This is a saying that money can’t buy happiness.
I mean of course.
If you’re homeless and starving,
you’re not going to be happy.
But the point is above a certain level,
having more money won’t make you happier.
In fact, journalists have often reported
the exact figure as 75,000 dollars per year.
Now, the study deciding is actually
pretty influential in the field of psychology.
But this finding is only half the story.
The other half of the study was neglected
and that’s strange because it completely goes against the first part.
So, can money buy happiness or not?
Let’s break it down.
In the study, researchers surveyed the participants’ daily emotions,
both the positive and negative ones to gauge the day-to-day happiness.
However, they also measured life satisfaction,
using the Cantril ladder which is the following.
Imagine a ladder with steps numbered from zero to ten.
The top of ladder represents the best possible life for you
and the bottom represents the worst.
Which step do you think you’re on at this time?
Now, these were the results.
So it’s true that on average after $75,000 of income,
people’s daily happiness was capped.
This is seen by the factor of all three measures,
feeling positives, not feeling down and feeling stress free.
The line eventually flattens.
However, there was no such ceiling for life satisfaction.
The more money you earned,
the higher you saw yourself on that ladder.
If you look at it this way,
then yes, money can buy happiness.
In fact, this deeper satisfaction
about how your life turned out
may even be more important than the daily fluctuations in happiness.
Yet, this was a part that got left out.
In the end, the two conflicting results
led to the key message of this study,
that there’re two types of happiness,
the happiness you get when you experienced in your life
and the happiness you get when you are reflecting on your life.
Money might not do much for our day-to-day happiness.
However, it does make us happier about our life
by adding to the sense that we’ve made.
Now these two selves will often collide.
For example, if you’re watching a movie
and you’re really enjoying it,
but the ending is bad,
you’ll feel like it ruined the whole experience.
This is the reflective part of your speaking.
But in terms of actual experience,
on average you enjoyed the movie.
Now, this can be applied to
another paradox in our lives––having children.
If you measure people’s day-to-day experiences,
you’ll find that children bring you about
as much happiness as doing housework.
This shouldn’t be too hard to believe.
孩子们总是在哭闹 烦人 乱发脾气
Children are constantly crying, nagging and throwing tantrums.
Yet, when you ask people to reflect on their children,
they’ll often say
they’re the best thing that’s ever happened.
So what is this discrepancy between the experiencing and reflecting self exists?
Well, it all has to do with peak experiences.
Peak experiences are any event which bring intense emotion
where the positive or negative.
So, when it comes to children,
this might be the first time your child says that they love you.
When we look back on our lives, these are the moments that stick out.
And therefore these are moments we used to evaluate our life,
not the day-to-day stuff.
This means that peak experiences are critical to our happiness.
You might feel like the daily happenings in your lives
should amount to something,
but they don’t. They are mostly forgotten.
This might sound a little sad.
However, it allows for a very interesting phenomenon.
Your day-to-day happiness level can be quite low.
But if you sprinkle in there some positive peak experiences,
you can still look back
and be happy with how your life turned out.
So what’s the latest peak experience you remember？