Big Life with Ray Waters Neal Campbell no

If I just had more (fill in the blank) ________,  I would be happy. How many of us have said that very sentence and believed somehow it was true? And yet we know it is not. Unhappy people stay unhappy even if they have great things happen to them. And conversely, happy people seem to stay happy even when they face adversity. 

A study was done several years ago by Dr. Janoff Bulman. The researchers under Dr. Bulman studied 22 people who had won the lottery. In our society winning the lottery is a metaphor for finally entering the good life. Here is what the researchers discovered. The  22 people who won the lottery were precisely at the same happiness level they had been at before they won the lottery within six months of their winning. Think about that for a moment. These 22 people experienced an amazing windfall and their happiness quotient stayed the exact same.

But the most interesting part of their study was this. The researchers also  studied a group of 29 people who were in accidents and became quadriplegics. They discovered within six months of their accidents they were at the same happiness level they had been at before they were hurt. 

And one final point in their study to think about. The researchers discovered many of these quadriplegics were more hopeful about their futures than the lottery winners were.

You and I have to learn to be happy where we are. We can want to be better and do more. Those things are good desires. But never think happiness comes from outside of you. It is something you carry on the inside. Big life people understand this and learn how to walk in their inner happiness in good times and bad.  

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