Does money bring you happiness? Yeah, it turns out it sort of does, but in a mean, selfish, gittish kind of way.
Researchers from the University of California surveyed around 1,500 people in order to look at how their income affected their happiness. Or, more specifically, how it affected their experiences of the ‘positive emotions’ amusement, awe, compassion, contentment, enthusiasm, love and pride. Participants had to rate how much they agreed with statements like “Nurturing others gives me a warm feeling inside.”
It turns out, the more you earn, the more you experience the inward-looking positive emotions like pride and contentment. And the less you earn, the more outward emotions such as awe, compassion and love you feel.
So rich people get happiness from within, while poorer people find happiness in the beautiful world and loving people around them. Poor people hug each other while smiling, and rich people look in the mirror alone and laugh maniacally about how rich they are.
The study concludes: “Lower-income individuals have devised a way to cope, to find meaning, joy and happiness in their lives despite their relatively less favourable circumstances.
“Wealth doesn’t guarantee you happiness, but it may predispose you to experiencing different forms of it - for example, whether you delight in yourself versus in your friends and relationships.”
The question is raises, though, is does wealth make you a dick, or do dicks get wealthy? Does looking inside yourself for happiness give you qualities that might lead to you getting richer, like cut-throat ruthlessness, willingness to step over your friends for a fiver, the capacity to do bad things if you stand to gain financially?
They didn’t look into that side of things, the chicken/egg side of getting rich, but if anyone wants to do an experiment where broke people are given loads of money and then tested for smugness, I’ll happily do that, take the dosh and prove a point by turning into a total sod.