Happy Life

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Last night, I watched Roko Belic’s documentary Happy on Netflix.  The subject of happiness remains in the front of my consciousness.  I’m fascinated by the topic.  What brings happiness to people?  What sustains happiness?  How does it manifest itself on a daily basis?  How does it inform our decisions in life?

Here is a statistic from a psychologist on the documentary:

50% of our happiness is pre-determined genetically.  This is our base level of happiness.  It’s embedded in our DNA, given to us by our parents and their parents, and so on.  When something traumatic happens, our level of happiness drops to the very base of this number.

10% of our happiness is circumstantial.  The car we drive, where we live, our job, how much money we have, & cetera directly influence our happiness.  This number struck me as extremely telling in how little the bulk of our wallets and the square footage of our house means.  This aligns with some life philosophies and runs counter to the American Way.

40% of our happiness is intentional activity.  That is, the actions we choose to do.  The person we choose to marry, having children, walking the dog, writing, playing volleyball, swimming are all choices we make that directly influence our happiness.

So, the ideal we purport to want more than anything else – happiness – is ultimately a personal decision.  There are factors out of our control.  And jobs can be onerous, marriage and bills can be stressful, but the bulk of our happiness is life is determined by us.

What makes you happy?  Please comment below.  I’ll start.

(You won’t regret clicking the Thich Nhat Hanh link below either)

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5 responses to “Happy Life”

  1. matthewmosgood says :

    What makes me happy? Eating dinner at home with my wife, (most of) my daily walks with my dog, starting a new book, a good day of writing, a day that’s rewarded with a glass of bourbon or a craft beer

  2. Chris says :

    Interesting topic! Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen likes to point out that, statistically, the correlation between money and happiness is very small and typically negative – once above the poverty line, that is. He has a very interesting book and lecture series about finding happiness called “How Will You Measure Your Life.” I highly recommend reading or YouTubing him.

    Here’s a very short list of what makes me happy: spending time with family and friends, learning something new, and experiencing interesting and innovative creative media: writing, music, art, film, etc.

    • matthewmosgood says :

      Nice response. Question: Do we have enough innovative people to continue making progress in the arts going forward? In a world where so much of education focuses on standardized testing and veers away from creativity, are there going to be any dissenters that continue to make innovative art?

  3. Keith Gormley says :

    Check out this video, and read his book if you like what he has to say.

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. A Happy Life or a Meaningful Life? | People-triggers - October 31, 2013

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