A study in 1972, repeated in 2004, showed that the percentage of very happy Americans stayed virtually unchanged at about 31 percent. This despite the fact that the average income increase was about 50 percent. The findings of this study were also replicated in other countries. But doesn’t money make us happy?
It turns out that when we get more money, we are happier with more money, but only for a short while. Once we adapt to ‘more money,’ our happiness level drops to previous levels because now we need to acquire even more to get back to the ‘high’ level of happiness that we had when we got more money. To sustain our happiness then, we need to keep making more money.
But what about individuals who already have more money than they could possibly spend in several lifetimes? Last week, I listened to a news reporter ask Jimmy Pattison, one of the world’s richest people, if he ever takes a vacation. Pattison’s response was that everyday is a vacation for him. So the question here is why would one of the world’s richest people continue to work so hard? Why not retire?
It turns out that those individuals that succeed at what they do tend to keep doing more of the work that makes them so successful. It is their drive to succeed that keeps them at their jobs, but it is also their creativity that drives them to keep raising the bar. Their success drives them, not the money. In fact, the more one is successful, the greater is the need to continue to be successful in order to sustain an acquired level of happiness that is brought on by success. Money is just a nice side effect of success.
That is why successful people and organizations continue to be even more successful. They work hard to create success for themselves and as a result to increase their profits. I would say that there is a strong possibility that the most successful and profitable organizations in the world also have the happiest employees. The common denominator? Money. So does money make one happy? Yes.