Money is Overrated

When someone asks me what my favorite site on the internet is, I don’t hesitate to tell them, TED.com. If you haven’t visited, I encourage it. The talks I’ve watched there have changed my life.

I don’t recall who it was, but someone on Facebook pointed me to the url, The top 20 TED talks. One problem with TED is there is so much out there that you can miss a good talk if you don’t happen to click on it. I’ve been working my way through the list and have enjoyed each talk so far. Today’s talk was Dan Gilbert: The surprising science of happiness.

A scenario Dan painted during the talk (spoiler alert!) was, given the choice, where long term happiness is the goal, which would you rather have happen to you, winning the lottery, or becoming a quadriplegic? The choice is obvious, right? Yet when these two groups are interviewed a year after the event, both registered about the same level of happiness. How can that be? If I’ve piqued your interest, I strongly recommend you watch Dan Gilbert’s excellent talk.

This all got me to thinking about money and happiness. Again, it is a no-brainer when the question is asked, who is happiest, someone with lots of money, or someone with little money. Again, the results might surprise you. This question reminded me of an article I read back in 1979 in The CoEvolution Quarterly. The article, called “The Four Illusions of Money” suggested that money and happiness aren’t synonymous at all. I’ve never forgotten that article, and like to believe it helped Alice and I design and implement the life we live and love.

Here is my hope. If you are young and plotting out the course of your life, take a few moments to watch the TED talk and read the article, and give them both some serious thought. It is my belief that the principles in these pieces can help you avoid some of the serious pitfalls of life. If you are not young, look these pieces over anyway.

I’d like to close this post with my favorite quote from the musical, Hello Dolly.

“The difference between a little money and no money at all is enormous, and can shatter the world! And the difference between a little money and an enormous amount of money is very slight…”

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