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If Money Can’t Buy You Happiness, What Can?

If Money Can’t Buy You Happiness, What Can?

Think of the last time your bought something you really wanted. How did you feel afterwards? It felt good.

    Now, is there something else you really want? Maybe a new laptop, smartphone, or some nice clothes. Buying that thing, whatever it is, will bring you happiness. When you finally have it, you will be excited to try it out.

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            As cliche as it says “money can’t buy you happiness”, we feel happy when we buy the things we want.

          The Real Reason Why You Are Happy When You Buy Stuff

          Human beings are hardwired to seek instant gratification. You’ve probably heard the phrase instant gratification hundreds of times. To get that thing we want, the moment we want it. This desire for instant gratification came to us as a survival mechanism. I’m not going to talk about instant gratification in details here, if you want to find out more about it, take a look at 5 Ways to Get Over Approval Addiction and Instant Gratification.

          While instant gratification is in human’s nature, we live in a society driven by delayed gratification. Delayed gratification is the desire for something but the inability to get it when you want. In our society, you have to wait for your pay day, your meal at a restaurant, your coffee at Starbucks. When the thing you want finally arrives, you get excited.

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            Your excitement for this thing, the delayed gratification often elicits stronger emotional responses in you than when you get it. This feeling comes from dopamine a chemical that influences the pleasure centers in our brains.[1] When you become excited for something, you are actually enjoying a release of dopamine into our system. The thing you are actually excited for is almost secondary to it.

            Think about it, how did you feel a couple hours after buying something you waited a long time for? It was probably not nearly as good as when you first got it, or when you’re waiting to get it. It’s natural, it’s a part of human nature.

              In this way the happiness you feel isn’t true happiness. In fact, biologically speaking, you’re just enjoying a blast of dopamine. When this blast of dopamine is gone, you want something new again, which is secretly, more dopamine. This is what that old saying “money can’t buy you happiness” really means.

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              There is, however, a way in which money can buy you happiness. It’s just not in a way you think.

              An Alternative to Buying Happiness

              Recently Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA conducted a study where two groups of people were given $40 each.[2] One group was told to spend it in buying a possession, an object, something they wanted. The other group was told to spend it in ways that would enable them to have more free time, for example, having food delivered to save them from cooking, or hiring a cleaner, instead of cleaning their house themselves. When each participant in the study were to measure their happiness to a 10 point scale, those who spent their money on more free time were almost always one whole point ahead of those who spent their money on stuff.

              In a sense, they were happier because they brought themselves out of doing something they didn’t want to do. Just buying more stuff, in the long run didn’t have much of an affect on their happiness, when those who spent money on time found an increase in life satisfaction.

              It was the free time that made people happy.

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                It was the quality time that contributed more to their happiness, the money was just a tool they used to get more time. But the money ultimately is unnecessary. All that is required is a re-adjustment of how you measure time.

                Everyone has 24 hours a day. The life expectancy for females is 81.2 years; for males, it’s 76.4 years. Most people have more or less the same time of living. To make every hour, or minute count is the way to create your own happy time. If you are always feeling busy and don’t think you have enough quality time for yourself, you need to make a change to turn things around.

                To be truly happy, make quality time a true value in your life. Find out how to do so in my other article How to Gain More Time Like Making Money.

                Featured photo credit: Photo by Ross Sokolovski on Unsplash via unsplash.com

                Reference

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                Leon Ho

                Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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                Last Updated on June 24, 2019

                What Is Self Actualization? 13 Traits of a Self-Actualized Person

                What Is Self Actualization? 13 Traits of a Self-Actualized Person

                Have you ever heard of self-actualization? As someone who has been a personal development junkie for several years now, I was shocked to learn about self-actualization recently.

                When I came across the term, I couldn’t help but think, “What is this self-actualization thing, and how have I gone so many years without hearing about it?”

                Maybe you’re in the same boat. Perhaps you’ve read up on tons of other topics like self-limiting beliefs, how to gain more self-awareness, how to be more self-confident, but you’ve never heard of self-actualization.

                Don’t fret! I’m going to give you a crash course on what self-actualization is and which 13 traits are most commonly found in a self-actualized person.

                What is Self Actualization?

                When I explore a new topic, I can’t help but start with examining the definition. This one comes from Google Dictionary:

                “The realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone.”

                In my research, I found that the concept of self-actualization came from Abraham Maslow. Maslow was an American psychologist who is best known for his hierarchy of innate human needs. Like all hierarchy’s, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is listed in order of priority and is often represented as a pyramid.

                  At the bottom are physiological needs, such as food and water. Up from there is safety and then belongingness, which would include intimate relationships and friends. Above belongingness is esteem or things like prestige and the feeling of accomplishment.

                  On the very top of Maslow’s hierarchy rests self-actualization. And as we’ve seen in the definition, this means that the highest of human needs is to achieve one’s full potential.

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                  So, if becoming a self-actualized person means realizing our greatest talents and achieving our greatest potential, how do we go about doing that? How do we achieve self-actualization?

                  13 Traits of a Self-Actualized Person

                  Let’s start by examining the top 13 traits of a highly self-actualized person and work backward from there.

                  1. They Practice Acceptance

                  Self-actualized people accept themselves and other people as they are, and they have no expectations for how people should be otherwise. They understand that no one is perfect, and they accept their own quirks, desires, and flaws as well as those of others.

                  While many people wish they were different in some way, self-actualized people do not. They love themselves for who they are, and they do not apologize or feel guilt or shame for who they are.

