Monday, March 24, 2008

Can Money Bring Happiness ?

Since at young age, I was always been taught and reminded by my parents that "it is better to give than to receive". No arguments made. Sami'na wa atho'na (I listen and I abide). Until recently I read this one article in The Star entitled "Money can buy happiness, if it's spent on others" by Deborah Jones. It was based on a research published in the Science journal that proves the scientific grounds that it is emotionally better to give than to receive. I said to myself : Wow, it has now actually been proven scientifically !

The researchers ran 3 experiments to measure how happy people felt after
a) spending money on themselves, or
b) giving money to pro-social causes (like buying someone a meal or give a charitable donation)

They found out that people who reported spending money on others were happier. Previous studies also found a correlation between happiness and charitable giving, but the new research revealed that pro-social giving is an actual cause of happiness.

The 1st experiment measured how happy 630 Americans said they felt, rated on a scale of 1 to 5, after they either spent money on themselves or gave to others.

The 2nd experiment measured the change in happiness of workers at a company after they spent a profit-sharing BONUS of between US$3,000 to US$8,000. Those who spent more of their BONUS on pro-social spending were happier. What affected happiness was not so much the size of the BONUS but how they spent it.

In the 3rd experiment, university students were given either US$5 or US$20, and instructed to spend the money the very same day. Half were told to spend the money on themselves, while the rest were told to treat others. At the end of the day, students who spent their money on others reported being happier !

So, can money bring happiness ? Yes, if it's spent on other people ! It's not how much money you make, it's how you use (or spend) what you have, that determines how happy you gonna be.

The moral of the story ? Those who received 1.5 month bonus should treat or "belanja" their 1.0 colleagues more frequently ... hehehhh :) Wanna be happy ? Treat someone for a meal !

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