I was intrigued by a study mentioned here that suggests that people believe they would be happy if they only had 20% more money. Didn’t matter what their status: 20% seemed to be the most popular number.
At least until one gets to a point like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, when they actually not only start giving away their money, they encourage/cajole other billionaires to do the same.
So money, presumably, can make you happy. But does it bring you joy? I distinguish the two; to me, happiness is a more temporal thing. Joy is a state of being rather than a fleeting emotion. Weather with the high of 71F, with low humidity makes me happy; looking forward to tomorrow – not a specific tomorrow – but almost every tomorrow, brings me joy.
A particular song can make me happy, but music brings me joy, listening to it, singing it. The Mets winning the National League East would make me happy (ain’t happening THIS year); baseball, the intricacies of the sport, brings me joy. Sharing information definitely brings me joy.
I don’t know that Mother Teresa was happy living in squalor, but evidently, it brought her joy helping others. I think Gates and Buffett are experiencing joy giving away their money. I’ve read somewhere that, as a percentage of income, it is not the rich who are most generous donating to charities, it is those of the middle and lower economic levels who are more likely to help others. So the joy of helping others seems to trump the happiness of self, in some people, I gather.
People can take joy in God or money or family or nature or sex or Xbox, I reckon.
What makes you happy? What brings you joy?