Monday, 9 November 2009

The unhappiness of winning the lottery

With news of one of the biggest lottery wins of all times in the UK, what is the likelihood that the winners will be made happier by their win?

Looking at the research done on the subject 3 separate issues could come into play - the first is habituation, or in other words getting used to the situation. Think back to the last time you bought something you were really excited about - how long did the excitement last? Probably a few days, maybe a few weeks if you're anything like me... It's the same with a lottery win, eventually it just becomes a part of your life and you get used to it so it no longer contributes to your happiness levels.

The second piece of evidence is that money can only make us happy if we have a real need for it (ie no food, shelter or security) and our relationships are a far more important contributor to our happiness. The lottery win is likely to put a strain on our relationships - lottery winners may move homes and change friends and neighbours.

Finally, many people would give up work if they won and being unemployed is potentially the worst thing that you can do for your happiness. Work gives us a sense of purpose and being an unemployed lottery winner might not be the best way towards happiness.

So after all that - don't you feel almost sorry for those poor unhappy lottery winners...

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I wish I would win the lottery. Of course, I would never quit my job or at least go unemployed for more than a year.

    I don't feel sorry for the lottery winners if they know how to use it and don't go blow it all at once and leave them with nothing in the end... leaving them quite unhappy.