Professor Explains Why Winning $20 Million Lottery Won’t Make You Happy

A professor explains why winning $20 million from the lottery won't make you happy.
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A professor explains why winning $20 million from the lottery won’t make you happy.

One thing that everyone surely dreams of at one point in their life is winning the lucrative jackpot and having a lump sum of money in their bank account.

Most of us can only dream of what we would do with that amount of cash.

Some people would choose to buy a new house or a luxury sports car, while others might choose to invest it in property, land, or stocks.

We all assume that winning the lottery would be the source of endless happiness.

Well, one professor begs to differ.

Find out what the professor had to say below…

Dr Sanjiv Chopra, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, says in a TED talk that the happiness you feel after winning the lottery is short-lived because ‘you get used to it’.

He explains: “Let’s say you win $20 million on the lottery. The research shows that at the end of a year, they’re back to their baseline. Some are less happy.

“They might have bought a huge house, a big mansion, a new car. Some of them spent it away, not in good ways, they gambled away the money.

“But even if they did, at the end of three months, it’s just a house, it’s just a nice car. You get used to it.”

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Dr Chopra proceeds to explain that this process of getting used to what you have is called hedonic adaptation, which is when people return to a set level of happiness regardless of their circumstances being better or worse.

Everyone is bound to have felt this at one point in their life.

Maybe you have bought a new pair of trainers, which at the time you think of it as the nicest pair you have ever had.

However, after wearing it every day for the next two months, you will just consider it another pair of trainers and this is an example of hedonic adaptation.

Sanjiv Chopra
The professor explains why winning $20 million from the lottery won’t make you happy.Credit: TEDxTalks via YouTube

So if money is not the cause of all happiness, then what is?

Dr Chopra believes that there are four key components that are linked to happiness.

He says: “Your friends are your chosen family.

“Choose your friends wisely, and celebrate everything small or good with your friends.

“The second attribute of people who are happy is the ability to forgive… If any of you harbour a grudge, my plea to you – get rid of it.”

The third thing that Dr Chopra believes is a key to happiness is giving.

And the final key to a happy life is gratitude.

He adds: “If you don’t know the language of gratitude, you will never be on speaking terms with happiness.

“All the research has shown that if you express gratitude on a regular basis you will be happy, you will be more creative, you will be more fulfilled – you might even live 10 years longer.”

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a content editor at IGV who specialises in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.