I’ve heard money can in fact buy happiness when you spend it on meaningful experiences such as traveling. But Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton says that when it comes to maximizing happiness, what you are buying might not matter as much as who you are buying for.
He uses various social experiments to demonstrate that when you spend money on fellow teammates (whether the team be from a company or school sport), your personal happiness and team productivity will improve.
It doesn’t matter the amount or type of purchase. In his experiments, any form of prosocial spending (including charity) increased happiness and team achievement, while personal spending did not.
In addition, companies that gave money for prosocial expenses get a higher return on investment than if it just gave out money for personal spending.
Generosity is a win-win situation. As you work on your BEAM projects, buy your teammates gifts. Or, even better: combine our two theories for buying happiness by buying a bonding experience.