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What you should do in 2016

January 1, 2016

Follow these people on Twitter: @saladinahmed, @andrewducker, @tcarmody, @joannechocolat, @beatonna, @paullicino

Buy better quality meat and less of it. It’s better for you, the environment, the animals, and it’ll taste better.

Grow something.

Hand write a letter to someone. (Bonus: you can talk about “keeping up with your correspondence”.)

Make your bed every morning.

Play more games. Good, modern board games. If you’re not sure where to start try Tabletop or Rahdo, or check out SU&SD. (Or just pick up Ticket to Ride or King of Tokyo and take it from there.)

Moan less and laugh more.

Look up nearby tourist attractions. There’s almost certainly an obscure museum, park, or gallery on your doorstep you’ve always ignored or never knew about. Visit it.

Give things away

Drive a little slower. The time saved by speeding on your commute to work is negligible but it’s costing you money and stressing you out.

Buy a book from an independent bookstore.

Pay for something you get for free. You almost certainly use Wikipedia, pay the $3 when they ask, if you read a webcomic or follow a YouTube channel back the creater on Patreon.

And, most important of all: be kind. If we’re not kind to each other then we’re all fucked.

Buying happiness

November 20, 2014

…a rich person getting even richer experiences zero gain in happiness. That’s not all that surprising; it’s what Norton asked next that led to an interesting insight. He asked these rich people how happy they were at any given moment. Then he asked them how much money they would need to be even happier.

“All of them said they needed two to three times more than they had to feel happier,” says Norton. The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that money, above a certain modest sum, does not have the power to buy happiness, and yet even very rich people continue to believe that it does: the happiness will come from the money they don’t yet have.

To the general rule that money, above a certain low level, cannot buy happiness there is one exception. “While spending money upon oneself does nothing for one’s happiness,” says Norton, “spending it on others increases happiness.

The full article is worth a read, there’s interesting stuff about the effect of wealth on empathy and the inclination to cheat and steal. I would’ve assumed they were cause rather then effect but it may be more circular than that.

There are other good tidbits and observations: the effect wealth can (or can’t) have on politics, the difficulties of philanthopy, a favourite has to be:

The American upper middle class has spent a fortune teaching its children to play soccer: how many great soccer players come from the upper middle class?

That final line of the blockquote above is the most important though: spending money on others increases happiness. I am certainly nowhere near the wealth status of the participants of these studies but little makes me happier than giving. You have to give. Make sure you can eat, you’re housed and clothed and all that but then give things away: your time, your expertise, whatever. If I’m feeling down my quickfix method to cheering myself up is to bake a batch of something and give to everyone I work with. It doesn’t have to be material wealth, giving just makes you happier.

(via kottke)

Mudita

January 26, 2010

For years I was never quite sure what schadenfreude meant, when I finally looked it up on wikipedia the ‘antonyms’ section introduced me to the Buddhist concept of Mudita which I liked and as it came up during the course of my day today I thought I’d do a little post about it.

In the Punnett Square of Happiness and Unhappiness against Fortune in others and Misfortune in others Mudita is the coolest one: Happiness in another’s fortune. Joy at their joy.

The term mudita is usually translated as “sympathetic” or “altruistic” joy, the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people’s well-being rather than begrudging it. Many Buddhist teachers interpret mudita more broadly as referring to an inner spring of infinite joy that is available to everyone at all times, regardless of circumstances. The more deeply one drinks of this spring, the more secure one becomes in one’s own abundant happiness, and the easier it then becomes to relish the joy of other people as well.

How awesome is that?

Also for more German loanword fun check out Claire Rayner on Zeitguest. Also.