I think the universe is trying to tell me something. Something very important.
See, at the end of last week, an article called “Does Trying to Be Happy Make Us Unhappy?”popped up in my LinkedIn newsfeed. The thesis of this article is “But what if searching for happiness actually prevents us from finding it? There’s reason to believe that the quest for happiness might be a recipe for misery.” It goes on to cite a study that indicates that the more value people place on happiness, the less happy they become. The author proceeds to explain the four mistakes people make in the pursuit of happiness. The second stood out to me: “overestimating the impact of life circumstances on happiness.”
Then, during my lunch break today, I stumbled across this article, “Use Your Money to Buy Happier Time” on my CNN app. The central ideas of this article are as follows:
- People assume earning money now will let them have opportunities to enjoy life later.
- However, instead of using our time to get as much money as possible, new research suggests that we’d be better off using our money to buy happier time now.
The article references a great study in which participants could choose “leisure” by listening to pleasant music or “work” by pushing a button to trigger an annoying noise. The reward for pushing the button 10 times was a Hershey kiss. They could “work” as hard as they wanted for 5 minutes, but eat no chocolate. After that five minutes, they were allowed to eat all the chocolate they earned–for five minutes. After all, there are only so many hours in a day–for work, play–everything! Guess what happened? People “worked” as hard as they could for the first five minutes, earning all kinds of chocolate–so much chocolate they couldn’t possibly eat it all with the time left.
Finally, on my ride home from work, I was behind a Subaru station wagon. Its vanity plate: NJOYNOW.
Together, these 3 signs serve as an excellent lesson for me–one that is particularly timely and applicable to my current circumstances. The message I get and needed to hear is this: Stop allowing life circumstances over which you have no control to affect your happiness; you work to “buy” happiness: 1) don’t try to save that up for later–use it now, and 2) don’t let work dictate your happiness (or unhappiness)–it is the means to an end, and the end is now: NJOYNOW.
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