Some thoughts on money

T here’s an interesting article on money in the February 2013 edition of Men’s Health. It equates money to drugs. A number of experiments involving money as the incentive changed people’s behaviour in a particular task.

Money makes you do things you wouldn’t normally do. Of course we intuitively know this… but the numbers are pretty interesting.

Stephen Lea, a professor of psychology at the University of Exeter, remembered an old experiment from his training days, conducted by a scientist named Schwab.

He first asked people to hang from a pullup bar as long as they could. Next they received the same instruction, along with verbal encouragement. The third time, they received no encouragement; instead, they were shown and promised a $5 bill to hang on longer than on their previous two tries. But on that third attempt, the people lasted about twice as long as they had in the first, and 50 percent longer than during the second.

Maybe this is what I need when it comes to my pullup bar…

But there was one thing that really stood out for me. Truly wealthy people understand that value comes from experiences. When it comes to satisfaction, you’d do far better buying an experience, because we are the sum total of our experiences. “People don’t define themselves so much in terms of their possessions,” says Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychologist at the¬†University of California.

The article goes further to suggest an underlying premise when it comes to money and happiness: to truly possess happiness, you need to share it.

Can you guess what the common denominator for happiness amongst wealthy people was?

Altruism.

At the end of the day and at the top of your game, there’s one thing that you learn: the best things in this life you got for free, or gave away.

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