The Secret to Happiness

On a plane to Seattle recently I picked up a Psychology Today magazine.  In an article on page 74,  of the May issue, Karen Wright reports on money and the stress that many feel about money. In particular, she speaks of the money scripts we all have playing in our head and how those affect the way we feel about money.

In the article, she references a study from 2008 from the University of British Columbia conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Dunn, Ph.D. The study was on Happiness. In a series of studies, Dunn and her team demonstrated that we can, in fact buy happiness. Her team pointed out, that more important than how much money we had or earned; it was how we spend money that seems to determine happiness.

    “Regardless of how much income each person made, those who spent money on others reported greater happiness, while those who spent more on themselves did not.”

To learn more about these studies:   http://www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/media/releases/2008/mr-08-032.html

What does this mean for us as business leaders? I believe we can take these same principles and apply them to our businesses.  I think we can all think of companies who hold the value that “Profit is the main reason to be in business”; and can compare them to companies where the value is “Delivering value to the customer at a profit”. Think Enron v. Whole Foods.  The former is gone, customers and shareholders are broke and people are in jail. While the later is growing through sustainable growth and people actually choose the supermarket as a destination v. a chore.

As business leaders, I believe it is important for us to remember why we got into business in the first place. Yes, we all wanted to make an income. We can do that working for someone else; oft times we can make more money working for someone else. No, we got into business because we thought we could deliver better value than was being delivered. I am convinced that when we stay true to that cause, value delivery the market will reciprocate with value.

What are your thoughts?

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