Does Money Equal Happiness?

August29th

Hey. Guess what. Science finally snooped around and tried to figure out if money actually equals happiness. And guess what – it doesn’t. Mostly. Sort of. Let me break it down for you. 

  1. There Is A Money VS Happiness Drop Off

So, just straight up having money can make you happier – but only to a certain point. According to Time Magazine, the happiness to money ratio drops off at a yearly income of $50,000. After you hit the $50,000 mark, it doesn’t matter how much higher your income goes, your happiness based on money won’t rise with it.

 

  1. Things Don’t Increase Your Base-Level Happiness

Everybody is born with a certain disposition. To put it in terms of Winnie the Pooh because I am an utter child, some people are Tigger and some are Eeyore. That changes slightly over your life – things like quality of relationships, income (up to the $50,000 mark,) work satisfaction and a plethora of other factors.

But the fact remains that you have a base happiness level, and whatever good or bad events confront you throughout life, Tiggers will always be Tiggers and Eeyores will always be Eeyores.

Often people assume they can change their base happiness level with money – by buying a pool or a car or an entire zoo. But things cannot increase your base happiness level. Your new car is great, until a couple months later when it’s just your car.  Your pool is the best thing that has ever happened to you, until you’re stuck cleaning it all the time and don’t even use it that often.

A beautiful new house won’t make you any happier than the one you just left, because sooner or later it’s not a shiny new house anymore. It’s just your house.

However, you can use money to increase your base level happiness if you know how…

 

  1. Having A Lot of Experiences Raises Your Base Happiness

If you have excess money and you need to spend it somewhere, hold off on that car and go on an adventure with someone you love. Or on your own. Or go out with friends, or go to a concert.

Experiences will increase how happy you are at any given time. That’s a little counter-intuitive, I know, because if you buy that new car you’ll have it for years but your vacation would be over in a couple weeks or that concert will end in an hour.

But that’s not how our brains process things. When you buy a car, after a while it loses it’s luster and just becomes your car. The thrill of a car only lasts a few months. A vacation or a great concert, or time spent with friends – those last your whole life. By that I mean, you can keep those memories forever. Memories get better over time – your brain edits out the bad parts and keeps the bits that made you happy. And you can tell stories, which brings more happiness by contributing to social situations. Each time you replay the memory of things you did, they become more embellished and amazing, whereas everytime you look at your car, it’s less and less exciting.

As cheesey as it sounds, you’re overall life satisfaction will increase due to time spent with people, doing things that you can look back on, rather than buying that sweet lava lamp  you’ve been eyeing.

 

  1. Give Your Money Away

I am dead serious. You worked really, really hard to get the salary you have, and now I’m asking you to give it away? That’s right. First of all, as we’ve established, anything above $50,000 isn’t much use to you anyway, and secondly, altruism is one of the fastest and easiest way to boost up your level of happiness. Some people have even argued that the dopamine (pleasure chemical) spike in our brain when we perform a selfless act is comparable to that of a hit of cocaine.

Again, if you donate to charity instead of getting that cool new car, you’ll feel better about yourself and your worth as a person. Giving money away to help others is truly the best way you can possibly spend it if you have some extra.

Biting Into The Apple

August26th-e1409153042913

Success? By the time Steve Jobs was 30 he’d turned Apple, a company he’d started in his garage with his friend Steve Wozniak into a $2 billion enterprise with 4,000 employees.

 

Failure? The board of directors fired Steve Jobs from his own company.

 

How do you come back from that? If you’re Steve Jobs you start Pixar (now the most successful animation studio in the world) get invited back to Apple and completely revolutionize modern technology with the introduction of iPods, iPhones, iPads, iDon’tknowwhatelse.

 

How does a guy who quit college after six months keep ending up the razor’s blade of the cutting edge?

