What Really Makes Us Happy
November 13, 2006 1:45am CST
http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/021111ta_talk_surowiecki?021111ta_talk_surowiecki I found this article really interesting, particularly the paragraph below which is directly quoted from the article I have cited above about people not knowing what will truly make them happy: One suggestion is that people are on what's sometimes called a "hedonic treadmill," meaning that as they get wealthier they quickly adapt to their new circumstances. At first, you love your Lexus, but before long it may as well be your old Pinto. But if you lose the Lexus you don't easily get over it. "Loss makes you more unhappy than gain makes you happy," Krueger says. Certainly that's true of American businesses. They are, generally speaking, still profitable, but they can't help but sulk after the crumbling of their boom-time dreams. (end quote) I was particularly intriged by the idea that loss makes you more unhappy than gain makes you happy, and it's true. I worked in Human Resources for years and I was surprised to learn (and then see proven) that more money alone does not make an employee happy or loyal indefinitely. There was a thought that if someone was unhappy in their job and you wanted to keep them you could give a raise in pay. Well this obviously had a short term effect of making the employee quite happy indeed, but then they would get accustomed to the additional money and it would no longer seem so special. I wish I could answer the question of what really does make people happy. I don't know how to fully answer it, even in reference to myself, but it's interesting to think about. I think that one point is abundantly clear, though, about the pursuit of happiness is more about the journey than the destination. Or, as John Lennon put it, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."What do you guys think about all of this?