There’s an experiment that measures children’s happiness when they are given a treat, and when they have the opportunity to give that treat to another child. But there seems to be a disconnect between the results of this experiment, and how we’ve acted on this information…
Scientific research shows that children experienced joy when they gave sweets from their own pile to other children. But TV ads tell us that we will be better and happier when we get more things – better things – for ourselves. Giving, and getting, both give us a form of happiness and satisfaction.
But we know that the pursuit of getting does not make people happier for long. When we compare ourselves with those who have more, we are less likely to be satisfied with what we have. When we compare ourselves with those who seem to have less, we are more likely to feel grateful for what we have and feel more generous to share with those who have less.
The secret to 100 percent chance of happiness is this – giving is actually easier than getting.
Giving starts with the things we have. When we focus on what we have, and we think we have enough, we can choose to give and share these things, creating joy for ourselves and for others. Getting, on the other hand, starts with what we don’t have. Getting what we want isn’t always within our control, the outcome depends on other external conditions too.
So the chance of us getting what we want is never 100 percent, no matter how hard we try. While the chance of giving what we already have is always 100 percent, as long as we choose to do it.
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