Is True Happiness Free Ep 722

A scene showing people enjoying music, a walk, and relaxation in a park. Discover joy beyond wealth through English.

📝 Author: Hilary

📅 Published:

💬 3325 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 17 min

📥 Download MP3 & PDF 12.6 Mb ▪️ 👓 Read Transcript ▪️ 🎧 Listen to Lesson

English Speaking Practice: Less Money, More Happy?

It's all about happiness without money in today's English lesson! 📚 Dive into a vibrant lesson that's more than words—it's a journey to joy. Learn complex words in simple contexts. Improve English listening and speaking skills. Join a community focused on real English use.

  • Tutorial Magic: From beginner bliss to advanced euphoria.
  • Lifestyle Insights: Discover why wealth doesn't spell happiness.
  • Vocabulary & Conversation: Speak fluently, live fully.
  • Nature & Socializing: Embrace lessons beyond the classroom.

✔Lesson transcript:

Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.
⭐ Dalai Lama

Engaging with this lesson, you will walk into the heart of the English language through topics that resonate universally. You're not just learning words; you're exploring ideas that matter deeply, like happiness beyond wealth.

This approach enriches your vocabulary with abstract nouns, making them memorable by connecting them to your own experiences and emotions. It's a powerful way to learn, embedding language in your mind through subjects that stir the soul.

Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.
⭐ John Lennon

Enhance your English skills while uncovering the power of life's simple joys. #SimpleJoysLearning invites you to rethink satisfaction and happiness. 📚🍃 Join us! Transform your English and life perspective. #AdeptEnglish #SpeakFluently #LiveJoyfully

More About This Lesson

Join us as we explore how simple joys can make life more satisfying, challenge the idea that wealth brings happiness, and improve your English with abstract nouns. Discover the beauty of happiness beyond riches.

I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.
⭐ Diane Ackerman
  1. Practice with abstract nouns - You learn and remember difficult words in real contexts.
  2. Cultural insights - Gain understanding of happiness across different societies.
  3. Listening skills - Improve by listening to varied English accents and pronunciations.
  4. Vocabulary expansion - Learn new words related to life satisfaction and happiness.
  5. Grammar in use - See how complex ideas are structured in English sentences.
  6. Critical thinking - Reflect on the relationship between wealth and happiness.
  7. Real-life application - Connect English learning with your personal experiences.
  8. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs - Learn psychological concepts in English.
  9. Social and nature's role in happiness - Explore how socializing and nature contribute to satisfaction.
  10. Global perspective - Understand happiness in different cultural and economic contexts.
Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness.
⭐ Frank Tyger

Benefits of our listen & learn approach to learning

Engaging with this lesson will not only help you enhance your English vocabulary but also offer you a fresh perspective on happiness. You'll learn about:

  • The paradox of choice and how having too many options can affect our satisfaction.
  • The importance of gratitude in increasing our happiness levels.
  • How community involvement can lead to a more fulfilling life.

Don't miss this unique opportunity to boost your English skills while exploring what truly makes life worth living. Follow and subscribe to Adept English for more insightful lessons that combine language learning with meaningful life themes. Let's embark on this journey together!

Frequently Asked Questions about Learning British English and Happiness

Unearth the joy of life's simple treasures, as potent as a gardener discovering vibrant blooms in an unassuming patch of earth, and elevate your English with the subtle art of abstract nouns.

  1. How can learning about simple joys improve my English and life satisfaction?
    Learning about simple joys through English lessons helps you understand abstract nouns in context, making them easier to remember. This approach enhances your language skills and introduces you to the idea that happiness isn't solely tied to wealth. As you learn, you'll discover how social interactions, nature, and appreciating the little things can significantly contribute to life satisfaction.
  2. Why is it important to learn abstract nouns in English?
    Abstract nouns represent concepts like happiness, satisfaction, and joy, which are crucial for expressing feelings and experiences. Learning these in context, such as discussing life satisfaction, enriches your vocabulary and improves your ability to express complex ideas fluently in English.
  3. Can wealth guarantee happiness, according to the English lesson?
    No, the lesson challenges the notion that wealth equals happiness. It references a study showing people in small-scale societies with lower incomes report life satisfaction levels comparable to those in wealthy countries. This suggests that happiness is more closely tied to simple joys and social connections than to monetary wealth.
  4. How does social interaction contribute to happiness?
    Social interaction plays a significant role in driving life satisfaction by providing a sense of belonging, support, and joy. Engaging with family, friends, and community can offer emotional fulfilment that material wealth cannot match, highlighting the importance of relationships over possessions.
  5. What lessons can we learn from small-scale communities about happiness?
    Small-scale communities teach us that satisfaction often comes from non-material sources, such as spending time in nature, engaging in social activities, and living a life aligned with one's values and community. These insights challenge us to reevaluate our priorities and find happiness in the simple aspects of life, beyond the pursuit of wealth.

