Want To Be Happy? Don't Slow Down.

Discussion in 'Psychology' started by JamesL, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. JamesL


    According to this author, there's plenty of research tying happiness to economic freedom and labour mobility. We need to chase our tails, as the author asserts, rather than stopping to smell the roses, if we want to be happy.


    Books: Why chasing money and success makes us happy

    A few years ago, Todd Buchholz started researching a new book. A decorated Harvard economics instructor, a former White House policy adviser, and the author of bestsellers like Market Shock and New Ideas from Dead Economists, Buchholz found himself surrounded by people he deemed to be seeking tawdry material gain at the expense of real quality of life. He believed that the "frenzy" of modern life was stressing us out, creating an almost structural unhappiness in North American society.

    Popular opinion seemed to support his premise, with a wave of recent tracts arguing that even a strong economy made us miserable. Buchholz's was to be another voice in the chorus arguing that we cheat our true selves when we compromise happiness in the quest for a raise, a promotion or the next big deal.

    That book never got written. As he researched his subject, exploring economics, neuroscience and evolutionary biology, Buchholtz became convinced that much of the modern happiness project was a crock—not just unhelpful economically, but unhealthy and unnatural. What he's written instead is Rush: Why You Need and Love the Rat Race (Hudson Street Press), and it couldn't have landed further from its author's original concept.

    To be fair, Buchholtz isn't exactly a recovering socialist utopian; he's a hedge fund manager, and his White House service came under Bush 43. But he's only recently come to the belief that competition is actually "integral to our beings," in contrast to the preachings of what he calls the "Edenists." "We feel a natural yearning to go back to simpler times, to some Eden that exists in our Jungian memory," he writes. But the burgeoning happiness industry takes that yearning and twists it into a belief that "if we could just stomp out competition, we could achieve self-realization and bliss."

    The notion of measuring the GWB—general well-being—alongside the GDP, once the near exclusive province of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, has recently gained traction with David Cameron's Tories in Britain. Meanwhile, the body of literature analyzing and measuring happiness is growing and increasingly popular: from 1991 to 1995, Buchholtz writes, there were just four economics papers published on the topic; between 2001 and 2005, more than 100 appeared. Most of this research backs what happiness gurus have been telling us since before R. H. Tawney wrote about The Acquisitive Society a century ago: that the constant pursuit of more and better stuff—higher salaries, privilege and the baubles that accompany success—doesn't result in increased happiness.

    Fine, says Buchholtz. But on both policy or personal fronts, there's no real argument those things make us unhappy, either. If anything, there's plenty of research tying happiness to economic freedom and labour mobility. And in individual jobs, he writes, happiness has more to do with personal control than with compensation. "Someone who earns peanuts at the zoo, but who decides when to feed the elephants and when to take his own break, may be happier than…the harried dentist who has to ask his office manager when he can slip out to the bathroom."

    What we're naturally inclined to do with that personal control, in professional and entrepreneurial settings as well as in private life, is to get things done. On a biological level, Buchholz believes, happiness is linked to achievement. "The truth is, most people have a deep need to work and to create."

  2. Samsara


    Americans have much higher mobility than citizens of other countries, yet we seem to die a lot faster and report markedly higher stress-related illnesses and depression rates. I wonder what our relative suicide rates are also (don't know). Hopefully better than rat-race obsessed East Asian countries.

    The stats on depression and stress have remained consistent for a while; it seems this author just wants a new ideological framework to reinterpret them to indicate we actually are happy.

    Economics is a dismal science. It's best used to manipulate policy and the minds of students, rather than issue forth from a commitment to the scientific method and principles of the Enlightenment. Emile Durkheim and a host of other academics have put forth more reliable studies of the sociological preconditions of happiness for a while now. Academics from the economics profession however are some of the least trustworthy people I've ever met.

    Not a surprise this guy has existed in the corrupt, permeable boundary between government and industry. I'd also bet his initial intent in writing the book, as he frames it, is itself BS.
  3. hustling and accomplishments make me happy.
    this article is dope. thanks for sharing
  4. .
  5. I would only go so far as to say every life should have purpose, and from there can come fulfillment and happiness.

    For my father, work was his life. When he became an invalid and had to stop work at 62, the bottom fell out of his world. With nothing else to sustain him, he died within 2 years.

    I simply say that I must have something that will make me want to get out of bed every morning. Before it was working for someone, now it is trading.

    I would not want to just exist, day to day.
  6. Lornz


    Nietzsche got it right with his "Will to Power", but equating that to money is poorly founded. Achievements generates pleasure, that is undeniable. It is good to be productive and driven, but stress is extremely dangerous; Its negative neuroplastic effects can be quite substantial!
  7. Why chasing money and success makes us happy:

    Total bullshit! Most who chase money, never gain it.

    Success is measured in far better terms than money.

    Good luck chasing MONEY.

    Follow your passion, your dream and do what you love. Money will flow as a byproduct when you follow your heart.

    Chase money, you will be broke like99.9% of ET fans.
  8. Due Buy

    Due Buy

    I always say, all the money in the world is nothing without friends and family.

    If you can feed, house, dress and spend time with your family you'll be happy. When you're sick of your family you better have some friends you can spend time with.

    Happiness = freedom of time and place.

  9. it is that you`ve started out of your mom`s and dad`s pockets you are so smart now?
  10. All those benefits packages that corporations are dangling in people's faces are more or less an insult. They maintain control and keep it by handing out "candy". A person will still feel controlled and probably has a marginal chance at true economic freedom with this and that slowly eats a person alive. Most don't realize what's happening until it's too late to get out.

    I've seen myself that taking on extra work for a pay grade increase isn't proportionate to the work itself...but just enough to keep one quiet.

    This is a great thread...refreshing
    #10     Aug 14, 2011