Has social media warped how you view happiness?

Has social media warped how you view happiness?


Want to be happy? Don’t be a gardener. Or so the oddball logic goes. When I was in secondary school, a career counselor came into my class one afternoon and asked if any of us 14-year-olds knew what we wanted to do for a living.

One of my classmates answered, in complete seriousness: “I want to be a gardener”. The counselor snickered softly, asked if he was joking and, upon realising how appallingly tactless she had been, quickly interrogated another student.

That she was bad at her job is evident; but her reaction nevertheless reflected a hierarchy in the value that society assigns to different professions. Being a doctor, a lawyer, a successful businessman? Good. Valuable. Will make you happy.

Except it won’t necessarily – that’s according to Paul Dolan, professor of behavioural science at the London School of Economics (LSE) and writer of Happy Ever After: Escaping the Myth of the Perfect Life. “We have this idea that we need to reward those who are constantly aspiring and advancing professionally,” says Dolan. “But we have to start rewarding people who are successful in professions that we don’t value very highly.” What is wrong, after all, with being a perfectly happy in any kind of work.

And the numbers speak for themselves: according to Dolan, 64 per cent of lawyers agree that they are happy. Sounds like a decent amount? The proportion jumps to 87 per cent when you ask florists.

That higher-status jobs lead to more happiness is only one of the social narratives that Dolan’s book surgically dismantles. Happy Ever After may sound like a cheap self-improvement guide to positive thinking; in reality, it is a pragmatic inspection by an LSE-qualified behavioural scientist…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE