Yet Professors Dunn and Norton prescribe something quite different: come out of hiding and move towards other people. Invite your friends into the fort and sip champagne with your friend; or better still, give the champagne away.
Invest in Others, Science Says
The professors have five spending principles to offer, and here I will focus on but the last of them: Invest in Others. Because they’re professors and all, I should let them have the first word:
“Spending money on others can increase your happiness even more than spending your cash on yourself, but you have to be willing to make yourself a little poorest to reap these benefits”.
The book surveys a range of studies to validate this striking conclusion. In one study, participants given a $5 note in an envelope were measurably happy when instructed to spend the money on others, compared with another group told to spend it on themselves. Remarkably, this maxim seems to apply as much in impoverished communities as in affluent ones. Whether it’s a Canadian using loose change to buy a new scarf for her mum, or a young Ugandan woman paying the medical bills of her friend’s son ailing with Malaria, generosity brings a smile to at least two faces. Indeed, in one significant Gallup world poll involving 136 countries:
“ … donating to charity had a similar relationship to happiness as doubling household income”.