#0038 - Is this the most important?

Why don’t a significant chunk of us not talk to our cousins, relatives, or even our not-so-good friends regularly? Maybe they were just boring the last time, or whenever you call them, you find them talking mostly about their life & not listening to yours?

Personally, I realized it was not so much about how they were, but what I got out of those conversations. Even when they were objectively interesting or caring, I was analyzing if these conversations left me happier or knowledgeable than before. While some of them remained on my talk-to list, a lot of them got pruned. It wasn’t them; it was me.

I know it sounds materialistic, but hey, I assume this is true for a majority of us. We optimize for our personal priorities.

A recent scientific study suggests that we need to optimize for…


Summarizing the study by the scientists at University of Pennsylvania & University of California Los Angeles, Brian from Vox writes:

The scientists ran several studies — online surveys, in-person surveys, nationally representative surveys of more than 4,000 people — asking the same basic question: What would you rather have, more time or more money? The surveys also contained questions on personal well-being.

Most people were practical: Around 64 percent surveyed answered "more money."

But there was something else: The people who said they'd prefer more time were generally happier.

What's more, this relationship held true when the researchers controlled for the participants' time and money.

It's not that people who have more money are happier and have more freedom to say they'd want more time. It's much more subtle than that. "What matters is the value people place on each resource," the authors write. "Beyond the amount of these resources people have, happiness is linked to the resource people want."

People who tended to choose more time also tended to be:

  • Older, which suggests perhaps as we age we get more satisfaction from valuing our time over money

  • Parents, which suggests children can change our values on the time-money question

  • Married

  • Wealthier (but when the analysis controlled for this, the correlation between choosing time and happiness remained)

The important question

These findings suggest our mentality towards TIME and MONEY has a lot to do with our happiness & productivity levels.

Even though money, or the lack thereof — is often cited as one of the most stress-inducing aspects of life, people who value their time more than their money are more likely be happier despite the amount of money they have.

Think about it: Money can come and go, but time only goes, and doesn’t come back. Once lost, it’s gone.

So, how much is your time worth?