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What is “Investment” to you?

When you think of an investment, you may think to invest on something to get something in return and become rich, right? You know, to earn more money in return of what you invest on. But why you think of wanting to have more money? That could be because you want to be happy, like to be able to do what you want to do, or you want to live with joy, or you want to live without any anxiety, and so on.

But anyhow, if you are happy and always become happy, that’s your goal, isn’t it? There are some people who want to show off, like someone who insists I have this or that, and I’m not gonna talk about these people today because first of all, they might not be so rich as you think, and secondly, rich people only know how to use their money and that’s why they are rich, and that’s something you should learn.

The right purpose of making money

When you say you want to be rich, you don’t just want the paper or coin that bank issues, do you? What you really want is for example sense of satisfaction or joy or freedom and if so, you need to think about how you can be happy rather than just focusing on making money, like how much of money would you be satisfied if you have, or what do you want to spend on when you have money. these are the things you should focus on.

For today’s video, I titled “How can just $1 investment makes you happier than winning a lottery.” In fact, this is a famous story but most of the people who won lottery, like $1 million, if they do not know how to use it, whether they win $1 million or $10 million, it doesn’t necessarily make them happy. And that’s why it’s said that lottery is a huge social experiment. So what should we do with the money?

Now, if I say like, money is not everything, or don’t be too greedy, or something like that, some people might say “then, you put all your money into donation or charity,” but my point here is, making money doesn’t always make you happy. 

Rather no debt, or if you have some saving that you can live for like next 1 year, that prevents you from feeling negative. It doesn’t make you positive, but it prevents from creating negative feeling. So either if you are not in debt or if you have enough saving to live for the next 1 year even if you lose your current job, then the next thing you should think is how to use the rest of your money properly. 

Like I said, making money doesn’t always make you happy but it can prevent you from creating unhappiness and it’s actually proved by a research. Therefore, technically said, money is for eliminating your unhappy feeling, and after eliminating your unhappiness, if you don’t use money the way I will be talking about today, you will never be happy. If you just focus on making more and more money, you might start to think like “why and for what, I have been putting my effort on?”

A right way to use money that brings up your level of happiness

So what makes you happy and what kind of way to use money brings up your level of happiness? A research revealed that when you use your money on society, or some kind of group or when you invest on somebody, it brings up the level of happiness. Now you don’t have to invest like big amount. Even small number invested on someone makes you and brings up your level of happiness.

In fact, a professor, Lara Aknin, at Simon Fraser University in Canada, researched on this and what she did was that she handed over money randomly, like some people receive $5, some people receive $20, she handed out an envelope with the money inside to the participant and also, she put a short message within the envelope. The message is either “use this money until 5pm for yourself” or “use this money until 5pm for others.” So basically there are 4 kinds of envelopes, with $5 or $20 and with 2 kinds of messages, “use the money for yourself” and “use the money for others” at random. And what she researched was she gave those envelopes and checked a level of happiness on each one. In the end of a day, she checked which group of participant had the highest level of happiness. 

Now, when you think about it, you might think someone who received $20 is happier than those who received $5. Plus, if someone uses the $20 for themselves, like for drinking or buying something they want, if they used it for themselves, you might think it makes happier. So it looks like for those who use $20 for themselves has the highest level of happiness, doesn’t it? Well, we tend to use money in that way. But the result showed it’s wrong. 

Who was the happiest as a result?

In fact, the level of happiness in the end of a day, for those who used the money for others, they had much higher level of happiness than those who used it for themselves. Now, if you just look at the result, you might think,   “oh but I don’t have any money to use others because I do not have anything left after paying my living expense…” 

But here is something interesting and also a good news for those who think they should spend a lot to others for the sake of their happiness. Well, I almost said the answer, but when she compared the level of happiness between those who used $5 and $20 for others, they were exactly the same. So here is something very important for you to remember. If you spend your money on someone or if you do something for others, like show kindness or whatever, it brings up your level of happiness. Plus, the level of happiness is NOT related to the amount of money. So regardless of how much you spend on someone, and it’s not necessarily just spending money, but if you just spend your 5min on someone to show like your kindness, it also brings up your level of happiness. 

You don’t have to do something big to have higher level of happiness

So you don’t necessarily have to go out and help someone for like 10 hours a day but regardless of money or word, if you do something small that someone can say “thank you” to you, you feel happiness.

Here in Japan, we don’t have a tradition of giving a tip, but I sometimes give 100 yen, like a dollar to someone when someone does something helpful to me, even to a friend, like when he gives me a ride. Maybe a dollar can just buy you a bottle of water, but I personally feel good when I give it with Thank you, or Arigato, with my gratitude, you know. Just 100 yen makes you happy, and I think this is the best investment, the best way to use money. 

So spending money on others, or investing on others, research also shows it actually has lots of good affect on you, like for example, you can extend your life span or your efficiency will be improved, and you feel you have more time, spare time, because you become relaxed. And also, you will have a higher self-confidence. One of the researches shows when you spend your time on someone, you will have more self-confidence. So use you small amount of time or money or effort on someone, and this is the best investment on earth.

So for those who want be successful, don’t just focus on making money but think what kind of mentality you must have to be successful,  and I am not saying like, you should believe in yourself that you can do it or things like that. Just a small amount of kindness, money or time or effort on someone is the important thing to remember. And be practical, not just thinking “I will be doing something good to someone” but, like buying a can of juice to someone or giving some small tip to someone, like that, if you set it practical and specific, it makes your level of happiness higher. So don’t be too vague, like “I will save the world” or “I will save all the children who suffers in a world,” like even Bill Gates has not accomplished. So not like those statements but it should be something practical that you can do daily or weekly constantly. 

And this is something that anyone can do, it’s so easy, but very important investment to remember.