 

You can listen to Steve Jobs explain it himself here in How To Live Before You Die. http://www.ted.com/talks/steve_jobs_how_to_live_before_you_die

 

These are the main points:

 

Follow Curiosity and Intuition

 

After quitting school Steve didn’t immediately leave the college, he hung around and started taking courses he was interested in, rather than the ones he needed to fulfill his requirements. One of those was calligraphy. He took it because he loved it, not because it would lead him anywhere specific. He learned about typefaces, what made typography great. Ten years later he was figuring out what he wanted to include in his new computer, and suddenly those typography classes seemed very useful indeed. All of us have all those cool font options because of the calligraphy class Steve Jobs took because he found typefaces fascinating.

 

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

 

Figure out what you love to do

 

Initially getting fired as CEO of Apple must have seemed like the worst possible thing that could have happened, but in retrospect, Steve Jobs says it was the best thing that ever happened to him. It freed him to enter one of the most creative periods of his life.

 

He started Pixar and a new hardware company called neXT because he still loved the computer business. Apple bought neXT and now that technology is at the heart of Apple.

 

And Pixar? Over to you Buzz: “To infinity and beyond!”

 

Sometimes life will hit you on the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. Find what you love to do. Do what you believe is great work. Keep looking. Don’t settle. You’ll know when you find it.

 

Live each day as if it’s your last one

 

Each day ask yourself, if today was the last day of your life, would you want to do what you’re doing? If the answer is no too many days in a row then something needs to change. Thinking about the last day of your life helps you distinguish what’s really important. Helps you stop thinking you’ve to something to lose. Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others drown out your inner voice. Your own intuition knows what you want to be – so listen to yourself!

Lunches

 

August22nd

For something so simple, man can lunches ever be a stresser. Hopefully this article will help you organize the deceptively un-simple issue of what to have for lunch!

 

  1. Follow the Ten O’Clock Rule

 

The Ten O’Clock rule is easy to follow and it makes life (and lunch) so much easier. Here’s what you do: every night at ten, set an alarm. The second your ten o’clock alarm goes off, go make your lunch and choose which clothes to wear tomorrow.

 

That way, you have your two big morning tasks out of the way and don’t have to worry about it. (It also helpfully negates the early morning freak-out of having nothing to bring for lunch, and ending up dejectedly eating chips from the vending machine because you couldn’t find anything else to eat).

 

  1. Be Careful Not to Eat Out Too Much

 

Not only is eating out not particularly healthy (we both know you didn’t got to McDonalds for their variety of salads), it can also eat away at your money. When you’re at work – especially at the beginning of your career – every dollar should count. You probably still have student loans to pay off, rent to cover, and dinner to buy. Eating out every day because you can’t be bothered to pack yourself a lunch is going to start costing you eventually. Think about it – how much does buying some cold cuts and bread to make a sandwich for yourself cost in a month? Maybe $50 if you power through food really quick. Now how much does eating out cost? Probably about 10 dollars for a full lunch? That’s $50 in just a week. There are about 260 work days in a year. That’s $2600 of rent money that you’re eating! Quit it!

 

  1. Leftovers Are The Way of Champions

 

Seriously. Leftovers. Make more dinner than you need – or if you’re eating out, order something you know you can’t finish. And then save half – (or a quarter, since you typically won’t eat as much for lunch as for dinner).

 

If you eat leftovers, you don’t have to worry about preparing an entire other meal. Just put whatever you had in the fridge into a container and call it a day. Plus it won’t be rushed like lunches usually are! You get all the delicious, time consuming effort that goes into dinner, with zero effort for lunch.

Networking, Networking, Networking!

August20th

If “location, location, location” is the jargon of real estate, “networking, networking, networking” is that of your job search.

 

Networking is possibly the most important part of your job search. A somewhat depressing fact is that 80% of jobs aren’t posted – and the candidates found to fill these positions are found through connections.

 

So go out and meet people – meet as many people as you can in your field and get to know them. Do favors for people. Just be a generally A+ person to be around, and soon it will boomerang back to you.

 

If you do people favors, they’ll remember how helpful and professional you are, and when they see a job opening, they’ll let you know. If you prove you’re easy to get along with, and good at your craft, you’re the one people will think about first.

 

So give out business cards, ask people with careers you aspire to if you can buy them lunch or a coffee and ask them questions – get to know them, keep theircontact information, make an impression.

 

Network, network, network!

