Tomorrow’s *Chicago Tribune* (Sunday, May 3) includes an interview with social psychologist David Myers:  “Money does buy happiness — but only temporarily” by Eve Hightower.

Here are some excerpts:

[begin excerpts]

Q  What should we know about happiness during times like these?

A  Economic growth has not led to happiness over time.  Growth and
downfalls can lead to short-term happiness, but we rebound to our normal
level of happiness after a while.

People who value high income, occupational success and prestige to
having very close friends and a close marriage are twice as likely to
describe themselves as “fairly” or “very” unhappy.

The need to belong runs deeper, it seems, than any need to be rich.

For all but the very poor, more money buys no more than a temporary
surge of happiness.

Q  What does predict happiness?

A  Perhaps the most important predictor is close, supportive
relationships.  We’re social animals.  Forty percent of married adults
say they’re happy, whereas 23 percent of never-married adults say
they’re happy.

But just being married doesn’t mean you’re happy.  You can be in an
unhappy marriage.

Q  There’s also a correlation between religion and happiness. Are
religious people happy or are happy people attracted to religion?

A  Causal traffic is two-way between happiness and marriage and could be
with religion too.   Happy people tend to be more social in general.


QAnd unhappiness can be a good thing?

AWhen bad things happen in our lives, unhappiness alerts us to do
something about it.

[end excerpts]

The interview is online at:

courtesy of Ken Pope

Can you relate to this?

I, together just about everyone I know, learned:

  • Be sensible

  • Be practical

  • Take risks if you must, but make sure they are not too big and are well researched.

  • Consider security. Pay up your RSP. Choose work has good chances for employment. Don’t leave a good paying job.

  • Pay your dues; then you can do what you want sometime later in your life.

  • Don’t raise eyebrows. Unconventional choices lead to suffering. Act responsibly.

  • You need to be able to justify with reason your choices. Intuition and feeling are a weak basis for important decisions.

  • The paths to personal and work success are well known. There are effective formulas for living. Follow them and succeed.

Clichés often become clichés because they are true, useful, and obvious. These lessons are not bad ones. Some truth sticks to them, like bread crumbs to a honeyed knife. They are hard to refute.

They are also incomplete. I recently talked with a man – a self-employed architect. He and his wife have 3 nice kids. He works incessantly, and in another cliché, smokes and drinks quite a bit. He’s got it all – a nice house (actually several nice houses) and lots of toys. He builds airplanes in his spare time with his brother. He’s a success, and all his family agrees. He also seems driven and inwardly miserable, for all that he’s a hilarious wise-cracker. Or so my intuition told me.

The heart’s longing is not always easy to define. In my case, almost never. Maybe yours speaks with a clearer voice. I know when my heart is longing, because what I’m doing does not satisfy it. But for what exactly? It’s like I get a glimpse out of the corner of my eye. Someone waved an arm northward. I’m supposed to go north. How far? Due north, or north-east? Silence. I see someone I admire, though, northward. I wonder what my life would be like if I lived like that…

The heart is also really not easy to hear. There is so much noise from other people’s opinions and examples. From past hurts and failures. From fear. Fear is the big deafener. Do I really want that, or am I just imagining something? Just dreaming. How much would I have to give up! I’ve invested years in safety, predicability. There’s no turning back now. My insurance is paid up.

I had to pay good money to have someone to teach me to dream again. To learn that my heart’s desire mattered. That it is possible to meet it. That it’s not clear cut how this happens, no matter what the books and conventions say. That hunches are wheels, and trust is an engine. And that daring is the fuel.

My dreams are not huge, but they, and my heart’s longing, are the source of my love and my life. I can’t turn totally away. I’m going …north-ish.

How about you? I dare you.

Brian Grady, Ph.D

I know how men in exile feed on dreams of hope
Aeschylus (525 BC – 456 BC), Agamemnon

To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act.
Anatole France (1844 – 1924)

Hope is a waking dream.
Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC), from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers

Dreams that do come true can be as unsettling as those that don’t.
Brett Butler, ‘Knee Deep in Paradise’

He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.
Douglas Adams (1952 – 2001), “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.
Edgar Allan Poe, “Eleonora”

You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, “Why not?”
George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950), “Back to Methuselah” (1921), part 1, act 1

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

Dreams surely are difficult, confusing, and not everything in them is brought to pass for mankind. For fleeting dreams have two gates: one is fashioned of horn and one of ivory. Those which pass through the one of sawn ivory are deceptive, bringing tidings which come to nought, but those which issue from the one of polished horn bring true results when a mortal sees them.
Homer (800 BC – 700 BC), The Odyssey

Keep true to the dreams of thy youth.
Johann von Schiller

We need men who can dream of things that never were.
John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963), speech in Dublin, Ireland, June 28, 1963

Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: – ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’
Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 – 1968), Speech at Civil Rights March on Washington, August 28, 1963

Last night I dreamed I ate a ten-pound marshmallow, and when I woke up the pillow was gone.
Tommy Cooper

There is nothing like dream to create the future. Utopia to-day, flesh and blood tomorrow.
Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885), Les Miserables, 1862