Leave The Change: Money, Generosity, and Happiness At Work

by Scott Crabtree

“Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up right alongside it.” – David Lee Roth

While that’s a funny quote, it’s not terribly accurate according to the science of happiness. Long story short, money helps many individuals, families, and countries to be happier, but it typically doesn’t make nearly as much difference as most of us imagine. People who are extremely poor get much happier when they can suddenly afford basic needs. For the rest of us more money only makes a slight difference. As leading happiness researcher Ed Deiner writes, being materialistic and focusing on money is likely a good way to be unhappy.

But studies suggest money can buy us happiness, if we spend it correctly. One of the best ways to be happier is to give money away. For a video explaining more, check out TEDx talk:

I encourage you to try one or more of these ideas at work and see how you feel:

* Buy something from a vending machine, and leave the change.

* Buy a friend at work lunch.

* Donate to a charity through work, and get your company to match the donation if possible.

* Get a thank-you gift for a coworker who deserves your gratitude.

However you try being generous at work, I’d love to hear how it makes you feel.