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The 40% that is all yours

You would think that the external factors have everything to do with your happiness (especially nowadays!).  But did you know that each of us is responsible for 40% of our own happiness?  And I don’t mean those bursts of spontaneous short-lived happiness-es, but rather the permanent kind, the one that colors your entire life (well, not purple necessarily..)  I din’t think so either.

I just read an article, published on Linkedin, written by Dr. Travis Bradberry, co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0., that talks about a recent research on happiness at the University of California. In this new study, the scientists have crystallized for us the way our habits in particular shape our feeling of wellbeing, yes, longterm happiness.  Turns out, the key to making a change is repositioning what Sonya Lybomirsky of the Riverside campus of CalU calls our “set point”.

“When extremely positive or negative events happen—such as buying a bigger house or losing a job—they temporarily increase or decrease our happiness, but we eventually drift back to our set point.

The breakthrough in Dr. Lyubomirsky’s research is that you can make yourself happier—permanently. Lyubomirsky and others have found that our genetic set point is responsible for only about 50% of our happiness, life circumstances affect about 10%, and a whopping 40% is completely up to us. The large portion of your happiness that you control is determined by your habits, attitude, and outlook on life.”

I have noticed, as I get older, that a lot of negative feelings that can pull me down, are actually pretty easily kept in check.

Take isolation.  Have you ever been home alone, sick, with no one to cheer you up?  Or have you ever moved to a new city, or a new country even, without knowing anyone, or the local language? Remember how lousy that felt, after the “honeymoon” phase of new discovery had worn out?  And how, after you met new people, learned the language, called a dear friend far away, you felt connected, needed, relevant again?…

You can’s start seeing the world in a new light overnight.  But you can, with some effort, tinker with the old habits that are of no use.  Ever forget to brush your teeth?  You stopped forgetting it long time ago.  Today is then as good a day as any to let go of habits that are no good. California tells us, these are some of them:

  • complaining
  • needing to impress others
  • criticizing
  • blaming
  • living in the past or the future rather than focusing on today
  • isolating yourself
  • surrounding yourself with negative people
  • taking things for granted (ok, I added it!)
  • controlling

There’s another one that is more tricky: immunity to awe.  I bet there is a cure for it out there, somewhere.  If looking at a tree leaf against the light, or being reminded by Louis C.K. about us partaking in the miracle of flying in the air, sitting in a chair, in the sky, doesn’t do it for you, then consider these wise words of the philosopher Jacob Needleman:  “Come on, it’s a miracle that we’re sitting here talking! I mean, people take it for granted. Everything that exists is a bloody miracle! How the hell is that flower doing that? “Oh, yes. I know. The genes and so on.” Yes, we can explain a lot about the world, but the world itself is a mystery. And when something is really discovered, it doesn’t cover this over. It’s a revelation, but then it’s forgotten that it was a revelation of something deeper. The miracle I’m used to is no longer a miracle.”

For full article click HERE