earned $3,563 and $11,826 more than the highest and lowest deciles respectively.
So being really happy leads to much better income than being really unhappy. But being happy instead of really happy is even better yet!
It turns out that Droopy had it right. He never said, “I’m really happy.” Just “I’m happy.”
Bigg Success is the community of bigg goal-getters. People who are usually happy, but never content. This research supports the notion that this “happy, not content” attitude leads to bigg success.
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Please join us next time when we’ll discuss what entrepreneurs have that MBAs don’t. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!
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(Image in today's post by Mattox)