Don’t Worry — Be Happy

The global happiness index is fake

I am always interested to see and learn what other folks in the real estate investing community have to say and what they share.

One of these folks I respect a lot is Keith Weinhold. One thing I learned from him and apply to our own newsletter is the feature where he gives links to some interesting articles that have come out recently.

In the last newsletter, he posted a link to the Global Happiness index 2021.

I looked at the articles and the more I looked at them the angrier I got. Take a look:

Can you imagine why I did not feel happy about this?

After looking at the map for a little while and scrolling around, I wondered how they actually determined the numbers for each country. Here is what I found:

How is Happiness Measured?

First, let’s look at the factors used to calculate world happiness levels. Some clear indicators are health and wealth, both metrics that have been steadily on the rise worldwide. The report takes these factors into account, weighting GDP per capita and life expectancy at birth into the scores.

The report also looks at more intangible aspects, collecting survey responses around:

  • Social support
  • Freedom to make life choices
  • Generosity
  • Perceptions of government/ business corruption
  • Positive or negative affects (Recent experience of emotions)

This year, there was a natural focus on the negative effect measure of the COVID-19 pandemic on happiness levels, such as exacerbating mental health risks. In addition, such measurements varied depending on each country’s response to the crisis.

As I dug deeper, it is pretty obvious that a lot of the things used here to determine the numbers are not really related to people.

It motivated me to research a little further. I am happy to report that there are better measures and all of them are related to people and emotions, not the question of how much we like our government to how much money as per capita income we make.

The list below is a combination of the research I found at and their psychologists as well as Erin Brodwin from Business Insider who wrote about a study in March 2019.

· Family and relationships

· Meaningful work

· Positive Thinking

· Gratitude

· Forgiveness

· Giving to others

· Religion

· Personal Freedom

· Good Health

· Watching TV ????

· Meditation

· Spending time in Nature

· Being in awe of something — (for me a rocket launch or space stuff, but could be anything that triggers that emotion for you)

· Reading (especially good adventure stories)

· Events like music, festivals, etc. with others

· Reaching challenging goals you set for yourself

· Volunteering

· Smiling

· Intimacy

· Digging in the dirt and grow something.

· Exercise (and how you feel afterward)

· Mastering a skill

As you can see, these are all criteria that involve a human-centered view and emotions.

Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

As we emerge out of the pandemic and create the new normal, I encourage you to determine what makes you happy and then do as much of that as possible.

One of the entries in the list above is the achievement of goals. I am looking forward to getting a few more properties in my portfolio in the next 9–12 months and help others to do the same.

Whatever your goal is and what makes you happy, celebrate it, wherever you are. The scores from the index are pretty meaningless and rather trigger those who believe that you need to be in a certain location to be happy. That is totally untrue.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

If you like to take the idea from the picture above and make someone you know happy, consider creating a tribute video. I just did that this week and I hope it makes my friend happy. What I can already tell you is that I am very happy I did it because it made me happy.

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