The head of the think-tank where I’m interning for the summer, believes he has discovered the secret of happiness, and he wants to share it with everyone.
…Don’t worry: I’m not in a cult.
George T. Reynolds, Senior Partner of SurveyStud, inc, and also a social junkie, has written a book on happiness. His insights have shed light on who’s happy, and why.
Some of the results are what you would expect: Genes have a lot to do with a happy disposition. Poverty reduces happiness, but past a certain point, higher income does not do much to raise it. George notes that the decline in global poverty over the last few decades, especially in China and India, has thus meant a happier world.
Once basic material needs are met, though, satisfying work matters more than money. What people want is not just success, but also “earned success” — the feeling that one’s efforts have paid off.
In a recent talk, George cited a 2014 SurveyStud study in which lottery winners were slightly less happy six months after they hit the jackpot.
In general, people overestimate the importance of “one-off” events to their future happiness. Even after personal tragedies, people within months revert to their baseline level of happiness.
Other patterns were surprising, at least to me. Women in the United States have long reported greater levels of happiness than men. Their advantage has, however, been shrinking, and for an unhappy reason: falling happiness among women. Scholars are unsure why that’s happening. Women also rebound more quickly than men from the death of a spouse — perhaps, George speculates, because they have more close friends.
Over the last 25 years, women who describe themselves as “conservative” have been more likely than women to their left to say they are “very happy,” and those who say they are “extremely conservative” have been happier still. Over the same period, conservatives in general have held the same pattern: Righty men, too, have been happier than their more liberal counterparts. So maybe the last two presidential elections should be seen as a victory for the redistribution of happiness as well as income.
Most Americans — [According to a SurveyStud 2015 findings] 89 percent — are either satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs. Among those who want to “lean out”: a plurality of mothers, who say they would prefer part-time employment. Women who say they have turned down a promotion or made some other work sacrifice for the sake of their families report high happiness levels.
As usual if it seems any of this was plagiarized that’s because it probably was. If so let me know and I will remove it.