Is Money And Happiness Correlated?

I read an interesting article yesterday about the players in the NBA (National Basketball Association). This is the most lucrative sports league in the world and, on average, a player earns around 7 million dollars/season. On average!

Despite the huge amount of money the players make, the president of the league – Adam Silver, is concerned that more and more players are unhappy in their profession. In one-to-one conversations with the players, he is struck with how genuine sad they are. Some of them are extremely isolated and lonely.

Social media is a big factor in this, some of these players have millions of followers around the globe on their social media channels and they spend most of their time on these platforms instead of spending time with team mates, friends, and the people surrounding the team.

Another factor, related to this is also the constant feedback, criticism, and appraisal, that they receive from their followers. This causes immense pressure to be a certain way since they are a public brand that they need to look after. Therefore, some of the players have special teams helping them to determine what to post on these platforms. Basically, what you see is an edited version of who they really are – causing them to feel very empty inside.

Some of the teams have been forced to introduce “social media breaks” during their team meetings since they noticed that the players lose focus and started shaking if they don’t get their “social media kicks”.

As, scary and sad as this is – what struck me the most with this article was the fact that despite the huge amount of money they make – they are still not happy. That money has very little to do with happiness.

Sports psychologist Michael Gervais has conducted a study on the relationship between happiness and money, and there is a correlation. But only up to a certain limit, and that limit is around an income of 100 000$ per year. Above this threshold, the correlation between money and happiness disappears.

Think about it. 100 000 $ / year is not that much. Of course, there are other benefits with money like security, be able to travel and experience the world, buy things, etc but I still found it interesting that the correlation with happiness dropped off so quickly.

So, if money does not create happiness – what is?

Happiness is a choice. Happiness is inside of you, not on external things. You can choose to be happy – every day – despite your circumstances. My definition of happiness is to do something you love, that you are excited about, that are meaningful to you and provide value for others.

“If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you will be happy with more?”

If you want to learn more about happiness, I recommend you read “The happiness advantage” by Shawn Achor.

Live with KARMA,


Founder, Unlimitedkarma

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