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Behavior Gap: The Power of Spending Money on Others

Carl Richards has a gift for expressing profound ideas in a simple way.  In this article he hits on a point that I think is worth sharing.

Enjoy, Steve.


Happiness is a funny thing. Even though the Constitution says we have an inalienable right to pursue it, it seems that the more we go looking for it, that less likely we are to find it. But that doesn’t seem to stop us from looking.

Spending Money on Other People

So we continue the search.

Often we get so caught up in this pursuit that we lose track of what we’re looking for in the first place. We get confused and start to substitute things for happiness. Since there is no actual unit of happiness that we can measure and compare against our neighbor’s pile of happiness, the easy way is to default to money. If you have more, then of course you will be happier. But we have all heard that “money can’t buy happiness.” Then we read the latest study that says in fact more money leads to more happiness, if we know how to spend it.

There’s at least one thing that seems to be as close to a law of happiness as I can find. It’s the law of sacrifice. When we focus on the happiness of others, we become more happy ourselves. When we look at money as a tool to help others instead of buying the latest, unnecessary plastic item, we’re more content.

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