The Pursuit of Happpiness is a hot topic these days. Everywhere you turn there's a new book, magazine articles, reviews, TV series -- and goshdarnit, I'm watching/reading them all. And so, to share the wealth -- Here's a brief encapsulation on some Happiness Basics: A Cosmo Quiz! Ready? ... just five small questions. Go!
1. What is considered to give us the most overall happiness?
A. Alone time
B. Relationships & connections
C. Having children
D. A giant, quasi-deserved tax refund
2. People feel happier when talking about:
A. How much sugar to add to their baked muffins.
B. Their children
C. The meaning of life
D. How their arch rival in high school who also stole their boy/girlfriend was recently left by their spouse and declared bankrupcy.
3. True or false: Happiness is something that should come easily, like -- get Zen baby, it will come.
True. Take a chill pill and rip up your To Do list.
False. You gotta make a little effort in this life, babe!
4. True or false: Money can buy happiness.
A. True. The wealthiest people in the world are actually much happier than studies admit.
B. False. Money actually leads to despair and emptiness.
C. A combo of A and B.
5. Humans are generally great predictors of what will make them happy.
A. Hell yeah! True as these blonde roots.
B. No way. We suck at it. False false false.
***** Answers below******
1. B) Relationships and connections are the motherlode of our happiness, according to the PBS documentary This Emotional Life. We're made to connect to and love one another. Neat, eh?
2. C) According to this NYTimes article, deep conversation is more happy-making than shallow small-talk b.s. stuff. Hooray!
3. False. It takes more effort to be happy and optimistic than to sink into sulkiness and melancholy, something Gretchen Rubin wonderfully points out in her book, The Happiness Project. Anything good in life takes effort: relationships, good health, work, creative projects, raising your kids, staying interested in your life. Make the effort to clean out your closet, give your loved-one a kiss instead of a sharp word, say something positive in a conversation, give yourself a high five for a job well done instead of focusing on what wasn' t done. Smile even when you don't feel like it. Happiness is made up of a series of small, meaningful efforts.
4. C). For someone who doesn't have enough money to pay their bills, buy food and put a roof over their head, money buys happiness at a basic survival level. But once the basic needs are met, the amount of happiness money adds to a life is almost inconsequential. Daniel Pink addresses money matters in his latest book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Even in business, money doesn't really motivate people over time. However, money does matter in the initial stages of getting someone to say Yes to the job.
b. False. Human beings have a pretty terrible track record at predicting what will make them happy -- and what will make them miserable, as well. The upside: we're adaptable. Upside No. 2: Now that we know this, and we arrive at that surprisingly unhappy place, instead of staying there and forcing it to work (a job, a relationship, a book, a project), why don't we readjust and go to plan B before it's too late and know it's part of our human nature instead of a personal shortcoming and get on with it, already!