Most Unusual Words:

  • SATISFACTION: Feeling happy or pleased when you get what you want or need.
  • MONETISED: Making money from something.
  • SUBSISTENCE: Living with just enough food or money to stay alive.
  • TRAUMATISED: Being very upset or shocked because of a bad experience.
  • ENVY: Wanting what someone else has.
  • INTIMACY: Being very close and personal with someone.
  • SPONTANEITY: Doing things suddenly without planning because you want to.
  • MORALITY: Ideas about what is right and wrong.
  • SELF-ACTUALISATION: Being the best version of yourself, including your creativity and beliefs.
  • HIERARCHY: A system where things or people are ranked one above the other.

Most Frequently Used Words:


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Transcript: Is True Happiness Free

Simple Pleasures: The Key to Satisfaction

Hi there. Today I’m asking ‘What makes us happy?’ Big question. We all want to understand this - today let’s learn how life's simple pleasures contribute to our satisfaction with life and challenge the notion that ‘wealth equals happiness’. An article recently caught my eye. Let’s use this to help you practise your English language - in particular today I’ll cover quite a lot of those difficult ‘abstract nouns’. They’re easier to learn and remember if you meet them in context, so let’s talk about something that matters to us all and which needs abstract nouns to describe it!

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

The article headline I saw said ‘In a recent study, researchers surveyed 3,000 people living in poor, small-scale societies about their life satisfaction.’ ‘Satisfaction’ is a noun, SATISFACTION and a measure of ‘how satisfied we are, how happy we are’, here with ‘life in general. And this research found that these people's life satisfaction is on a level with those who live in the wealthiest countries. It says ‘Simple joys such as social interaction and nature play a big role in driving life satisfaction’ in what it calls these ‘small-scale communities’. And the article suggests that one reason is that these societies are not heavily ‘monetised’, MONETISED - meaning that ‘money’ is not a huge driver or a huge part of life in these communities. Very different from our western world then!


A farm scene showing self-sufficiency through agriculture and fishing. Improve English listening and speaking skills.

©️ Adept English 2024

Are the happiest people living with less than $1,000 a year?

As part of a bigger climate change research project, the researchers looked at a number of small communities across the world. They visited Kumbungu in Ghana, Laprak in Nepal, Vavatenina in Madagascar, and Lonquimay in Chilé, and many other remote places too. Apologies for any mispronunciations there. The people living in these areas had a happiness rating of ‘6.8 out of 10’, despite annual income of less that $1,000 per year! Certainly not rich then. The article talks about the Melanesian people living in the Roviana and Gizo regions of the Solomon Islands who are some of the poorest people in the world, but also some of the happiest. They live a ‘subsistence’ lifestyle, fulfilling their needs by fishing and farming. ‘Subsistence’, SUBSISTENCE means that you grow, farm or catch your food yourself - you aren’t buying from the supermarket and you have just about enough to live on! The description of the Melanesian people continues ‘Occasionally, they sell their goods at a local marketplace to buy other types of foods or pay their children’s school tuition fees.

The luxuries of modern life — smartphones, the internet, TV, memory-foam mattresses — are hard to find. But despite this materially simple existence, the Melanesians express higher life satisfaction than residents of Finland and Denmark, who are statistically seen as some of the happiest people in the world’. That’s interesting in its own right, as they’re living in or near the arctic circle. Perhaps that’s another podcast perhaps - why are the Finns and the Danes so happy?!

Rich countries aren't happier, why?

And there’s other research which suggests there isn’t a direct relationship between happiness and wealth. People who live in the richer countries in the world, are not necessarily happier. You may be aware of this idea already and in fact, I think you can even find data that indicates that the wealthier the country, the more dissatisfied people are. This can be difficult to believe if you come from a country that isn’t wealthy. If you live in really difficult conditions, extreme poverty say, then it’s unlikely that you’re happy.

If you know terrible insecurity, you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, or you’re living with danger all around, those aren’t circumstances in which it’s possible to be happy. Traumatised and hungry, fearing for your life does not go with a satisfied life. People in wealthy countries objectively have a better life, but perhaps it’s part of human nature, to just attach our dissatisfaction to something different! I meet rich people sometimes in my work as a psychotherapist. I’m sure they’re not any happier than the ones with less money. But then of course, I’m meeting the rich people who come for therapy!

Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it helps!

There are valid viewpoints in the middle here too. There’s the saying ‘Money doesn’t buy you happiness’. My mother used to say `Money doesn’t buy you happiness, but it helps’. She was known for her ‘sayings’ and her wisdom. My mother never experienced having very much money in her life. What she meant by ‘Money can’t buy you happiness, but it helps’ is that gold rings and fancy cars and big houses ultimately aren’t what matters for happiness. She meant instead that money can ‘solve some of life’s problems’. Money can open doors to opportunity, like education or travel. And money can provide security - for example in old age. Old age can be very different dependent upon how much money you have. So money does have some importance - but it’s more how you use it that matters. I think that’s wise!

