Monday, 25 November 2013

The million dollar question. Would winning a load of money make you happier?

It is often said that people who win the lottery don't feel any happier in the long run.

A year after the momentous event rather than enjoying all the trappings of wealth they are quite miserable.

Whereas people involved in serious accidents who have been paralysed are said to be more content a year later, even though they have lost the use of their limbs.

It defies common sense. Money would surely aid happiness? Pay off the dreaded mortgage. Buy a car that works. Go on holiday without worrying about the looming credit card bill. Not to mention being daft with some of it. Ever wanted a billboard with your own face on it? Or to record that song you wrote when you were sweet sixteen? Or publish that book you've been writing for years.

How could doing all that lead to less happiness? 

Not being able to walk again would be truly awful. If struck down by such ill fate could you actually find happiness? Really?

Of course if you take the time to read the actual scientific research the findings are more nuanced than is often reported.

C'est la vie in a world tweets and soundbites I guess (I include myself in that world btw).

But the million dollar question remains. Would winning a load of money make you happier?

My aim is to raise $1m to put the theory to the test.

If my Kickstarter project is successful I will film a documentary throughout the year and work closely with Leeds University researchers who will monitor my state of happiness.

The entire process is designed to understand whether the act of suddenly coming into a vast amount of money makes you happier or sadder.

Will I feel the need to give it away, or be seen to do good with it? 

WIll I gamble some of it or try to make a quick buck by investing it in other things?

What impact will it have on my home life, and will I remain motivated at work?

Will my friends change the way they behave around me?

Will I attract lots of new 'friends'?

These questions and more will be answered. 

Don't under-estimate how big a risk I am taking by doing this. 

As it stands today I am a happy chappy.

I am married to a woman I love. I have two beautiful children. I even have a pet dog.

We live in a lovely house. I have good work-life balance and enjoy my job.

You could argue I couldn't be any happier.Therefore 'winning' a million dollars could have dire consequences.

It could change everything and upset the happy life I already have.

It is a risk I am willing to take for you though.

If I am sadder a year from now the only satisfaction I will have to cling onto is that the million dollar question will have been answered.

Please back me if you feel you can. And spread the word. Should my Kickstarter project get approved I only have until 23.59 on December 31st 2013 to raise the funds.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Things that don't work annoy me

In the past few days I've tried to see a GP, but failed to get an appointment. The phone is constantly engaged.

I've tried to use my credit card but been denied for entering the PIN I've always had. 

I've tried to retrieve a password for my Oyster card but the email never arrived.

And even tried to lodge a claim against a company that owes me money but got stuck when the postcode I submitted was spat back at me for not being in England or Wales. Err, Brighton is where exactly then?

As a result of all this inconvenience my temperature is rising.

My debt is rising too.

Where's the app for sorting all that crap?

Life was meant to be simpler thanks to all the mod cons we now have.

A secretary. A personal secretary. That's what I need. 

I can but dream.

In the meantime I have set my heart on reading Oliver Burkeman's latest offering The Antidote. Happiness for people who can't stand positive thinking.

So far so good. A full review to follow in due course.

Friday, 8 November 2013

My review of Brand Vandals

Stephen Waddington asked me (and a few others to be fair) whether I'd review his latest book Brand Vandals.

He co-wrote it with Steve Earl.

I have to say first I'm not sure where he gets the energy and enthusiasm to do his high powered job, to commute from Northumberland to London, to be president-elect of the CIPR 2013, chair of the CIPR Social Media panel and to have recently co-written and edited Share This Too (which I had a small hand in) and be a really nice bloke to boot.

If he wasn't so lovely I'd have to dislike him out of principle for putting the rest of us slackers to shame.

Anyway I was flattered to be asked. But that said I'm no push over so this is my honest view.

Brand Vandals is one of those books that you read with some trepidation.

As you turn each page and approach each new chapter you're secretly hoping your organisation or brand has already considered every unfolding eventuality.

I found myself mentally ticking off examples from my own PR experience thinking through scenarios and case studies that could easily apply.

It prompted more than one or two emails to colleagues as I stress tested our own thinking and made me healthily paranoid once more. Which is a good thing.

The choice of interviewees quoted is spot on and add further weight to what is clearly a well researched guide to best practice in this area.

The authors clearly speak from a position of authority, but do so in a conversational manner that not only makes a serious topic more engaging but also mirrors the careful balance brands now need to strike. Wanting to be taken seriously whilst not being labelled so corporate and dull as to appear anything but human.

By mastering the art of humour, candor and humility I think Brand Vandals neatly talks the talk and walks the walk.

Copies will be duly ordered and left on the desks of those who could still do with the wake up call.

4 / 5