Skip to content

What’s real.

Happy Thursday, money nerds!

While pulling this week’s articles together, I noticed I had a large batch related to the same subject: happiness. Sometimes when this happens, I spread the pieces over all five days. Not this week. This week, I’m giving you a day devoted to happiness. Enjoy!

The comparative impact of cash transfers as a psychotherapy program on psychological and economics well-being. [National Bureau of Economic Research] — “One year after the interventions, cash transfer recipients had higher consumption, asset holdings, and revenue, as well as higher levels of psychological wellbeing than control households. In contrast, the psychotherapy program had no measurable effects on either psychological or economic outcomes, both for individuals with poor mental health at baseline and others.” Sometimes, money can buy happiness.

Happiness won’t save you. [The New York Times] — “On May 13, 1982, at the age of 38, Philip Brickman made his way onto the roof of Tower Plaza, the tallest building in Ann Arbor, and jumped. It was a 26-story fall. The man who’d done one of psychology’s foundational studies about happiness couldn’t make his own pain go away.”

What if you pursued contentment rather than happiness? [Greater Good Science Center] — “This was the moment when lightning struck for me, and I immediately felt chills down my entire body. No matter where I went on planet earth, all of the cultures I interacted with revered contentment as one of the highest states to cultivate in life. Yet in the West, we were obsessing about happiness—and feeling more anxious, depressed, and stressed. I decided to dig in and see what kind of ancient secrets could be revealed through a scientific investigation of the most underappreciated emotion in history: contentment.”

Using “enough” to find contentment. [Retirement Field Guide] — “I am content. Not because of anything external, but because of my awareness of what enough means to me.”

And to wrap things up, here’s a semi-related eight-minute video from the YouTube channel “Throughline”. It quotes Brené Brown and philosopher Michel Foucault as it explores the genre-defying work of hip-hop artist NF (of whom I’d never heard before today). NF doesn’t give into the tropes. He’s not about profanity or wealth or power games. He’s about the power of vulnerability.

This is a great video. It’s terrific. I’m serious. It’s all about honesty and authenticity. And I think those concepts mesh well with happiness and contentment.