Benefits of Meditation

August19th

What if someone offered you a free pill that fought depression and anxiety, reduced stress levels, increased happiness, helped you lose weight, prevented the common cold, and helped you to get organized and reach all your career goals?

 

What if that pill was completely free, and fully accessible to every person on planet earth. That would be pretty awesome, right?

 

Good news! It exists. Sort of. It’s not a pill. It’s meditation.  And it’s not quite free – almost though.

 

All it costs is 20 minutes of every day, a bit of a tough learning curve, and the possibility of someone calling you a hippie at some point, (you have my permission to punch that person in the face though, so it’s fine.)

 

Here are the top five reasons you should really give it a try!

 

  1. Meditation Physically Lowers Stress Levels

 

I don’t mean that in any sort of figurative way – studies of people who participate in daily meditation actually show lower levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. Just giving yourself that 20 minutes in the morning changes the chemical balance of your brain for the better – you start at a lower stress level, and it is harder to raise it for rest of the day. Plus, the effects are speculated to be cumulative. Over time, your brain actually rewires itself, growing brand new connections – these connections lower something called your “anxiety density”. This lowered “anxiety density” fights against mental illness better than any anti-depressant or anti-anxiety drug on the market, (not to mention the fact that it’s free and has no side effects aside from improved quality of life and the freedom to punch jerks who call you a hippie in the face). Did I mention it also lowers blood pressure?

 

You’ll be so zen you could have a zen-off with the zennest of zens.

 

  1. Meditation Protects Against Illness

 

Get colds a lot? Yeah, people who meditate daily don’t. Research coming out of Wisconsin (which is verifiably the coldest goddamn place ever), found that people who practice daily meditation miss less days of work due to cold symptoms – and when they do catch colds, they last for shorter periods of time and suffer less severe symptoms.

 

And man, if you think the common cold is the end, you would be very wrong. Daily meditation actually protects you against way more than that – it can help a whole host of other things, from headaches to joint pain to freaking cancer.

 

Ohio State University’s study of women recovering from breast cancer revealed that it was way less likely to come back if they were on a daily schedule of muscle relaxation and calming of the mind (read as: meditation). Another study out of Ohio State University showed that daily meditation improve the count of protective killer cells in your blood – improving your body’s ability to resist tumors and other potentially serious viruses.

 

  1. Meditation Helps You Lose Weight

 

Yep. This too. Meditation fosters a state of living called “mindfulness”, which just means when you meditate in the morning you ground yourself firmly in the present for the rest of the day – and notice what’s around you more. When you’ve going through life in your “mindful” state, you’re more aware of what you’re eating. After meditation, your taste buds become more sensitive, and you’ll find it easier to stop eating after a little, because you need less to feel satisfied.

 

Another way meditation helps you lose weight, is it increases your exercise tolerance – so if you sneak in a little meditation before you go to the gym, you’ll be able to go for longer without getting as tired out.

  1. Meditation Makes Things Seem “Better”

 

As I mentioned before, it charges your taste buds and food tastes better. It also makes music sound better. And movies. And books. And art. And the people around you. Your perception of all of those things is improved. It comes back to the whole “mindfulness” thing. When you listen to music, you really listen to music and it will effect you on a deeper emotional level. When you watch movies you pay attention, you visualize books more vividly, you truly listen to the people around you.

 

And since your cortisol levels are already so low, it’s more difficult for these things to make you stressed or unhappy. So you have these heightened, focused senses, and a lowered ability to become stressed, anxious or depressed. The result is that a lot of things just seem “better”.

 

This in turn, builds your life satisfaction and confidence, which can help you achieve your goals.

 

  1. It Makes You “Better”

 

On top of all the things meditation does for you, it also makes you better at being a person. Studies have shown that people who meditateshow higher compassion towards others, and are more likely to express altruistic behavior. They also have decreased anger and jealousy and are more well liked by their peer group.

 

I guess if you never get stick, you’re losing weight, you’re never stressed, you’re focused enough to get work done and you’re able more fully enjoy literally everything, you sort of chill out and end up being really nice to everyone.

 

Go figure.