The more money you have, of course the happier you are, right? Not exactly.
If you won the lottery tomorrow or sold your startup for $100 million, that alone could bring some short term excitement that might help you be happy for a period of time.
But by itself it won’t last, and might even end in total disaster.
According to this paper published by Daniel Kahnemanand and Angus Deaton from the Center for Health and Well-being at Princeton University, there is a correlation between income and emotional well being.
However, that only applies until about $75,000 a year, then it doesn’t do much after that income level.
Kahnemanand and Deaton say: “We conclude that high income buys life satisfaction but not happiness, and that low income is associated both with low life evaluation and low emotional well-being.”
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Money Helps but Only Up Until a Certain Point
Now that we know money only helps up until about $75,000 per year, what else can we do to be happy? Here are some ideas:
Happiness Is Directly Under Your Control, Not an External Factor
The real secret to happiness has little to do with income or other external factors, and entirely to do with you and your mindset.
If you are going through life thinking that you will not be happy until you have X dollars or accomplish Y, then you may never be happy, and will always be chasing something. Instead, focus on being happy now with things that you can control now, such as yourself: your body and your mind.
Practice Gratitude Every Day
"Gratitude instantly aligns you with the vibration of abundance, when you can be thankful and acknowledge the many gifts you already have in your life, that is when you open the door to allowing room for more” says Tanaaz Chubb, founder of the spiritual site ForeverConscious.com.
As Tanaaz points out, gratitude is an important part of happiness. I have experienced this in my own life, too. The more grateful I am for what I have and who I am today rather than what I think I want, the better quality of life I experience right now.
Give Without Expecting Anything in Return
At one point in his life, Tony Robbins had $17 to his name. He ended up giving away that last $17 to someone without asking for anything in return, and with no plan on how he was going to eat that day.
Later that very day Tony received a letter from someone that had owed him money. The guy paid him back the $1,200 he owed him and also gave him $100 extra for making him wait.
Isn’t that incredible the way the universe works? Tony goes on to point out in this video: “It’s always going to come back” … “just give and the rewards will be greater than you could ever imagine.”
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I have practiced this in my own life and I find that it’s like a boomerang. The more I give and the less I truly expect anything in return, the more that comes back my way.
This is the best way to become rich too. You aren’t making enemies, you aren’t burning bridges, you aren’t pissing anyone off. Then when you combine this with true happiness, no amount of haters or negativity will get you down.
You can be rich and happy without feeling “rich shame”, because you truly earned it, the right way.
Meditate Your Way to Happiness
What do Michael Jordan, Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tim Ferriss, Ellen Degeneres, Ray Dalio, Jerry Seinfeld, and Martin Scorsese all have in common?
Meditation helped them all reduce stress, increase quality of life and overall happiness. There is a wonderful app called Headspace that is a great way for beginners to get started in meditation. I have also experienced the positive benefits of meditation first hand. I can attest that it has still helped me tremendously.
Meditation is not a long or difficult process. In fact, Tanaaz Chubb says that meditation is as effective as anti-depressants. And for those of you that can’t stand sitting still for any period of time, there are 7 alternatives to sitting meditation that work very well, such as:
- Shower meditation
- Brush your teeth/hair meditation
- Before bed meditation
- In traffic meditation
- Creating art/dancing meditation
- Mala beads/crystals meditation
Fun, easy, and you can incorporate into activities that you already do. Win/win.
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Make Your Happiness a Priority
Happiness has to be a priority. It has to be number one. You are the one that controls your ultimate happiness. You can be happy no matter what your income level is, and it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor or anywhere in between.
The universe works in mysterious ways, but by following these steps you can be happy, rich or anything else that you want. Anything is truly possible when you believe it, practice gratitude and give without expecting anything in return.
Oh, and wouldn’t you rather be rich and happy, rather than just rich?
Brian D. Evans
Brian is an Inc. 500 Serial Entrepreneur in Los Angeles, his online advertising and marketing company BDE Ventures made the Inc. 500 list of Fastest Growing Private Companies in America, ranking at #172 in 2015. Brian is also an advisor to various startups, he manages large marketing campaigns, and runs an entrepreneurship blog called Influencive that focuses on non-traditional thinking for entrepreneurs and online business growth.