Thursday, June 18, 2009

Escape the Rat Race!!

I read an interesting article this week that really hit home for me in regards to our keys to happiness series as well as touched on my emphasis on financial independence.

A recent study was done on graduates outlining their goals. The graduates were then sent follow up surveys a year later and then two years after that. The researchers measured both good will (qualities of people living happy lives) and ill will (qualities of people living unhappy lives). What they found was that people who valued intrinsic goals (pursuing their passions) over extrinsic goals (being rich or famous) were much happier. This study included people who became very wealthy within their first two years.

Americans have become subject to what has been called the hedonic treadmill. Which essentially means that you work harder and harder for more and more money to get more and more stuff. You get tired of your stuff or someone one ups you and then you have to get something else. This never results in a “happier” life. From the article

“Those who had the biggest increase in the amount of attainment of wealth, fame, and image actually showed no increase at all in well-being -- zero,” says Edward Deci, psychology professor at the University of Rochester, who co-authored the study with Ryan and Christopher Niemiec. “Even more startling, some of those people showed increases in ill-being, including depression and anxiety.”

“We believe there are three fundamental needs that have to be met to be psychologically healthy: relatedness -- to have relationships with other people and feel a sense of belonging and inclusion; to feel competent, like you can effectively manage in the world and have an impact on the world; and autonomy or self-initiation -- that what you do is in line with your basic interests and values, and you’re not doing it just because someone is pushing you around.”

Following a material lifestyle will generally cause you to buy something that you can’t afford and causing you to put yourself under a mound of debt. You will need to work harder and harder to stay afloat. By the time you get out of debt and start saving retirement is around the corner and you have to save just to ensure that you will be able to support yourself. The joys in life aren’t in money or toys. They are in relationships, pursuing your passion, and experiences. Starting next Tuesday I should have our next keys to happiness. Stay tuned!

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