I put this question on the top of a blank word document the other day and came to some very interesting results.
From a big picture perspective, my life wouldn’t change that much. Yes, I might go out to eat at nicer restaurants a few more times a month, I might travel once or twice more per year, I might purchase a nicer car for my wife, I might pursue some home renovation projects that I have been putting off.
However, from a day-to-day perspective, my life wouldn’t change that much. I would have the same routines and do the same work that I do today. Increasing my income wouldn’t necessarily increase the quality of my life.
Stumbling Upon Your Happiness
Harvard psychologist, Daniel Gilbert, has done a lot of research on happiness through financial success. What he found that the magic number was $40,000. Once your income reached $40,000, money wasn’t going to make you any happier.
I have seen a lot of examples where an increase has actually decreased the quality of ones life. They go out and buy a new car, even though the one they had been using since college is paid off. They live in a bigger place in a nicer area. They now have to purchase furniture to fill that space. Of course they need new clothes to say to the world that they have made it.
You probably have seen the same thing. Income goes up by $10,000 and so do expenses aka Parkinson’s Law.
Stumbling Upon My Happiness
As I continued to think about this question, I wondered what would improve the quality of my life if income wasn’t.
The answer that I came to was time.
Therefore, I shifted to a new question – If my amount of time doubled, how would that change my life?
It turns out a lot more then my income doubling.
I’m not talking about sitting on the couch free time but free time that will allow me to experience new things. Allow me to learn new things. Allow me to become a better writer. Allow me to spend more time with friends and family. Allow me to meet more people.
These are the things that are going to improve the quality of my life.
I challenge you to do the same thing. First, ask yourself how would your life change if your income doubled. Follow that up by asking yourself how would your life change if your time doubled?
Let me know what you find out in the comments.
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