"The joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you."
-John Greenleaf Whittier
Having a happy friend is more likely to make you happy than receiving a $5,000 raise.
We all know the adage that laughter is contagious. But as it turns out, so is joy, according to research published in the British Medical Journal. A twenty-year study of more than 47,000 people found that joy is contagious. We all know joy is a good thing, but we never stop to think of how powerful it actually is. It produces an ability to persevere, it binds relationships, it enables us to love...ourselves, others, and the work we do.
When you are happy, it is more likely your friends will become happy, and when they are happy, it fortifies your ability to be happy. It's a self perpetuating phenomenon. Joyful people make us come alive. They are an oasis in a dessert of pessimism, cynicism, and doubt. We not only need food and water and air. We need joy.
In fact, according to the study, the impact of joy is so penetrating that it can stretch through three degrees of separation. So if a friend of a friend of a friend becomes happy, you are likely to be infected with some good juju as well.
So if you receive a $5,000 raise, give it to your friend. He will be happy, and you've got a win-win!