How to Control Your Money in a Happier Way?
We all know that money is closely related to our daily life and career, but not all of us can perceive the human nature hidden behind money. There is a famous line in La Traviata, “Money is a good servant but a bad master.”
For business executives at the height of their career journey, how can they "control" money while maintaining a sense of happiness?
Recently, at the live forum of emlyon Global DBA and Intake 2021Program Workshop, Prof. Zhou Xinyue from Zhejiang University, also the author of the best-selling book, Money Psychology Around, and Supervisor of emlyon Global DBA Program, delivered a keynote speech, discussed the human nature and emotions behind money and wealth with the business leaders present and shared the best practices of "controlling" money.
Keynote speech: How to spend money and create ongoing happiness?
Prof. Zhou started with an essential insight into the impact of money, that is, money not only serves as a means of exchange, but also has complicated and symbolic implications, tagging people with either negative or positive emotions. 80% of happy stories in the world have nothing to do with money, but 80% of sad stories do involve money.
Next, based on four marketing strategies and case studies, Prof. Zhou explored the common mindsets of most consumers when spending money, such as the sense of acquisition, the admiration for strength, and the eager for what we cannot get. Through psychological analysis, she came to the conclusion that "the level of spending money determines the level of life".
She pointed out that in order to improve one’s level of life and accomplish greater happiness, it is important to spend money on more meaningful and valuable things. Through the mirror of money, you can clearly see your aspirations, which is what a high-worth individual should do.
Prof. Zhou attributed the behaviors of spending with lasting happiness to three reasons:
- It is to spend money on time instead of spending time on money, which is especially important for business executives, because time is a scarce resource and shall be used to solve more significant issues instead of repeating the routines of ordinary staff.
- It is to spend money on others. For average people, it helps to shift the psychological focus from self to others, which is conducive to the creation of better social relations. But for executives, spending money on others has deeper implications, which means taking on more social responsibilities and will greatly enhance the happiness brought about by business growth and career success.
- It is to spend money on experience rather than goods. Experience is our life journeys. The happiness brought by physical products will weaken with the diminishing novelty, while experience transforms into stories, lessons and insights that will remain for a long time. Many business leaders are eager to spend a huge sum of money to have lunch with Warren Buffett. Beyond gourmet, they focus on listening closely to the knowledge and lessons of this investment guru.
In Prof. Zhou's view, spending money is not only learned, but also reflects a person's needs and level of life. As premium talents, business executives need to realize self-investment through money, face a broader vision and make a happier and fuller life over time.
In addition to the status of senior executives, the choice of further study is exactly such a thing that is worth pursuing and investment. emlyon Global DBA Program aims to foster scientist-practitioners by combining academic and educational rigidity with best business practices. The participants will travel across the world for cutting-edge business knowledge, strengthen their diverse problem-solving and critical thinking, and focus on solving the key concerns in their industries or organizations on the basis of their veteran experience, thus creating authentic industry influence and value.
Panel discussion: Upgrade your happiness by understanding your needs and wants through money
After the keynote speech, Prof. Zhou hosted a panel discussion with Prof. Chen Junsong, Assistant President of emlyon business school Asia Campus and Director of emlyon Global Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) Program (Asia Track), and Mr. Wu Chen, Executive Editor-in-Chief of The Economist Global Business Review.
Three panelists shared their views on the relationship between money and happiness. Prof. Chen stated that money anxiety is a source of "middle class anxiety" in today's society, mainly because Chinese culture encourages social comparison. If one's attention in life is focused on one thing, the sense of happiness will change accordingly.
Prof. Zhou agreed with this opinion. She commented that social comparison is the source of unhappiness, and money is the most easily compared indicator. However, money also represents emotions, positive or negative. Therefore, people who know their psychological needs through money are more likely to upgrade their happiness.
Mr. Wu presented his views on how the current product of money evolution, that is, digital currency, will influence the society. He mentioned that the issuance of digital currency will make daily payments and transactions more convenient, help businesses to collect and analyze big data, and drive the faster flow of money. However, there are also certain risks, including privacy and security issues. Most importantly, digital currency is designed by people and we are still waiting to see whether this design can meet all of our needs.
When cutting-edge technologies are constantly changing the image of the world and fast-paced life is closely linked to increasing desires, money can no longer equate with "happiness". This lecture reviewed the essence of money and the source of happiness from the perspectives of psychology and sociology, providing modern enlightenment on the concept of money for business executives present, guiding them to treat wealth more rationally and to truly reap inside enrichment and beautiful life.