There is a ton of information out there on the web and countless books telling us humans how to be happy. In the American Dream poll by CNN Money, respondent’s claimed happiness lied in income. That magic income for emotional well-being was between $50,000 and $74,999. Perhaps money can indeed buy happiness!
Surprisingly enough, the CNN Money poll supported a study conducted by Nobel Prize-winning Princeton psychologist Daniel Kahneman and economist Angus Deaton, in 2010. Their study concluded that $75,000 a year is the amount of money a person needs to be content.
If that is truly the case, then roughly two percent of Americans are happy. However, a recent Harris Poll concluded that 34 percent of Americans are very happy. Hmmm… that’s a 32 percent difference.
Happiness is NOT $75,000
If 34 percent of Americans are very happy and only two percent of them are making $75,000 a year, what’s making the other 32 percent happy?
In a TED Talks series on happiness, Malcolm Gladwell says, “… that in embracing the diversity of human beings, we will find a surer way to true happiness.” Breaking that down, he’s essentially saying happiness isn’t a one size fits all, what makes one person happy doesn’t necessarily make another feel the same.
What if Malcolm is wrong and happiness is a one size fits all? We already know that one size is not income. So what is it?
Happiness is a Warm Puppy
According to ASPCA.org, approximately 37-47% of all households in the United States have a dog. That percentage is pretty darn close to the results of the recent Harris Poll. Looks like Charles M. Schulz was on to something back in 1962 when he said, “Happiness is a warm puppy.”