Measuring Your Happiness: Is This Possible Or Otherwise?
Measuring Your Happiness: Is This Possible Or Otherwise?: One of the things that keep a human being alive and kicking is happiness. Without it, human beings are usually lost without any sense of responsibility and living. However, as sacrosanct as happiness is, it cannot be seen but can be felt which makes it subjective. Therefore, measuring something you cannot see seems to be quite confusing for many people. Now the question is, how do you determine if you have the right amount of happiness to live a fulfilling life? How do you reasonably measure happiness?
In order to measure the construct, it first has to be defined which is not an easy task. However, researchers have used measures of people’s subjective well-being (SWB) to capture their individual perspective. SWB can be separated into an effective and cognitive component. The latter is of greater importance to economists as it accounts for what people think about their life overall, whereas the effective part concentrates on one’s emotional feelings at the moment. There are various methods for capturing SWB, however, the easiest and most commonly used are large-scale surveys.
CHALLENGES WITH MEASURING HAPPINESS
Even though happiness measures could be well-suited supplements to GDP, there are still various challenges that need to be considered. Because of the different methods and data used, the results of happiness studies often vary considerably. The relationship between income and happiness is still unclear, as critics of Easterlin have tried to disprove his hypothesis based on different data (time series vs. cross-sectional data). Thus, it might be difficult to use the results for decision making. Another challenging point is that psychologists have developed a set-point theory of happiness which states that people’s happiness level stick to an inherent set-point. This is related to the principle of a hedonistic treadmill that describes the tendency of humans to return to a relatively stable level of happiness after occurred positive or negative life events. Yet, studies have shown that adaptation sometimes takes several years and for example in case of a serious illness could even last for a lifetime. Another challenge concerning happiness indicators is the lack of international comparability. As happiness is subjective and often relative, people in different parts of the world could have the same happiness scores, even though objective measures clearly state the opposite. Therefore, studies need to pay regard to cultural biases and results should always be compared to other objective measures such as life expectancy or per capital income.
LESSONS TO BE LEARNT FROM THIS
First of all, there are more important things than money. Who would have guessed that? Well, at least now we know that a higher paid job won’t make us any happier in the long-run. Therefore, we should look out for an occupation that satisfies our inner needs. Moreover, we should use our time more wisely in spending it with family and friends and things that we truly love.
The economics of happiness has shed light on the importance of including immaterial values into our measurement systems in order to fully capture the welfare of nations. In times of low GDP growth – which has become normal in most industrialized economies – it is essential to point out that massive growth is not necessary for a population to be satisfied with their lives.
As an entrepreneurs or business leader you should include happiness as a primary goal of your business. Not only from an ethical point of view but also in terms of your business results as studies have shown that happy workers are more productive. Employees who are satisfied with their job are more likely to put more effort into the work they do and show a much higher amount of loyalty to their company.
Nevertheless, happiness is and always will be subjective. This is why self-reflection is key for understanding your own conception of a happy life.
What makes your heart sing? Which activities do you enjoy most? Often this is not what society tells you. Make a list of things that make you happy and dedicate more time to them. It is often as easy as this to change our lives’ perspective to a brighter side.