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Can Happiness Buy Money

golden_eggWe’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?

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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.

Thanks so much for checking in on us today. You can get more tips and tools to be a bigg success by subscribing to our free weekly newsletter.

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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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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(Image in today's post by Mattox)

The Surprising Thing Others Expect from You

ug_of_war.jpgBigg success is life on your own terms. When we talk with people about their biggest challenge in living their lives on their own terms, one of the most common responses involves work – life balance in one way, shape or form.

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The tug-of-war

For many of us, it’s a perpetual tug-of-war. We love our family. We thoroughly enjoy our time with friends. We relish time to ourselves.

But we also love the work we do. We take pride in our accomplishments. Rightly so.

But we’re only human. We can’t be two places at once.

The result? We’re not as happy as we should be. We’re not completely fulfilled.

It may cause feelings of guilt. Depending on where the knot is in the tug-of-war we’re playing – which side is getting more attention – we may feel guilty about not giving enough attention to the other side.

When we’re at work, there are times when we may feel guilty about not being home. When we’re home, we may feel guilty at times about not working. It seems like a no-win situation!

The sacrifice

Research shows in our effort to have it all we’re sacrificing something that’s very important to our well-being: sleep.

So we end up dragging at work. Or we’re spent before we get home. By the time we get there, have dinner and do some household chores, we only have enough energy to crash on the couch.

But we keep pushing. Day after day, we push to the point of exhaustion until, finally, something inside of us says, “Enough!”

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The surprising thing

Stewart Friedman is a Professor at Wharton and the author of a fantastic book on leadership. It’s called Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life.

In his research, he has uncovered an answer to this work – life balance problem. It has to do with a surprising thing others expect from you. They expect … drum roll please …

Less!

Dr. Friedman’s research shows that other people expect a lot less of us than we think they do. In many cases, they’re not the ones putting the pressure on us. We’re putting undue pressure on ourselves!

You are the entrepreneur of a very important enterprise – your life. Just like any entrepreneur, communication with your key stakeholders is crucial.

  • Talk about expectations. Great entrepreneurs have these conversations with their employees. They talk about expectations with their investors. Follow that example – have a conversation about expectations with the key stakeholders in your life.
  • Discuss options. Ask for their help in discovering options so you meet their expectations.
  • Reach an agreement about respective participation in each other’s lives. Think of it as a service level agreement.

You’ll come away with a clear understanding of the expectations the most important people in your life have of you. Then you can focus on scheduling your days to meet those expectations. Or better yet, exceed them. After all, this is the community for bigg goal-getters!

Thanks so much for the gift of your time today.

We’ve heard over and over again that money can’t buy happiness. Please join us next time when we ask, “Can happiness buy money?”

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00445-072409.mp3

Related posts

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(Image in today's post by KevinKLuu)

Network Like a Cat

catBigg success is life on your own terms. Our focus today is work, one of the five elements of bigg success.

You may have heard about this. As cat-lovers, we found it fascinating. Researchers have identified a special purr – they call it the “solicitation purr” – which cats use to get attention.

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The researchers say the solicitation purr is a combination of a regular purr and a sound that resembles a crying baby. While cats purr with each other, it appears they really ramp up their solicitation purring when they communicate with us humans to get our attention.

Almost all the people who listened to cats purring identified the solicitation purr as more urgent. So we have trouble resisting it.

It made us think about networking. We’ll talk about the three networking cats:

The cat that meows

As soon as you meet them, whether in the real world or online, they pounce. They’re in your face making as much noise as they can. They want your attention and they want it now!

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georgeI remember getting a friend request in Facebook. I accepted. The next thing I knew, my new friend sent me a message that said, “George, do you have any health problems?” It turns out he was involved with a business that sold a product to improve your health. But isn’t that a strange way to greet a new friend?

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marylynnYet we see it all the time. I think it happens more with social networking. For some reason, it’s as if people don’t think they’re communicating with another person. They think they’re communicating with an object – a picture or a computer. But there’s a real person there.

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Being too aggressive too quickly may occasionally produce results. But most of the time, we avoid these cats. If we do encounter them, we get away as quickly as we can.

The cat that purrs

These cats sit around purring, mostly keeping to themselves. They’re content to let people come to them. They don’t make an effort to meet new people or to extend their social circles.

Because they’re so content just living in their own world, these cats miss out on a lot of opportunities because they don’t expand their network or it expands very slowly.

The cat with the solicitation purr

These cats want attention but they’ve learned there is a better way to get it than meowing. They’ve also learned that their regular purr doesn’t get results either. So they’ve evolved by creating a new purr. It has a sense of urgency along with a sense of calm.

Think about attraction, not the law of attraction but what attracts one person to another. People aren’t attracted to people who seem desperate. This is true in romantic encounters, but it’s also the case for professional encounters.

However, people also aren’t attracted to people who seem aloof. Cats who just sit around purring may be perceived as snobbish.

So evolve. Be the cat with the solicitation purr. Exhibit calm and urgency at the same time and you’ll network your way to bigg success.

