Watch for Happiness
Last night I had the pleasure of listening to Leo Bormans talk about happiness, and for those familiar with this blog you’ll know it’s an important theme in my work.
He’s recently edited a book called World Book of Happiness which has been sent to all world leaders by the EU president.
There are many things I could share from his talk but here’s the things that stuck me most.
He told a story about working with the board of a large company. They asked why should the commercial world bother with the fluffy world of happiness as happiness doesn’t really sell anything?
1) What is the name of the best selling meal in the world?
2) Why do all watches in watch adverts show the time at 10 past 10?
(answers on twitter @philparkerlp and below).
He also asked people to think of something that made them happy.
He then asked everyone how many of these categories it fitted into:
1) It didn’t cost much money
2) It was a surprise
3) It involved somebody else
4) It gave you positive feedback
The research suggests that 90% of people would choose a memory that contained at least two these elements.
And yet people spend so much time trying to get happier by getting more money or by trying to do things alone. Yet the research suggests that happiness is related to hanging out with other people and of course you will naturally need to involve somebody else if you want to be surprised or receive positive feedback!
The final thing I would like to share with you is capacity for optimism or pessimism and how intrinsically that is linked to our health and happiness. One definition is that pessimism is looking at the worst whilst optimism is looking at what’s possible, whilst writing this I saw an interesting photo which I think sums this up.
Either this is great fun and hilarious or it is a horrendous mess that needs to be cleaned up.
Both things are true: the question is which one is more useful for dealing with the situation?
Answers to the 2 earlier questions:
World’s best selling meals are, of course, ‘Happy Meals’.
Watches are set at 10 past 10 because it makes them look as if they are happy and smiling; smiles make people happy and happiness sells (watches with hands set at 8:20 look like a frown and so don’t sell so well).
Thanks for reading, do you have any suggestions for what you’d like me to cover in this weeks blogs or any questions? If so please leave a comment…
And check out my iTunes topping Essential NLP podcast. Practical skills for a great life.
About Phil Parker
Phil specialises in the psychology of health, happiness and genius.