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CSE Intro AEI- Secret to happiness

by Joe Calhoun

Arthur Brooks' research reveals three things that bring happiness: genetics, big life events, and choices. A study shows that 48% of one’s happiness is genetic. Brooks says that since nearly half of our happiness is determined by DNA, then it is really important that we get the other half right in order to have happiness. The same study shows that 40% of one’s happiness comes from big life events, because humans are goal oriented. However, this change of happiness only lasts for about 6 months. For example, a study from 1978 shows that 6 months after quadriplegics’ accident, their happiness level has returned to almost the level it was prior to their accident; meanwhile, 6 months after lottery winners win the lottery, they have a happiness level that is lower than the day before they bought the ticket. The 12% of your happiness that is left is about the choices people make. There are four things that people can do in their choices that are what Brooks refers to as one’s “happiness portfolio”: faith, family, community, and work. A key choice is what kind of work one does. 89% of Americans are either satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs. This happiness and satisfaction through work is due to earned success: the belief that one is creating value with their life and value in the lives of other people. Brooks says that earned success is truly the key to happiness, through work. It doesn’t matter whether they have below or above average incomes, or what type of degree they have. What matters for determining happiness is whether the person believes that they have earned their success. Money doesn’t buy happiness. Earned success does.

CSE Intro AEI- Secret to happiness

Arthur Brooks describes how three main categories determine one’s happiness: genetics, big life events, and choices.

from Secret to happiness (2013)
Creator: Arthur Brooks/American Enterprise Institute
Posted by Joe Calhoun