I was building up the feeds on my iGoogle page tonight (in an attempt to reduce the amount of email newsletters I read) when I stumbled across the blog of Evan Davis, the BBC business journalist.
Whilst the blog’s not been updated for a while (to be fair he’s a busy chap), he has a fascinating link to this article on LiveScience, published a while ago.
The headline is “Key to Happiness: Give Away Money“.
Here’s an interesting quote from the latter part of the article, which helps make a personal case for philanthropy and corporate responsibility work.
“A person apparently doesn’t need to drop thousands of dollars on others to reap a gleeful reward.
In another experiment, the researchers gave college students a $5 or $20 bill, asking them to spend the money by that evening. Half the participants were instructed to spend the money on themselves, and the remaining students to spend on others.
Participants who spent the windfall on others — which included toys for siblings and meals eaten with friends — reported feeling happier at the end of the day than those who spent the money on themselves.
If as little as $5 spent on others could produce a surge in happiness on a given day, why don’t people make these changes? In another study of more than 100 college students, the researchers found that most thought personal spending would make them happier than prosocial spending.
“Often people, at some implicit level, have this idea that ‘buying these things is going to make me happier,'” Ahuvia said. “It does make them momentarily happy,” he added, but the warm feelings are short-lived.”
Of course I’m not saying here that corporate responsibility is about just about giving money away. But it is about doing things for others, alongside self interest.
So it’s good to know that working in the area means you have a better chance of being happy than say, investment banking.