Snarky Behavior

Relative Happiness

February 11, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Super interesting discussion here:

The jist of the research is as such: ten years ago, it was commonly assumed that people adjust (or more accurately, adapt) their derived level of life satisfaction according to their material circumstances. Married people were only slightly more happy than single people. Rich were only slightly more happy than poor, and so forth.

This assumption was coined a “hedonistic treadmill.” That is, as our income or position in life increases, we become accustomed to our new circumstances, and our derivation of happiness remains the same. We may move in absolute terms, but we stay in place, relatively speaking.

The above research suggests, however, that while happiness levels may remain stagnant, satisfaction correlates positively with income.  That is to say, while the process by which we may become wealthy does not bring us greater happiness per se (considering the trade-offs of stress, forfeited leisure, etc.), we do become more satisfied by achieving the accomplishments of material success.

So it seems while the mantra “money can’t by you happiness” might be true, money can be used as a motivational means to realize our self-worth.  Satisfaction comes from without, but happiness comes from within.

If you’e on a treadmill, you might not be moving anywhere, but at least you’re staying in shape.

And with that thought, I’m going to take my unsatisfied ass to the gym.

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