                  2. Self-Actualized People Are Authentic and True

                  A self-actualized individual has a strong sense of who they are. They have a deep understanding of their beliefs and values, and they live in congruence with those beliefs and values.

                  Because they accept and understand themselves, they are authentic and true to themselves. They do not pretend to be anything they are not. Not only are self-actualized people authentic, but they seek authenticity as well, both in people and in the world. They are quick to spot dishonesty.

                  3. They Possess a Strong Sense of Realism

                  Another characteristic of a self-actualized person is their sense of realism.

                  To the average person, self-actualized people seem to have sound judgment or excellent gut instincts, but it’s far more than that. Their ability to logically and rationally evaluate the world allows them to spot dishonesties, fakes, and inconsistencies.

                  Self-actualized people seek truth in everything they encounter, which gives then a keen ability to see behind the scenes more often than most people.

                  4. They Live in the Here and Now

                  Because self-actualized people are accepting and are grounded in reality, they are exceptionally good at living in the here and now. Self-actualized people do have goals, but they don’t focus on the future at the expense of the present.

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                  For the self-actualized, the journey towards a goal is just as important as achieving the goal, if not slightly more so.

                  5. The Self-Actualized Are Autonomous and Independent

                  Self-actualized people are highly independent and do not conform to the norms of society. They do not depend on people, the world, or any external factors for their happiness. Instead, they draw satisfaction from their own development and personal growth.

                  They are comfortable being alone, and because they are so independent, self-actualized people are not bothered by the opinions that others may have about them. They accept themselves as they are, and the opinions of others cannot change that.

                  6. They Have Excellent Moral Intuition

                  Self-actualized people do not allow themselves to be molded by culture or by society. They have an excellent moral compass, and they are deliberate about their decisions. They reject what they see as bad or evil, and they adopt what they see as good.

                  Because they are driven by their own moral intuition, they have a strong code of ethics that cannot be swayed by society.

                  The self-actualized do not accept everything as black and white, right or wrong, They evaluate all sides of an issue and make their own decisions based on what they believe to be right and just.

                  7. Self-Actualize People Seek Growth and Development

                  Self-actualized people not only draw happiness from personal growth, but they are also intrinsically motivated to develop their potential.

                  They have moved beyond Maslow’s first four hierarchies are no longer motivated by basic human needs. They know that they are capable of more in life and they’re driven to see how much they can grow.

                  They also view their growth as a tool to help more people, not just themselves.

                  8. They are Problem-Solving, Humanitarians

                  Self-actualized people have a genuine desire to help the human race. They are quick to spot problems in the world and, because they are problem solvers, they don’t hesitate to look for solutions.

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                  This genuine desire to help is not rooted in personal gain, glory, recognition, or any other self-serving motive. Self-actualized people have a strong sense of purpose and want to leave the world better than they found it.

                  9. They Have a Strong Sense of Purpose

                  Because self-actualized people are humanitarians and they seek never-ending personal growth. They often times adopt a mission or purpose that is far beyond themselves or their own needs.

                  This mission is typically meant to solve a problem for the good of all mankind and gives them a powerful sense of purpose. This purpose demands much of their energy, and they are more than happy to spend their time making a significant impact on the world.

                  10. The Self-Actualized Person Seeks Peak Experiences

                  Self-actualized people seek frequent peak experiences. These are not everyday experiences of joy—they are experiences that involve a heightened sense of wonder, awe, or ecstasy—a feeling of transcendence.[1]

                  Peak performances tend to be highly significant to one’s life. They are fulfilling, thrilling, intrinsically rewarding, and in many cases, feel very spiritual.

                  While rare, peak experiences can happen for anyone at any time, those who are self-actualized deliberately seek out these experiences routinely.

                  11. They Embrace the Unknown

                  While most people fear the unknown, self-actualized people embrace it. Self-actualized people understand that to grow as a person, you have to step beyond your comfort zone and into the unknown.

                  Self-actualized people seek to reach their full potential, which means they have to explore the unknown. They cannot reach their full potential by staying where they are. They cannot cling to the familiar.

                  They do not fear the unknown. Instead, the self-actualized welcome and embrace the unknown—they accept it and learn from it. They are not afraid of the many curve balls that life tends to throw their way.

                  12. They Are Unconventional and Spontaneous

                  Because they are not afraid of the unknown, self-actualized people tend to be very spontaneous and unconventional. While they are able to follow most social and cultural expectations, they have no problem doing their own thing when they decide it’s appropriate.

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                  They do not feel confined by the norms of society and are willing to explore the unknown world beyond those expectations, even if the new experience is not a social norm.

                  13. They Have a Thoughtful Sense of Humor

                  Self-actualized people have a deep and thoughtful sense of humor. They are very good at finding the humor in most situations, and they enjoy laughing at themselves.

                  On the other hand, they never use humor to embarrass or ridicule other people, and they never make jokes at the expense of others.

                  The Path to Self-Actualization

                  So there you have it: 13 traits that self-actualized people share. To get on the path to self-actualization, you can study these traits and seek to live a life that mirrors them.

                  There’s no step-by-step plan to follow to become self-actualized. However, these 13 traits offer you a guide to becoming more self-actualized over time. Remember, becoming self-actualized is not a destination; it’s a journey.

                  You can learn to be more present in your life, to accept yourself and those around you, and to be more spontaneous and unconventional. You can work towards finding your purpose in life, to becoming more humanitarian, and embracing the unknown.

                  As you live your life, focus on improving these 13 areas of your life, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming self-actualized.

                  Good luck!

                  Featured photo credit: Denys Nevozhai via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1] Very Well Mind: Peak Experiences in Psychology

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