Are you happy?

February 17, 2007

Before going about answering the question, like a good philosopher-with-nothing-much-to-do-on-friday-afternoon, let us disect and define “happiness”.Happiness could be event-specific, like graduating makes me happy, getting a high paying job makes me happy, running behind women makes me unhappy, but making them run behind me makes me happy, and so on..

Hence, by asking this simple question, what the questioner meant to ask was the sum of all these.. happiness of an event is “+1” state (or 1 haps, haps being the unit of happiness), unhappiness a “-1” state (-1 haps), and not having any feeling is “0” state (0 haps, for someone like me who has lost sensitivity). Point to note: max points for any given single event is +/-1.

This question was asked to several individuals all around the world, and the results are pretty interesting. The study can be found here and the results are here(pdf), and links were found via this. Now that I have cleared myself regarding the references, let us proceed. (This sounds like a cookery show, right? Now let us add some salt and heat it for 5 mins..)

The ranking of the twenty happiest countries is:

1) Denmark 2) Switzerland 3) Austria 4) Iceland 5) The Bahamas 6) Finland 7) Sweden 8. Bhutan 9) Brunei 10) Canada

Next 10 are: Ireland, Luxembourg, Costa Rica, Malta, The Netherlands, Antigua and Barbuda, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, The Seychelles.

Other notable players: USA (23), France (62), China (82) Japan (90), India (125) and Russia (167)

  • If we notice, this has nothing particular to do with money. Though they are pretty rich (by they, I mean the toppers) but the richest havent taken the top spots.
  • A country’s size seems to matter a bit (size does matter? though Canada is an exception here). We can conclude that it is easier to keep a smaller group happy than trying to get the 1billion+ poplulation happy (pretty obvious). With regards to India and Russia, this quote from the article sums it up: “..it is interesting to note that larger populations are not associated with happy countries..

So, money isnt THAT important, inspite of the fact that all of our lives seem to be driven by, revolving around and pre-occupied with money? The article says this about UK (ranked 41): “A recent BBC survey found that 81% of the (UK) population think the Government should focus on making us happier rather than wealthier“.

Japan is 3rd largest economy in the world (after USA and China, based on PPP) yet nose-dived to 90th posiiton in terms of happiness. Bhutan is much much happier with its minuscle economy yet strong Budhist+hinduism roots.. Peace loving countries like Switzerland and Canada are much happier, again, no surprise.. As the article goes on to say “Further analysis showed that a nation’s level of happiness was most closely associated with health levels, followed by wealth, and then provision of education.”

BTW, The three least happy countries were:

176. Democratic Republic of the Congo
177. Zimbabwe
178. Burundi

Now, keeping your nationality apart, how happy are you? An Indian living in US does not get a rank of (125+23)/2 (maybe is should be 125+23, hmmn and if you are/were stung by grad life, you might be too naive to even comprehend the concept of happiness, leave alone participating in the poll.. may we suggest Hell?)

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9 Responses to “Are you happy?”

  1. nidhee Says:

    Hi Pavan! I am in India and i am happy and no i am not in grad class. My happiness is u know who na…

    I had once written on happiness..maybe i shud re post it.

    Take care .

  2. Ramanan Says:

    There was once a study conducted in America… to find the ‘happiest man in the world’. Americans assumed he had to be in America. Anyway the guy they shortlisted was living in a 2 bedroom house (mortgaged), in the suburbs of Miami. Wife and 2 kids. He drove a Ford pick up.

    The article did nto list the ‘decision parameters’.. I woudl really like to find out what the decision mparameters for this study are.

  3. Sudhakar Says:

    LOL @ “running behind women makes me unhappy, but making them run behind me makes me happy”.

    It’s all relative. It’s all depends on how you see it. I don’t think it’s worth spending time on digging into that subject

  4. Srikanth Says:

    I am happy to find that there are so many people who are “less happier than me” πŸ™‚
    That would make me feel happy.

    I am happy to find that people are thinking about happiness of others and make surveys about happiness.
    That makes me feel happy.

    But we donot know if the person who did this survey was happy doing the survey πŸ™‚

    But Pavan ver2.5 is happier than Pavan ver(

  5. Srikanth Says:

    Feel Happy…
    Dont bother about results…

  6. Pavan Says:

    Nidhee: pass on that link you mentioned, should be a great read..

    Ramanan: wow, interesting.. I guess there werent any parameters per se, it was what the individual thought (if he was contended)

    Sudhakar: πŸ™‚ yes, I agree.. just that the results seemed to have challenged the prevailing assumption of rich==happy

    Srikanth: hehe, well said, that somehow escaped my evil brain

  7. sudhakar Says:

    This new template boring. Previous one was much better πŸ™‚

  8. Cinamon Says:

    Why did you change the template…. its depressing.

  9. nidhee Says:

    repoted. u can read the rant.


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