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Why Doing a Job That Pays More Doesn’t Increase Your Happiness

Why Doing a Job That Pays More Doesn’t Increase Your Happiness

Nod your head if you know someone who is not satisfied with their job, despite earning copious amounts of money. I’m pretty sure that you can at least name one person. Or maybe you are that person? Previous studies have shown that there is a positive correlation between income growth and happiness. The problem is, these were short-term studies.

Happiness-Income Paradox

In a research paper entitled Happiness-Income Paradox Revisited, Richard Easterlin, professor of Economics and founder of the field of happiness studies, revisits the happiness-income paradox or the Easterlin paradox. The study analyzed the happiness and income relationship – across a worldwide sample of 37 countries over a period of 22 years.

In speaking to Science Daily, Easterlin explains the paradox as follows:

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“Simply stated, the happiness-income paradox is this: at a point in time both among and within countries, happiness and income are positively correlated. But, over time, happiness does not increase when a country’s income increases.”

Easterlin goes on to say:

“Where does this leave us? If economic growth is not the main route to greater happiness, what is? We may need to focus policy more directly on urgent personal concerns relating to things such as health and family life, rather than on the mere escalation of material goods.”

The Factors of Improved Job Satisfaction And Happiness

Money then really doesn’t buy us happiness. Sure, it matters. We need it to survive. We need it to pay the bills. We need it to do stuff we enjoy. But our job satisfaction and ultimately our happiness does not depend solely on it. There are other factors to consider.

This is highlighted by Robert H. Frank – Economic Professor and NY Times contributor, in his article, The Incalculable Value of Finding a Job You Love.

Attractive working conditions, greater workplace autonomy, more opportunities for learning and enhanced workplace safety – are all factors. An important dimension of job satisfaction is also how people feel about their companies’ mission or values.

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Frank uses the example of someone weighing up two jobs for writing advertising copy for two different companies. The first is for the American Cancer Society campaign to discourage teenage smoking, and the second is for a tobacco industry campaign to encourage it. He asked his students at Cornell which one of these they would choose if the pay was identical. Almost 90% were in favor of the former. No surprise there.

But arguably one of the most important elements of job satisfaction and ultimately happiness is doing something you truly love. Psychologists have identified “flow” as one of the most satisfying human psychological states. It happens when you are so engrossed in an activity that you lose track of time and what is going on around you. During flow, people often experience deep enjoyment and creativity. Many people who do jobs they love can attest to experiencing such feelings.

Do A Job You Love, Money Doesn’t Matter

Wouldn’t you want to experience such feelings all the time? Particularly as you spend a huge portion of your life working. No one is denying the importance of money. After all, we need it to survive. We need it to pay the bills. But as Frank mentions:

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“…social science findings establish clearly that once you have met your basic obligations, it’s possible to live a very satisfying life even if you don’t earn a lot of money.”

It makes sense then to do a job you truly love, even if your earnings aren’t high. If you are someone who has already found that job, thumbs up to you and if you are someone who hasn’t, keep searching. Find that flow. It will be worth it.

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on February 13, 2019

10 Things Happy People Do Differently

10 Things Happy People Do Differently

Think being happy is something that happens as a result of luck, circumstance, having money, etc.? Think again.

Happiness is a mindset. And if you’re looking to improve your ability to find happiness, then check out these 10 things happy people do differently.

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. -Dalai Lama

1. Happy people find balance in their lives.

Folks who are happy have this in common: they’re content with what they have, and don’t waste a whole lot of time worrying and stressing over things they don’t. Unhappy people do the opposite: they spend too much time thinking about what they don’t have. Happy people lead balanced lives. This means they make time for all the things that are important to them, whether it’s family, friends, career, health, religion, etc.

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2. Happy people abide by the golden rule.

You know that saying you heard when you were a kid, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Well, happy people truly embody this principle. They treat others with respect. They’re sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other people. They’re compassionate. And they get treated this way (most of the time) in return.

3. Happy people don’t sweat the small stuff.

One of the biggest things happy people do differently compared to unhappy people is they let stuff go. Bad things happen to good people sometimes. Happy people realize this, are able to take things in stride, and move on. Unhappy people tend to dwell on minor inconveniences and issues, which can perpetuate feelings of sadness, guilt, resentment, greed, and anger.

4. Happy people take responsibility for their actions.

Happy people aren’t perfect, and they’re well aware of that. When they screw up, they admit it. They recognize their faults and work to improve on them. Unhappy people tend to blame others and always find an excuse why things aren’t going their way. Happy people, on the other hand, live by the mantra:

“There are two types of people in the world: those that do and those that make excuses why they don’t.”

5. Happy people surround themselves with other happy people.

happiness surrounding

    One defining characteristic of happy people is they tend to hang out with other happy people. Misery loves company, and unhappy people gravitate toward others who share their negative sentiments. If you’re struggling with a bout of sadness, depression, worry, or anger, spend more time with your happiest friends or family members. Chances are, you’ll find that their positive attitude rubs off on you.

    6. Happy people are honest with themselves and others.

    People who are happy often exhibit the virtues of honesty and trustworthiness. They would rather give you candid feedback, even when the truth hurts, and they expect the same in return. Happy people respect people who give them an honest opinion.

    7. Happy people show signs of happiness.

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    smile

      This one may sound obvious but it’s a key differentiator between happy and unhappy people. Think about your happiest friends. Chances are, the mental image you form is of them smiling, laughing, and appearing genuinely happy. On the flip side, those who aren’t happy tend to look the part. Their posture may be slouched and you may perceive a lack of confidence.

      8. Happy people are passionate.

      Another thing happy people have in common is their ability to find their passions in life and pursue those passions to the fullest. Happy people have found what they’re looking for, and they spend their time doing what they love.

      9. Happy people see challenges as opportunities.

      Folks who are happy accept challenges and use them as opportunities to learn and grow. They turn negatives into positives and make the best out of seemingly bad situations. They don’t dwell on things that are out of their control; rather, they seek solutions and creative ways of overcoming obstacles.

      10. Happy people live in the present.

      While unhappy people tend to dwell on the past and worry about the future, happy people live in the moment. They are grateful for “the now” and focus their efforts on living life to the fullest in the present. Their philosophy is:

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      There’s a reason it’s called “the present.” Because life is a gift.

      So if you’d like to bring a little more happiness into your life, think about the 10 principles above and how you can use them to make yourself better.

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