The Myth Of Money And Happiness

The Article: The Overjustification Effect in You Are Not So Smart.

The Text:

The Misconception: There is nothing better in the world than getting paid to do what you love.

The Truth: Getting paid for doing what you already enjoy will sometimes cause your love for the task to wane because you attribute your motivation as coming from the reward, not your internal feelings.

Money isn’t everything. Money can’t buy happiness. Don’t live someone else’s dream. Figure out what you love and then figure out how to get paid doing it.

Maxims like these often find their way into your social media; they arrive in your electronic mailbox at the ends of dense chains of forwards. They bubble up from the collective sighs of well-paid boredom around the world and get routinely polished for presentation in graduation speeches and church sermons.

Money, fame, and prestige – they dangle just outside your reach it seems, encouraging you to lean farther and farther over the edge, to study longer and longer, to work harder and harder. When someone reminds you that acquiring currency while ignoring all else shouldn’t be your primary goal in life, it feels good. You retweet it. You post it on your wall. You forward it, and then you go back to work.

If only science had something concrete to say about the whole thing, you know? All these living greeting cards dispensing wisdom are great and all, but what about really putting money to the test? Does money buy happiness? In 2010, scientists published the results of a study looking into that very question.

The research by Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, analyzed the lives and incomes of nearly half-a-million randomly selected U.S. citizens. They dug through the subjects’ lives searching for indicators of something psychologists call “emotional well being,” a clinical term for how often you feel peaks and valleys like “joy, stress, sadness, anger and affection” and to what degree you feel those things daily. In other words, they measured how happy or sad people were over time compared to how much cash they brought home. They did this by checking if the subjects were consistently able to experience the richness of existence, by whether they were tasting the poetic marrow of life.

The researchers discovered money is indeed a major factor in day-to-day happiness. No surprise there. You need to make a certain amount, on average, to be able to afford food, shelter, clothing, entertainment and the occasional Apple product, but what spun top hats around the country was their finding that beyond a certain point your happiness levels off. The happiness money offers doesn’t keep getting more and more potent – it plateaus. The research showed that a lack of money brings unhappiness, but an overabundance does not have the opposite effect.

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PBH’s Links Of The Year

With interactive and immediate exchange of ideas and content, 2011 proved to be the year of social media. As the year comes to a close, Prose Before Hos would like to thank the following sites for aiding in that crucial exchange:

Crooks and Liars:

A politically left blog that follows political events and their coverage.

Salon:

Combining commentary, investigative reporting, and open forum discussion into one progressive site, Salon aspires to uncover what truly matters in politics and culture.

Balloon Juice:

With categories ranging from beer blogging to Occupy Wall Street, Balloon Juice provides readers with a unique array of pop culture and political posts.

Common Dreams:

While reporting and and analyzing of-the-minute news and events, Common Dreams posts links to other like-minded progressive sites.

Democracy Now!:

Broadcast on over 900 stations, Democracy Now! is an independent news program that offers perspectives rarely voiced by mainstream and corporate-owned media.

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The Worst Women Of 2011: Time To Take Out The Trash

The Worst Women Of 2011: Time To Take Out The Trash

From strong to wrong, 2011 has been a year choc-full of powerful women. But some of them have used that power only to perpetuate the panoply of reasons why people around the world are right in casting a scornful eye toward the United States. Here is 2011′s five most frightful females:

The Kardashian Klan (Mainly Kim)

Worst Women of 2011

Never has the letter ‘K’ been less appealing: the women of the Kardashian family consist of Kourtney, Kris, Kim, and Khloe, their published prose is kalled “Kardashian Konfidential,” and their Sears clothing is naturally dubbed the “Kardashian Kollection.” Vain, vapid, and exuding only self-congratulatory praise and grotesque amounts of wealth, clips of this family’s show should be played to galvanize impressionable youth at Al-Qaeda training camps.

While international protest movements inspired many to involve themselves more directly in political dialogue this year, the Kardashian family somehow managed to make millions of Americans actually believe they were worth “keeping up with” as well. As such, Kim Kardashian (now known for her marriage that lasted as long a loaf of bread does in a freezer) is reported to receive up to $10,000 from her sponsors for whatever mindless dross she tweets to her equally inane followers.

No, they wouldn’t have all of this acclaim without a reason: they’re “actresses” and enterprising businesswomen who catapulted themselves to tabloid fame with the leak of Kim’s sex tape, the 21st century substitute for talent and ingenuity. Nevertheless, Kim manages to give back for all of her newfound fame: shedding her business suit for sheet music, Kim recently released a single entitled “Jam (Turn It Up)” whose proceeds (or actually, just half of them) would go to the latest Kardashian Kause: cancer research. However, described by critics as “dead brained and generic,” it seems that Kardashian would have been much more charitable to everyone, cancer-ridden or not, had she kept her mouth klosed and just donated her own money to the foundation directly.

Michele Bachmann

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Now There’s Nothing To Be Done

Money by The Drums (Craft Spells Remix).

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Stories from the Guy Who Writes Your College Papers

The Article: The Shadow Scholar by Ed Dante in The Chronicle Review.

The Text: The request came in by e-mail around 2 in the afternoon. It was from a previous customer, and she had urgent business. I quote her message here verbatim (if I had to put up with it, so should you): “You did me business ethics propsal for me I need propsal got approved pls can you will write me paper?”

I’ve gotten pretty good at interpreting this kind of correspondence. The client had attached a document from her professor with details about the paper. She needed the first section in a week. Seventy-five pages.

I told her no problem.

It truly was no problem. In the past year, I’ve written roughly 5,000 pages of scholarly literature, most on very tight deadlines. But you won’t find my name on a single paper.

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