Power Thought: The time to be happy is now

by | Nov 12, 2014 | Power Thoughts

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“The time to be happy is now.
The place to be happy is here.
The way to be happy is to make others so.”
~ Robert G. Ingersoll

What this quote means to entrepreneurs:
One of the essential quests of life is the pursuit of happiness. And happiness is a key attribute of psychological health. Basically, everyone wants it, but we don’t always know how to achieve it.

Because of it’s driving importance, researchers are on their own quest for the recipe for happiness … and they’ve discovered that one important ingredient is altruism, helping others.

For example, the 2010 Do Good Live Well Survey asked 4,500 American adults and discovered that 41% of them volunteered an average of 100 hours a year. Of those individuals, 68% said that volunteering made them feel physically healthier; 89% said that it “has improved my sense of well-being” and 73% said that it “lowered my stress levels.”

Furthermore, research conducted by Lara Aknin of Simon Fraser University, in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, and her colleagues, found that spending money on others or giving money to charity leads to the greatest happiness boost when giving fosters social connection. In other words, when your giving helps you feel more connected to others, it makes you happier.

Another study, recently published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology by Jennifer Aaker from Stanford Graduate School of Business, found that acts designed to improve the well-being of others led to greater happiness for givers when these acts were associated with concretely framed, prosocial goals in contrast to abstractly framed prosocial goals. What this means is when you give, if you give to something specific rather than abstract, you’ll be happier. For example, giving to a specific project at your favorite charity will make you happier than just giving to that charity in general.

This affects you as an entrepreneur in two ways:

  1. When you focus on being of service in your business, of helping the people who hire you, you’ll be happier than if you focus on your income goals.
  2. If giving is a part of your business model, then you will be more effective if you can frame this giving in concrete ways or in ways that increase your tribe’s connection to each other.

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Now It’s Your Turn:
Do you agree with my interpretation of today’s quote? Why or why not? What are your thoughts on happiness, giving and connection? Based on what you just read, do you have any plans for increasing your happiness? Please share your thoughts, experiences and sage wisdom in a comment below.

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