So what does make people happy? And given what I just said, why aren’t people in wealthy countries more happy?

Changes at Adept English - and ‘Take the Red Pill’ for your language learning!

Before I do that - some changes in the way Adept English does things. From now on, our Thursday audio podcast is going to be on YouTube podcasts. And of course you can find it in all the other usual places, like Spotify and Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen. As ever, the full transcript and links are available on our website. The Monday podcast will continue to be video on YouTube as usual. Also don’t forget to sign up for the Adept English free course - The Seven Rules of Adept Englishh. Effectively by doing that, you’re ‘taking the red pill’ on language learning. The advice this course gives you? Well, you’ll wish you’d know it much earlier! But once you’ve done the Seven Rules of Adept English, you will know it - and your language learning will benefit. All on our website at

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Looking at human needs - Maslow’s Hierarchy

So I think in examining happiness, a good starting point is Abraham Maslow’s model - the Hierarchy of Needs,. This is a well-known model that you may have come across before - it’s ‘Maslow’, MASLOW. I mentioned it in the podcast 603 that I made on ‘Hobbies’ and why they’re so important to us. The bottom level needs in Maslow’s Hierarchy are the essential things. They need to be taken care of in order for us to be happy. So in that model, that bottom level of needs are things like to be able to breathe clean air, to have food, water clothing, shelter and someone safe to sleep. In certain areas in the world, you may not have these basic conditions - and life can be truly horrible, as a result.

Beyond that level in Maslow’s hierarchy come health, employment, property, family and social ability. So it’s hard to be happy if you’re worried about your health, your source of income, your employment. Some job security is necessary and basic healthcare. And if you’re particularly worried about your health, that’s going to interfere with your sense of satisfaction in life. Having family - family aren’t a great source of happiness for everyone. Some people find themselves better off without their family - their ‘family of origin’, at least. But if you have a happy family, whether that means the family that you’re borne into, or the family that you yourself have created, then this can be both a source of happiness, but also set the scene for greater satisfaction in life, particularly later on. And if you don’t have family, all is not lost. Happy people who aren’t close to their families, usually have social connections of different types. So they have meaningful friendships and associations with other people instead.

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The next level above this in Maslow’s Hierarchy - he calls in ‘Love and Belonging’. The word ‘family’ appears again here, but also intimacy, attached and affectionate relationships. The word ‘intimacy’, INTIMACY means ‘being close’. It can mean sexually, but also it can mean just ‘close, in tune with someone’, like a friend. So if you want to be happy, then you have to have some positives in your life in these areas.

’Nice to haves’ in Maslow’s Hierarchy

You might argue that the higher levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy are more ‘nice to haves’ in life, meaning that they’re not necessarily essential for life satisfaction, but they help. These levels are ‘self-esteem’ - that’s confidence, sense of achievement and the feeling that you have the respect of others. The top level in Maslow’s Hierarchy is variously labelled - ‘Self-Actualisation’ - contains morality, creativity, spontaneity, spirituality, feeling part of something bigger. Let’s unpack that vocabulary. ‘Morality’, MORALITY means ‘your sense of right and wrong’, ‘spontaneity’, SPONTANEITY means ‘that enjoyment when you do things immediately, without planning’, ‘on the spur of the moment[. And ‘spirituality’, SPIRITUALITY means ‘attending to your spirit, your soul’. Now I’m aware that Abraham Maslow was American, so of course, this hierarchy probably reflects the normal, usual view in Western society. And if you come from another culture, the order may be a little different here. Perhaps attending to and looking after your ‘spiritual side’ is something that we rather ignore in the west sometimes and something which is a little more part of Eastern cultures. I’m generalising here, but there there may be some truth in that statement.

Given all of this, what is it in societies which have a ‘big happiness rating’ that makes the difference, especially when it seems to be completely independent of wealth, of money? As I’ve said, we’re not talking here about people who don’t have their basic needs met, and yet under $1,000 a year in income? They have something that satisfies them in their lives that often much wealthier people in much richer countries just don’t have.

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Socializing beats smartphones for life satisfaction

Researchers found that the people they studied get a great deal of satisfaction from the simple things in life, like music, going for a walk, or simply relaxing. Friends and family and socialising also bring them joy. And spending time in nature is important in these non-monetised communities. I think another factor - when everyone has a similar amount of wealth, when nobody you know is wealthier or ‘has any more than anybody else’, there is less of the envy, that’s ENVY and competition that comes with money in wealthier societies.


I think there’s much to learn here - let us know what you think! And thankyou for joining me today. Stay tuned to the Adept English podcast and remember to enjoy the simple things in life!

Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at



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