What Will it Take to Make You Happy?

Okay, here’s the question; what do you think would make you happier, winning the lottery or having a string tied on our wrist. You know I’m over here thinking “Pick the string, pick the string” but you can’t imagine why, right? Well, I’m about to tell you.

Now it’s true, winning the lottery will make you happy - but only temporarily. Psychologist David Myers, in his book The Pursuit of Happiness, states that once poverty is overcome, no matter how much you have, money doesn’t help. Oh I hear you, “Give me a chance, if I won the lottery, I could be happy.” In fact, winning the lottery doesn’t change people’s lives as much as you might think. Roy Kaplan has interviewed more than 600 winners of more than $1 million, and found that “people’s lives don’t change radically.”

Most lottery winners keep their jobs, but find their relationship with co-workers changed. Most are inundated with requests for money, both from friends and strangers. And some find that their lucky day brings them nothing but bad luck. For example;

* Norman Fletcher of Deckerville won $1 million in September 1974, and then was sued by his best friend.

* Charles Lynn Riddle of Belleville won $1 million in August 1975. Afterward, he got divorced, faced several lawsuits and was indicted for selling cocaine.

* Kenneth P. Proxmire of Hazel Park won $1 million in 1977. Within five years, he declared bankruptcy and his children and wife of 18 years left him.

Based on these lottery winners, it may be safe to say money doesn’t change a person’s level of pleasure, not like having string on your wrist anyway.

Here’s the deal, researchers tie a string around the wrist of a baby, and when the baby pulls the string, a picture appears. Eventually the baby discovers that he can control the picture with his wrist, and guess what? That makes him happy. How do we know? He laughs. If researchers take the string away, and the pictures appear randomly, the babies withdraw and cry.

The babies like being in control!

They are happier if they can control some of their environment. When they get the control back, they act happy again. Pretty simple. If we think of ourselves as victims, if we think that our life is out of control, we live with less joy.

So here is my challenge to you; if you are unhappy, and your fantasy is that winning the lottery will cure all your ills, think for a minute about the areas of your life that are out of control. I have a hunch that taking back your power and control may have more impact on your peace and well being than all the money in the world.

Like Susan Polis Schutz said,

“This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy.”