A friend recently pointed me to the research work of Jennifer Aaker, a researcher at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. From the article: “The results show that acts designed to improve the well-being of others will lead to greater happiness for givers when these acts are associated with concretely framed, prosocial goals as opposed to abstractly framed prosocial goals – despite people’s intuitions to the contrary.”
In other words, you’re much more likely to feel good about your efforts if you actually take concrete action to help someone solve their problems than if you help them abstractly. For example, you’re more likely to get lasting joy out of spending an hour directly helping someone find a job than spending an hour drinking coffee with them and listening to their misery in unemployment. Not only that, you’re more likely to actually help someone find a job if you’re actively offering help in that process. Drive someone to a job interview, not to the coffee shop to swap stories.
If you want to help others and feel good about it, take action. Don’t just sit there. Listening helps, but it pales compared to actually doing something to help, both in terms of your happiness and their results.
How to Stop Black and White Thinking from Destroying Your Life Life isn’t an “either/or” choice. You don’t have to be super-frugal or not frugal at all. You don’t have to eat every single meal at home or eat every single meal out. Black and white thinking makes everything hard. (@ dumb little man)
On Making It Through Tough Journeys The only source of true happiness is inside. Nothing outside of yourself can bring you happiness. You have to make it for yourself. It is a huge mistake to throw money after things in hopes that it will bring you joy. (@ zen habits)
How Much Do You Need to Save for College? This is a great answer to a very difficult question. I see a lot of changes coming in higher education in the next ten to fifteen years that have the potential to radically change the process people go through when deciding whether to go to college and where exactly to go to school. (@ money ning)
The Right Moment There is never a “perfect moment” to do anything. If you keep waiting for the “perfect moment” to start on something, you’ll never start. The best moment is usually right now, but it’s easy to talk ourselves out of change. (@ seth godin)