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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 August 16, 2018

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

3. Get comfortable with discomfort

One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

4. See failure as a teacher

Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

5. Take baby steps

Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

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The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

6. Hang out with risk takers

There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

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9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

10. Focus on the fun

Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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