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The Pursuit of Happiness - Secret to Happiness

Updated on January 14, 2018
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Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Jack has worked at IBM for over 28 years.

Introduction

I came across this video by Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. It was a 20 minute presentation on the secret to happiness. It was very entertaining and educational. The stats he provided were well researched by prominent experts in the various fields. I thought I summarize some key points of his presentation.

- Jan. 2018

Background

What are the key components to happiness? As it turned out, it is 48% based on genetics. This research was done on identical twins separated at birth and adopted by different parents. After years of separation and different life experiences, their state of happiness was 48% correlated to their genetic makeup. Some people are just predisposed to being happy or not.

Another 40% is due to big life events such as graduation, getting married, having kids, getting a promotion at work...

The final 12% is something you have control over and that is life choices, The decisions one make whether to go to college, or pursuit a dream...can bring us happiness.

What Are The Four Main Parts?

If you poll most people about what elements make them happy, it boils down to four big areas. They are Faith, Family, Community, and Work.

Faith is the believe in a higher power who can shoulder our burdens in this life and gives us something to look forward to in the afterlife.

Family goes without saying. We are all connected to our family by blood or relations. Being close to family in good times and bad is our support system. Everything we work for or save or plan is to help the next generation be better and happier.

Community is a general term that covers charity and doing things to help your neighbors and your associates. It is a fact the giving is better than receiving. When we give our money and time to some charity, we feel good about ourselves.

Finally, work brings happiness. The joy of doing something, making a difference, being needed by someone, receiving rewards like money and recognition all are part of the work element. We are defined by our jobs. Most people, about 80% are happy about their jobs. They may complain about being too busy and frustrated with coworkers or their bosses but most of the time, people like their jobs. They are doing something they are trained for, they are good at it and they get satisfaction at the end of the day for a job well done.

Summary

The Declaration of Independence, contains the following -

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...

Our founders recognized all four elements that makes men and women happy.

A faith in God who gives us our rights.

Our family who are the most important people in our lives.

Our community who we belong and help each other towards a common goal.

Our freedom to pursuit our dreams and aspirations will bring us happiness.

© 2018 Jack Lee

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