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.

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