Muhammad Yunus is a remarkable man, he has made life better for millions and millions of poor people in his home country Bangladesh and throughout the world. He has coined...
To become a billionaire is not so hard, when the currency you want to become a billionaire in is not decided. As you might have seen before, I’m actually a trillionaire.
If that 100 trillion dollars were US dollars instead of Zimbabwe dollars that one bill would be worth more than the whole worlds total GBP (about 65 Trillion US$), more than everything produced on this planet in one year.
To become a billionaire in terms of US dollars you must do something extraordinary. Very few people have what it takes to become a billionaire, as we all know of course. That´s why there are so few people that become billionaires. What I wanted to write about today is not really as the title says, how to become a billionaire but instead the biggest secret to true wealth. The secret that maybe can give us the happiness of a billionaire.
The biggest secret to true wealth
What is your biggest passion in life? What do you care for most deeply? What excites you the most? What could you do today that would make you really proud? How do you feel when you achieve something really great?
This whole post might seem a bit strange because I usually write and talk about passive income, investing, becoming rich and living your dreams. Then on the other hand we´ve all been thought that money can´t buy happiness, right?
As one study shows, most people believe that if their income doubled their happiness would also double. But the study´s findings proved that in reality, people who went from earning 25000€ per year to 55000€ per year reported only a 9% increase in happiness. Adding to that, one of the most widely quoted studies on the subject shows that once we make a steady middle-class salary at about 75000$US (70000€) per year, there are no measureable difference in a person’s level of happiness when earning more than that.
The truth is: more recent studies have proven that money can make us happier, but it all comes down to how we spend it. Scientists have shown that “spending as little as five dollars a day can significantly make you happier.”
How can this be?
The thing is that it´s not about the amount of money that we spend, but how we decide to spend it that matters. Every day our spending choices show different biological and emotional effects that even can be detected in our saliva. As Harvard´s Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton shows in their book Happy money: The science of smarter spending. “While having more money can provide all kinds of wonderful things-From tastier food to safer neighborhoods-its real power comes not in the amount but in how we spend it.” There are many proven ways that we can spend our money that will significantly increase your happiness.
Three of the most powerful ones are:
- Investing in experiences
- Buying time for yourself
- Investing in others
Investing in experiences
This can be things like traveling, learning new skills or taking courses, bungee jumping, kite surfing, playing golf on extraordinary courses, mountain climbing, hiking or anything that you experience that will make you happy just by reminding yourself about that experience.
Buying time for yourself
When we are able to outsource some of our working time (including housework), money can transform the way we spend our time, making us free to pursue our passions. Going down in work time, maybe only working 4 days a week is also a way of buying time for yourself.
Investing in others
This is the hidden gem that most people don’t think or even know about, this is the greatest thing you can do with your money that will bring a massive increase in happiness. That’s right, giving our money away actually makes us really happy!
Research shows that the more you give to others, the happier you are. And the thing is that the more you have, the more you are able to give away. Dunn and Norton demonstrate in their scientific studies that people get more satisfaction from spending money on others than they do spending it on themselves. And the benefits “extend to not only subjective well-being, but also to health.”
In other words, giving makes you both happier and healthier. According to their study, this phenomenon is true on all continents and cultures, both rich and poor countries, from the ultra-rich to the poorest of poor and in all ages. “From a Canadian college student buying a scarf for her mother to a Ugandan women buying lifesaving medication for a close friend.” The size of the gift simply doesn´t matter.
And if you think about it, at Christmas, what gives the most joy to you. The gifts that you get or the gifts that you give?
In one study a group of people were given 20$ to spend during the day. Some of them were told to spend it on themselves and some were told to spend it on someone else. By the end of the day the people that were assigned to spend the money on someone else showed significantly happier moods than the ones that spent it on themselves.
Many studies in the same category have been made.
In another study referred to as a “beautiful experiment” employees at e certain company were given bonuses in the range around 3000 US$. Some employees got the bonus to spend on themselves and others were instructed to give all the money away. Can you guess who got happier?
“Six months down the line, the people that gave the bonus away reported being much happier than the people that kept the money for themselves.” When you give away money, especially if you do something for a stranger versus if you do something for someone you love, the level of happiness is multiplied. It´s the equivalent of doubling your salary.
Of course giving is so much more than just giving money. It´s about giving time, giving your emotions, giving your presence to your kids, your family, to your husband or wife and your friends. Our work can also be a gift. Whether it´s a song or a poem, building a big business, being a healthcare provider or teaching other people things. We all have things to give. After love, one of the most powerful things we can give is our labor. Giving our time and sharing our skills gives huge “returns” in terms of happiness and feeling good. And I think that if you really think about it, the happiest moments, when you feel at best, is after giving something to someone that is deeply appreciated by the receiver.
The secret for “how to become a billionaire” is not in the money in one’s bank account but in the happiness that we think we can get from being rich. The happiness lies in giving. Giving in any form builds wealth faster than getting ever will.
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn´t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying that we´ve done something wonderful, that´s what matters to me.” – Steve Jobs