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What’s Your Currency For Happiness?

Poor people count money. (Some) Rich people also count money. Ironic, because happiness doesn’t have a currency. What’s one currency that truly ‘purchases’ happiness for you? What’s one way you can enable a lifestyle that ‘purchases’/creates more happiness?

Merriam-Webster defines money as:

“Something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value, or a means of payment”

There is two parts to this definition – money is something you give to get something and that something has value as defined by its payment rate. We define the value of goods, services, and even the currency itself by so many different factors: perceived value by the customers, availability/accessibility of the goods, the reputation of the vendor, and ultimately, the country’s current economic status.

Scary? It’s a little bit scary to me. Because in the world today, despite many people repeating “Money doesn’t buy happiness”, the driving force behind capitalism leaves us little choice but to believe that happiness lies somewhere in the dollar, the counting of dollars, what you can buy with dollars.

Another irony exists here – just think of the last time you bought something. How long did the happiness last after the purchase? 2 days? 2 hours? 2 minutes? For most people, happiness doesn’t last long and quickly falls back to baseline. I’m not saying money (and what it can buy) isn’t important – just that there is a point where more money does not equal more happiness. Once you have enough money to meet basic needs (a safe place to live, food to eat, a little bit extra for impulse purchases), happiness plateaus. A bigger house, a nicer car, a new wardrobe really just serve to combat boredom and the lack of understanding of what truly makes you happy.

Here’s a great article on this topic, analyzing lottery winners and their resulting changes (or lack thereof) of happiness: Winning The Lottery, Does It Guarantee Happiness?

Some key excerpts:

“Research in psychology and economics has found that people do get happier as their income increases, but only up to a certain level where they are comfortable. One of the more recent studies on the subject, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year, found life satisfaction rises with higher incomes up to a household income of about $75,000, and levels off afterward.

Once we buy something, we get used to having it around, and it no longer gives us the pleasure it did in the first few days following a purchase. An experience, on the other hand, can be enjoyed again and again when you remember it and tell others about it.”

So what is the value of your happiness? And what would you give/spend in order to get that happiness? Time? Energy? Help? Negative beliefs?

Happiness doesn’t have a monetary currency, but there are intangibles that you can trade to gain more happiness in your life.

I’d like to hear from you – What is one form of happiness, a good or service so to speak, for you? What is something you would spend/give that would enable you to obtain more happiness?

For me: One form of happiness is visiting places in nature that inspire a feeling of awe, that feeling where wow there is something bigger than me and I’m lucky to be able to experience this place.

What am I willing to give: Allowing myself the time and creating a career that allows me to travel frequently (my goal is once a month road trip, once a year international trip). There’s a lot of mini-currencies involved in this – in terms of using energy, creating supportive relationships, discarding beliefs that it’s not possible, ‘sacrificing’ potential upward career movements, restricting location, etc.

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