For the last half-century or so an odd-ball spoof magazine has graced the news stands: Mad Magazine.
I, like a ton of other young boys, became aware of it when I was still in grade school. On the cover was the magazine’s fictional mascot and iconic symbol: a zany spokes-guy by the name of Alfred E. Newman. Alfred’s favorite catchphrase “What, me worry?” was also featured somewhere on the cover of every issue.
As kids if we couldn’t remember his name it didn’t matter, we just referred to him as the “what-me-worry-guy”; everyone knew who you meant.
But despite all the years of clever satirical humor (often at the expense of those currently in the glow of the news or popular entertainment) the general population today is reportedly more worried now than ever.
Not surprising either.
In my local paper today is a good example of how the news media is playing us all into the worry hole.
Since the day we’re born we all want more. More nourishment, more comfort, more love.
More of everything.
But as long as there have been humans walking this earth there’s one thing we’ve all want more of than anything else: Happiness.
My focus on this site is all about the “happiness mindset” and how to develop and how to maintain it through the “new immunity”. But today I want to talk about one particular aspect of the debate about how happiness is achieved…
More money: Does it bring happiness or not?
I was working on this post when I came across a CNN piece written by Peter Bregman. In it he makes the point that having happiness and having money are not to be confused.
Indeed, Mr. Bregman points out that maybe, in this particular time in human history, we need to learn to be happy with less.
I can’t agree more.
After all, trying to add to our happiness by throwing money at the problem only ever works for the short term. Then it’s back to wanting… more.
Now let’s be clear here I’m not saying that money isn’t necessary. We all need money.
Our personal existence depends on having the basics of life met each and every day. And that does cost money. But when it comes to happiness, research by University of Illinois psychologist Edward Diener, a.k.a. “Dr. Happiness”, shows that additional income does little to raise our sense of satisfaction with life.
Today’s challenges are so complex and pervasive that our happiness has come under constant attack especially since job losses are at an all-time high with whole industries in peril. However despite that, the most recent Gallup Poll shows that consumers, at least in the US, are experiencing a slight easing of worry over finances (34 on the scale) within the last two weeks (down from 38).
But stats are always changing and there’s no guarantee we’ll see a lasting improvement at all.
There’s always hope though. I’ll talk about that in a post a few days from now (look for my next new post: “H.O.P.E. for the Future”).
For now there’s a funny quote from Kin Hubbard that sums up the happiness debate:
“It’s pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness. Poverty an’ wealth have both failed.”