What determines our level of happiness?

The happier we are, the better our outcomes are in our work and life. So it is important for us to understand what are the things that determine our level of happiness.

According to Sonja Lyubomirsky in her book ‘The How of Happiness’, our happiness is determined by three things:

Firstly our genetic code or how we’re made up – who we are, and that’s up to 50 per cent. The genes we got from our parents play a big role in how fulfilled we feel.

The second thing, which is quite surprising is that only 10 per cent of our happiness is determined by our circumstances including our social and economic situation and financial success. In other words, the study confirmed that money cannot buy any more than 10% of your happiness (Mark Jenkins, Director at The Gap).

The remaining 40% is what we can control. This is our attitude or our intentional activities. Here, we are talking about the conscious decisions, attitudes, behaviours, and states of mind that play an active role in the person’s overall wellbeing and happiness. 

So we can see here that 60 per cent of our level of happiness is completely out of our control. However, the good news is by engaging in healthy mental and physical habits, we can still exert a lot of control over our own happiness. What we can do is focus on what is within our control to make ourselves happier. We can harness these 40 per cent through:

  • Having a positive attitude or having a glass half full attitude
  • Acting or behaving above the line – Always being open, curious, and committed to learning
  • Being willing to change and adapt
  • Be positive in our thinking and expressing gratitude.

Often we are more unhappy because the closer we get to our milestones, the further we push them into the distance, or that we don’t celebrate success when we achieve it, no matter how small that level of success is.

“Happiness is something that can be successfully pursued.”

— Sonja Lyubomirsky and Kennon M. Sheldon

Now that we’ve learned our behaviours and habits do matter, we can actively and consciously make choices – from gratitude to kindness to mindfulness – that can lead to an enduring happiness boost: Living in the present and thinking about what’s within our control, instead of focusing on our temporary situation and certainly not our genetic code.

Giving you control to achieve your aspirations is core to our purpose at KMT Partners. Caring is one of our biggest values and it’s about putting people at the heart of everything we do. Our team are committed to making a positive impact and helping you achieve your goals with peace of mind!

Source: The Gap