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thanks so much for reading our post today. Please join us next time when we’ll talk about bigg water. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00439-071709.mp3

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A View that Leads to Bigg Success

watchBigg success is life on your own terms. Our focus today is growth, one of the five elements of bigg success.

We tend to avoid information that’s not consistent with our beliefs. There’s been a long-running debate between psychologists:

Do people actively avoid contradictory information or is it a more natural process? For example, it may be that we don’t hear opposing views because we hang out with people like us.

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Some new research [PDF] (led by a psychology professor at the best school in the world, the University of Illinois) has answered that question.

If you seek opposing views, you’re in the minority

The research confirms that people do avoid ideas that disagree with their own. They did this study to “see … to what extent people are willing to seek out the truth versus just stay comfortable with what they know.”

The researchers found that two-thirds of us choose information that supports what we already think. However, the more interesting part of their research to us was this:

They found that two types of people are more likely to listen to alternative points-of-view:

People who are confident in their own beliefs

We were out with a friend right after we read this research. The timing was perfect. She’s very politically active – politics is one area the researchers cited that we’re particularly reluctant to consider the other side.

Our friend told us that she no longer subscribed to a certain magazine. She said that she found she always disagreed with their point-of-view. After further discussion, it was clear that she’s not confident in her opinions.

If she had confidence in her opinions, it wouldn’t bother her to read the other side. In fact, by reading the other side, she might gain confidence in her positions. Or she might change her mind, but be more confident in her new opinion.

The best way to confirm your opinion is to continually test it against all the information available. Talk with people who hold counter opinions. Read everything you can. Try to balance opinions on all sides of an issue before arriving at a conclusion.

Even then, continue testing that opinion with any new evidence you find, both pro and con. Then you’ll have confidence in your opinions.

People who have to defend their ideas in public

It’s interesting that the researchers cite the much-maligned politicians here. Politicians constantly have to defend their point-of-view.

They serve as an example to us. Don’t keep your opinions to yourself; defend them.

We should point out two things here:

  • You have to be careful discussing certain subjects with certain people.
  • We’ve talked about things here in very black-and-white terms. Obviously, many if not most issues are full of grey. That’s what makes for interesting discussion!

When you do discuss your ideas, you will hear other points-of-view that you can synthesize with your own. Your ideas will sharpen and grow. So will your confidence in what you believe.

That’s bigg success … as long as you agree with us!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thanks for reading our post today. Please join us next time when we’ll discuss what we can learn from cats about communication. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00438-071609.mp3

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Clowning Achievements

clown.jpgIn case you’re wondering, there isn’t a typographical error in today’s title. We don’t want to talk about crowning achievements.

We saw a fantastic article in Business Week about the impact of humor in organizations. It’s an interview with Chris Robert, a management professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia and author of a recent study The Case for Developing New Research on Humor and Culture in Organizations: Toward a Higher Grade of Manure.

Now there’s a professor with a great sense of humor!

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Chuckles and creativity are connected

In his paper, he points out that humor is a universal language. It helps us feel more comfortable with other people. It brings out our child-like nature. It’s also contagious – one joke often brings on another.

Humor is also associated with intelligence and creativity, highly valued traits in today’s workplace. Dr. Robert notes that the main theory about humor is that we often laugh when two disparate things are put together.

A theory about humor? How funny!

He states that creativity often involves the same thing – connecting the dots. This link between being funny and being creative is supported by a number of studies.

Crack a joke and keep your employees

There’s also a strong connection between humor and positive emotions. He says that numerous studies have linked positive feelings with productivity in the workplace. So if you want a higher performing team, develop a sense of humor.

Finally, he points out that the real benefit comes in employee retention. People are less likely to quit if they feel their place of work is a positive place to be.

So how do you bring humor into the workplace?

Connect the dots

As we mentioned earlier, connect things that don’t naturally fit together. Here’s an example from Jay Leno:

“It’s crazy. First we had Mad Cow. Then we had bird flue. Now we have swine flu. Do we have to check the Chinese horoscope to see what flu is coming next?”

He’s mixing a current topic in with animals and the Chinese horoscope.

Pull it back in

Bring up a topic that was funny earlier. Or maybe it wasn’t funny earlier but it may be funny now. David Letterman is a master at this. Do you remember, “Uma … Oprah”? It bombed at the Oscars, but Dave often gets a bigg chortle when he does this.

Word play

The title to this post is an example. It may not make you laugh out loud, but you might get a little chuckle out of it. Sometimes a play on words can set off a bigg laugh.

A few lessons

Share other people’s humor like we did with Jay Leno. Understand that humor is subjective. You have to know your audience. Dave’s humor didn’t fly at the Oscars.

Be yourself. You can’t force it. Some people are good at off-the-cuff comments. Others have to plan it out.

Finally, remember that you don’t have to be funny yourself to participate. Laughing at a joke connects you just as much as making one!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Please join us next time when we talk about a great way to have fun with your friends using only things you already have in your home.

Thanks so much for reading our post today. Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00389-050709.mp3

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