Previous posts have discussed the comparative data among countries using measures of happiness or subjective well being. Sometimes, the fact that two different measures are used causes confusion. One measure, used by Martin Seligman to measure "authentic happiness" as described in his book, is the simpler of the two. It measures happiness by asking people how happy they are. A second measure also asks people how happy they are but adds a second dimension called satisfaction. That measure is called a subjective well being score and is used in the World Values Surveys done at the University of Michigan.
Using the second (subjective well being) measure, the following countries rank in the top five across the globe: 1. Nigeria 2. Mexico 3. Venezuela 4. El Salvador and 5. Puerto Rico. At first blush, it is obvious that these countries have something in common: they each have large numbers of relatively poor people, suggesting that money does not equate with happiness. The list brings to mind another truth, which is this: Happiness is a state of mind, and as such, people have complete control over it. If people make the best of their circumstances, they can create the conditions necessary for happiness. One wonders if there is a cultural characteristic about poverty that enables people to see the best in their circumstances, which in turn influences their sense of well being?
I have two friends, both professionals, who respectively are from Nigeria and Puerto Rico. They are both positive energy emoting people. That is, they bring good feelings to situations, in comparison with others who seem to work hard in the opposite direction. Each of these persons also share the trait of valuing things that make a difference in the longer term, while also taking care to make each moment a particular pleasure for themselves and others.
In future blogposts I will explore this notion further. As always, if you have observations about anything on this topic or others that pertains to doing life well, please share it with us!
DLW is an occasional blog about how people spend the time of their lives (every moment) to enable health, balance, meaning and fulfillment. As a blogspot about doing, it draws from personal stories and from studies of everyday living. It's main idea is that to be well, people must be involved fully in what they do. The activities that occupy our days help to connect us to the world, define who we are, and keep us healthy.
Great Links About What, How, Why, Where and How Often People Do Things
- Calculate your Life Expectancy
- O*Net - A terrific resource to get information about work related occupations
- Wisdom—A must see project of shared experience
- Brian R Little- About Personal Projects
- Authentic Happiness - Take the Work-Life Questionnaire
- wdydwdyd? (Why do you do what you do?)
- Calculate your weekly Time Use
- Bureau of Labor Statistics -American Time Use Survey
- ► February (7)
Interesting Books about Doing and Not Doing
- Bateson, Mary Catherine—Composing a Life
- Bruner, Jerome—Acts of Meaning: Four Lectures On Mind and Culture
- Christiansen, Charles & Townsend, Elizabeth—Introduction to Occupation: The Art and Science of Living
- Csíkszentmihályi, Mihaly— Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
- Diener, Ed, & Biswas-Diener, Robert—Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth.
- Edgell, Stephen—The Sociology of Work: Continuity and Change in Paid and Unpaid Work
- Gini, Al—The Importance of Being Lazy: In Praise of Play, Leisure and Vacations
- Kabat-Zinn, Jon—Whereever You Go, There You Are
- Little, Brian; Salmela-Aro, Katerina; and Phillips, Susan D. — Personal Projects Analysis: Goals, Actions and Human Flourishing
- Matuska, K & Christiansen, C. — Life Balance -Multidisciplinary Theories and Research
- McAdams, Dan P. —The Stories We Live By: Personal Myths and the Making of the Self
- Robinson, John & Godbey, Geoffrey — Time for Life: The Surprising Ways Americans Use Their Time
- Seligman, Martin—Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment
- Tolle, Eckhart—The Power of Now