It is widely acknowledged that there are three main pillars of your life, the combined value of which add up to how happy you are. Your work, home, and your personal life.

It is said that of these three pillars, 2 should stay stable if one changes. I have always noticed how people’s personal lives change when their work lives change. Your access to earning changes you. We hate to admit it but it does. Though what actually changes, is not your financial status, it’s your horizon. It’s the prospect of earning more that pushes you in new directions. More on that later.

Life is not perfect

A few weeks back, we had the sad news of Robin Williams’ death, who many of us grew up watching. He touched our lives with his comic take on our humanity and he will be missed by many millions. His jokes were always warm, his charm at the ready. Despite his immense professional success he also suffered 3 failed marriages and battled with severe depression. There is no better way to show us that life is not perfect.

Perfect Pay

Last week I read a small but fascinating article in The Guardian about the ideal salary. Which is apparently £45,000. Looks a little low, right? Researchers found that life did not proportionately improve after this point. This is because at £45,000, you can have a reasonable quality of life, and going beyond this point people do so at the expense of the other pillars, affecting their personal relationships, not seeing friends, or negatively impacting their home life. This is not the route to happiness.

Funds Talent - Happiness Economics

3 years to happiness

Researchers have monitored the effect of life-changing events in people’s lives. The study was called the  the hedonic treadmill, and the results are amazing. They  followed various groups who had been through major things, good and bad. In all cases, whether you had lost a limb or won the lottery, you revert back to your original levels of happiness within just 3 years. After that time, lottery winners are not happier than injured soldiers. Three years. And you are back where you were before, faced with all the same fears, thoughts and challenges.

Money without power

The issue is that money doesn’t really change anything about you. It changes your world, but you? You stay the same. That’s why after a certain comfort level, it doesn’t have the power to make you any happier. It is not like progression, personal success in learning, proximity to friends and family, a social life. Want to be happier? A short term course of therapy is 32 times more effective at increasing happiness than an increase in income.

A salary increase pales in comparison with the thought of winning the lottery increase doesn’t it? But even that won’t last.

Your pay packet and your smile

You might think a pay rise will make you happy, but the way your brain is hard-wired has more to do with your average level of happiness. Daniel Kahneman will tell you that. You might consider moving for a pay-rise, but if you have a great team, you love your boss, or you genuinely love your job, then why give it up? Don’t make the mistake of thinking it will make you happier.

Robin Williams: ‘Poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for’.

I have included a lot of links into other sites in this blog, there is so much that I wanted to say, but hopefully if you are interested in these themes this will enable you to explore further. Happy hunting. 

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