Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A feeling of well-being

I live in India, a country with a vast gap between rich and poor.  In fact just a stone's throw from my apartment block is a village (sometimes referred to as a slum) where huge numbers of people are obviously very poor.  One thing I've been amazed to discover there is that people who live in poverty or challenging environments are just as likely to report high levels of happiness that differ little from those living in affluent surroundings.  Apparently, of all the factors that contribute to our happiness, our personal circumstances (health, wealth and status) only contribute about 10% to our feeling of well-being.  So what is the major factor determining happiness?

Recently I did a Strengths Finder survey from the Gallup Organization.  Other surveys they have done including health, wealth, relationships, jobs, communities and so on among more than 150 countries have shown the following factors are essential to happiness:

  • Career - liking what you do every day
  • Social - strong relationships and love in your life
  • Financial - managing your economic life
  • Physical - health and energy
  • Community - engagement with where you live
Now here is the interesting fact:  Gallup has found that 66% of respondents are doing well in at least one of these areas, yet only 7% are doing well in all five.  While Gallup concludes that deep happiness and well-being results from a balance across each of these areas, the most important factor of the five is career.  Apparently only 20% of respondents when asked "Do you like what you do every day?" respond positively!  The study shows that if you do not enjoy what you do every day, that your chances of feeling happy in the other four areas also declines.  People who are happy in their career are more than twice as likely to feel happy in their lives overall.  

There's some good news here though.  40% of what affects your level of happiness is what you choose to do and how you choose to think and feel.  Attitude can be everything!

Statistics taken from Finding your Element by Sir Ken Robinson
Photo taken by my daughter Rachel

No comments:

Post a Comment