4 comments

  • >Well, it's based on a survey of other people, so within the limits of the survey I suppose I have no choice.Do I think my family is the most important and work the least? No. What makes us happy is completely fluid and changes with time, owing to circumstance, which is sadly often negative.For example, I imagine your relationship matters more when it's nearing the rocks, or money when you're skint. My partner hates her job, it makes her unhappy; I imagine that should she take this survey, her job would be nowhere near the bottom of subjective factors which determine her happiness. You don't miss your water till your well runs dry, all that.Also, is it just me but is calling a survey 'factors influencing subjective happiness' and putting it in a big, objective pie chart in an article presumably complete with the article 'Love: the key to happiness' a little bit silly, to put it mildly?

  • >"Also, is it just me but is calling a survey 'factors influencing subjective happiness' and putting it in a big, objective pie chart in an article presumably complete with the article 'Love: the key to happiness' a little bit silly, to put it mildly?"That's why I posted it. I had to bring it up with someone, since the chart has been used by several sources as evidence of what ratios are important and what government should focus on. Don't get me wrong I think this subject is hugely useful and should be brought to the attention of far more people; the subject of happiness I mean. I tell everyone who'll listen to read the Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt. It's an easy read, well written and full of facts that I'm pretty sure will affect most readers.However it seems to me unlikely that the figures used in the chart are anything but an average, found out by adding up everyone's scores and working out the median. I completely agree with you that it depends on circumstance, and will change not only from person to person but also between different times.

  • >I will order that book on amazon, umless you want to lend it to me when i get back. Also, the point Ross raised about the well running dry could make the graph usel not as an indication of what makes us happy, but as an indication of the economy and/or other factors that are concerning/worrying us.I posed your question to my brother while i'm home and he raised a good point. There have been numerous surveys done that show one of the main reasons for divorce (over 50%) amongst couples is financial strain. Therefore, how can the 47% partner relationship stat be independant of the 7% financial situation stat ?Using this insight, i think the graph shows less about what makes people happy and more about what people think makes them happy.Personally I accept the 24% health stat, but think that people are answering incorrectly in attirbuting 47% to family. Orphans, singles, and wodpws, etc should according to this stat be close to 50% unhappier than those who are married or in other relationships.There have also been other studies that show that a certian amount of wealth does make you happier.And as for work fulfillment, if 2% was really true then being without work should have no self esteem effect on the unemployed, but this is contrary to what we know to be true.Therefore I conclude that this graph represents more accurately the worries and concerns of people rather than the things that actually make them happy. And further more, the people surveyed tend to be employed in gainful jobs and largely middle class.

  • >Probably best if you buy it to be honest. Mine's scribbled all over. I do that to all serious books. But I'm really glad you're going to read it. There's loads of ideas for debates in it too."Using this insight, i think the graph shows less about what makes people happy and more about what people think makes them happy." I completely agree. Mind you if I'm going to play devil's advocate most psychologists say that what people say they think is the best indication of what they really do feel in terms of collecting data. It's a point raised in the book in fact. People have tried many different ways of measuring happiness but the one still pretty much universally preferred is asking people "How happy are you on a scale of one to ten?" That persons' friends are then asked how happy they think the person is, and generally the friends tend to get around the same answer.I agree on the point about family too. It should say "close personal relationships". It's possible to be a lot happier having a close group of friends than having good family relationships. But if you don't have close friends or family then I think it's possibly fair to say you probably will be around 50% less happy."There have also been other studies that show that a certian amount of wealth does make you happier." This could actually fit into the graph. Money makes you happier, but only up to say 20,000 Euros/pounds. Thereafter every extra bit gives you proportionally less happiness.On the comment about work I think achievement is a large aspect of people's happiness. Work is merely one aspect of this. If someone asks an unemployed person what they do they tend to be slightly upset for they feel as if the world is looking down on them. But you could be happy still doing other things, assuming you have the money. For instance you could be very happy in retirement if you had some sort of regular opportunity to achieve things.So basically we all agree the graph is flawed. I'd also like to add one point about happiness in general. Some people talk abut a happiness "set point" and I think this needs a great deal more study. Happiness has largely stagnated throughout the West in the past 60 years. I often use that point as a political point. But what if it was a biological one instead? When people suffer a traumatic experience their happiness declines, and sometimes never returns to the original set point, but it does go back up. What if all the factors we're talking about only contribute around 5% of our happiness? Do you think it's possible that our level of happiness is predominantly genetic?

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