Sonja Lyubomirsky, professor of psychology at the University of California, and Marci Shimoff, a well-known transformational leader in the USA, presented in their books the results of research on the extent to which our level of happiness is genetically determined, how it depends on external conditions and to what extent it depends on ourselves.
These books are respectively:
The most important message of these books is extremely interesting. According to them, our level of feeling happy depends on:
50% from genetic conditions
40% of our intentional actions
in 10% of external conditions
Sonja writes in her book about the so-called "happiness set-point" we are born with.
It is an innate genetic trait that influences whether or not we are "naturally optimistic". This mechanism works in a similar way to the tendency to put on weight. Some people have no problem with it and, regardless of how much and what they eat, they are able to maintain an appropriate level of weight. Others, on the other hand, are constantly struggling with their excess weight, and their effort to keep their weight within the normal range is incomparably greater.
The conclusions of Sonja and Marci's books are supported by the results of numerous scientific studies. Sonja refers to them very precisely. They consisted, inter alia, of many years of observation of twins and the successive study of their happiness level. Others, in turn, checked the dependence on material status or personal relationships.
As for the vast majority of cases, the results are surprising.
For example, the level of happiness found among rich Americans (earning more than 1 million a year) was only slightly higher than that of those who were employed by these rich men, including workers.
Although marriage, in general, has a positive effect on "being happy", it turned out that its impact on personal happiness is relatively small: among people surveyed in 16 countries, 25% of people living in relationships and 21% of singles described themselves as "very happy" .
The key message can be read in different ways (which probably depends on our personal "happiness set-point")
On the one hand, UP TO 50% DOESN'T DEPEND ON US. On the other hand, ONLY 10% are external conditions and as much as 40% are our intentional actions.
How to use this 40%?
I encourage you to read these two books. They are, to a large extent, devoted to answering this very question. It would also be difficult for me to rewrite two several hundred-page bricks here.
However, below I will present the "How to?" proposed by Marci.
. . .
Marci writes in a very accessible way. And very inspiring. After all, he is an expert in the field of motivation. Her book also includes interviews with selected lucky people from all over the world. A total of 100 were conducted. The book itself was on the New Your Times bestseller list. Here is the 'How to' program she developed:
1. FOUNDATION - taking responsibility for your happiness
focus on finding a solution “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain”
search for lessons and gifts “Te best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. you do not blame them on your mother; the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny”
take care of your inner peace
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves”
2. MIND PILLAR - Don't believe everything you think
question your thoughts “There is only one cause of unhappiness; the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them”
go beyond the mind and let it go
“If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you will have complete peace”
turn your mind towards joy “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner”
3. PILLAR OF THE HEART - let love lead you
focus on gratitude “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was “Thank you,” that would suffice”
practice the art of forgiveness
“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness”
wish people well “Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves”
4. BODY PILLAR - take care of the well-being of your cells (especially the brain)
nourish your body
“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are”
energize your body “There is a vitality, a life-force, energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action… Keep the channel open”
tune in to the wisdom of your body “We will be in tune with our bodies only if we truly love and honor them. We can’t be in good communication with the enemy”
5. PILLAR OF THE SOUL - connect to a Higher Power
connect with your Soul “God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence … We need silence to be able to touch souls”
listen to your inner voice “To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude…because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions”
trust in Life revealing to ourselves “The winds of grace are always blowing, but you have to raise the sail”
6. ROOF - have an overriding goal in your life
discover your passion “When we learn to say a deep, passionate yes to the things that really matter, then peace begins to settle onto our lives like golden sunlight sifting to a forest floor”
get carried away by the moment
“When you follow your bliss…doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors; and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else”
contribute to something greater than yourself “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve”
7. GARDEN - take care of relationships with people
pay attention to who you are with “You became the average of the five people you associate with most”
get the support of others “You have to do it by yourself, and you can’t do it alone”
see the world as your family “Human beings are more alike than we are unlike… Try to spread your giving of yourself…to people who may not even look like you. You belong to everybody, and everybody belongs to you”
. . .
I think the Marci Program has a lot of valuable tips. Maybe you would like to talk about it? If so, please write to me! We will arrange an interview. It doesn't have to be coaching right away. Just a conversation (and isn't that what point 7 above talks about?) 🙂🙋