10 Things Better Than Money

A recent Gallup poll, quoted in The Atlantic, found that "well-being rises with income at all levels of income, across countries." In other words, as the article's title states, the poll proves that "Yes, Money Does Buy Happiness."

Except that it doesn't prove that at all. What the study actually discovered was a "strong correlation" between each nation's real GDP per capita and the sense of "well-being" among those nation's citizens.

Correlation isn't causation. The data could just as easily be interpreted the other way around: that happiness creates wealth. What's most likely, though, is that happiness and wealth are part of a cycle, each one creating more of the other.

And that's the reason for this post. Assuming you want to create both wealth and happiness for yourself and those around you, you have two approaches: wait until you're wealthy to be happy, or become more happy now and thereby create more wealth.

I maintain that, in today's economy, it's easier to start with the happiness, because unlike wealth (which takes time to accumulate), you can increase the amount of happiness in your life within minutes, simply by taking more notice of things that make you happy.

With that in mind, here are ten things that can make you happy immediately, regardless of where you are in the cycle.

1. Life

It's easy to forget that the mere fact of conscious existence--that you are alive--is itself a miracle. As the old saying goes "every day above ground is a good day."

2. Health

Rather than thinking of illness as something bad that happens to you, start thinking of health as something good that's happening to you.

3. Purpose

There is nothing more conducive to long-term happiness than knowing that your actions are making the world a better place.

4. Friendship

Almost everyone has friends, although it's easy to lose track of them in the rush of events. Take a few minutes--today--to reconnect with some of them.

5. Family

If you've got a good relationship with your family, rejoice! You're experiencing one of the deepest sources of happiness on the planet.

6. Self-reliance

Feeling secure that you can count on yourself to accomplish what you set out to accomplish creates a quiet but potent happiness.

7. Community

Having the support of a wider group makes you more aware that you're part of something greater than yourself.

8. Gratitude

Rather than focusing on what you don't have or what's out of reach, be thankful for the wonderful things already in your life.

9. Laughter

It is impossible to laugh and be miserable at the same time. Regular doses of laughter are more than medicine... it's the flavor of life.

10. Love

'Nuff said.

Create these ten things in your life and I guarantee that you'll either become more wealthy or, if not, you won't really care anyway because you'll already have what's important.


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