Here’s a question for you…
‘Out of three, how would you rate your level of happiness?’
With one being ‘not very happy’,
two being ‘fairly happy’,
and three being ‘very happy’
How can this be right?
According to management consultant, author and speaker, Marcus Buckingham (who by they way, is fabulous if you ever get a chance to get along to one of his seminars) and the more than one million people who have been asked this question in various studies around the word, over the last 60 years, women are becoming a little less happy than they where in the 1950s. In a surprising contrast, men have become increasingly happy over the same time period.
How can this be? We women can now vote, work, have children and return to the workforce, and pretty much anything else that we want to do. But it’s not making us any happier. As Marcus says, it’s not that each of us is unhappy, but it is statistically proven that as a gender, women are becoming slightly less happy. Of course there could be a huge number of reasons for this and anyone with a sociology degree is most welcome to start a list of them for me in comments below if they have a spare 5 minutes.
This study that’s taken place in many countries, including Australia determines what’s called our level of ‘subjective wellbeing’, a psychological term that really just means – how happy we believe ourselves to be in general.
How can we become happier?
I’m curious to know what you think would increase your level of subjective wellbeing? You might say more money, more time to do the things you enjoy or a holiday. It’s interesting to see that in results taken from other studies, Marcus noted that for women an increase in free time didn’t actually increase their level of subjective wellbeing. The same study he said also showed that for every hour of additional free time men are given, their subjective wellbeing rose by 8%.
Another point that I must say, kind of shocked me, is that having children doesn’t actually increase happiness. Please don’t shoot the messenger, but apparently all you mothers out there would probably rate your happiness below women without children, like moi! Now I know you’re thinking “but, but, I love my children, they do make me happy” – that may be so, but statistically, us birds without chicks are chirping a little louder and brighter than y’all. Don’t worry, apparently your lives have more ‘meaning and purpose’ than ours – so it all works out in the end for everyone! (You girls know I’m just kidding around, right? I see no need to make a distinction between women with and women without children – just the same as I don’t make any distinction between what men and women are capable of in all areas of life.)
So, where do you find your ‘strongest life’?
If as a gender we are becoming slightly less happy then it’s incredibly important that we take control of the situation now, before it gets any worse. We owe it to our daughters, our sons, our sisters and brothers, friends and lovers and most importantly to ourselves to take back our happiness by living a life that has the capacity to create more and more happiness.
We certainly can’t create happiness by bitching about a job we can’t stand, or picking ourselves to pieces day in day out or by watching ‘The Secret’ every week in the hope that we’ll magically become ‘superwoman’ just by focusing on what we want – way off in the distance.
Take Marcus’s short Strong Life Test
(takes 5 minutes at the most) to help identify the role to most invigorate you.
It’s no surprise to me that I was primarily a Teacher with the secondary strength of being a Creator
It’s not about goals way off in the future
I agree with author and speaker Marcus Buckingham when he says that ‘life is about following the moments that invigorate you’, he talks about the notion of to ‘catch and cradle’ those moments that invigorate you. That’s a great term, to ‘catch and cradle’. To catch something you have to be aware of it, you have to be on the look out for it. My best moments have always been when I’m sharing new information and I see a light go on inside someone and they ‘get it’. To cradle these moments to me means to make sure I have more moments like that. I nurture the opportunities I have to share new information and keep my attention focused on finding new opportunities to share what I learn. Like here on Gorgeous Things.
Nurture what makes you feel invigorated
The idea of cradling also says to me (and I’m not sure if this is how Marcus means it) that you don’t need to hold on too tightly to these moments to get the best out of them. If you hold on too tightly you’re almost saying that you don’t believe this opportunity or moment will come along again. After all, a moment is just a moment, right? No need to grab it by the feet and shake it until every drop of moment-y goodness is gone. They’ll be another one soon – because you’ll create it by being aware of what makes you feel invigorated.
Where you can find more information about living your strongest life – the life you were meant to live
Marcus told a couple of inspiring and motivating stories about women who he’s interviewed for his book ‘Find your Strongest Life: What the happiest and most successful women do differently’ and to be honest, I could never do them justice in a paragraph here so I’m going to suggest that you read Marcus’s latest book and find your strongest life and take the first steps towards starting to live it. As I said earlier, we owe it to ourselves and if that doesn’t motivate you, then think of your daughters and the further decline in happiness that their generation will face if we don’t teach them by our own example.