How to Achieve Happiness

1752 words 8 pages
Essay # 3

There is a saying that states that “Money doesn’t buy happiness,” and most of the time, the response to that is: “Yeah right, whatever, keep on dreaming” or “Yes sure, but you have to admit that it helps when you have some”. Indeed, when we think about money, we either start daydreaming about the projects we will realize once we have it in our hands or we end up having nightmares about what we will be losing once it has vanished. So for sure, the common answer would be that money is definitively necessary to be happy. However, recent studies, as author Richard O’Connor (2008) claims, show that Americans with higher wages still show no sign of being happier or even worse become sadder then what they were before.
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You would not expect that people considered as rich would be less happy, but they are. In fact, they just prove how much we are stuck in the belief that money equals automatically happiness when it actually has no direct connection to it. So then what explains our false beliefs about money? For Dan Gilbert (2004), this is called an “Impact Bias”, where one has a tendency to “exaggerate the outcomes of the situation,” where we actually end up thinking too much and getting lost in our personal obsessions and where we end up putting importance on the wrong things. To prove this matter, Gilbert (2004) did a research based on which kind of future would be a happy one. He gave two choices: winning at the lottery or ending up being paraplegic. On a first basis, a common sense person would have made up their mind really fast and would have said that winning the lottery would definitively make someone happier. However, the results showed something completely different since both types of choices lead exactly to the same degree of happiness. In fact, both types of futures end up at the same level in happiness after a period of time, not one being higher than the other. With this research, we are proven for sure that we have a really hard belief concerning money and happiness. Indeed, we think that if we have money we will be able to take control of events or achieve better comfort or a greater materialistic security. However, we forget that, by doing so, we


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