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Eureka: What is happiness? (2)
by Jay Gutman
2016-12-17 08:50:20
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happyn01_400Life satisfaction is rather low for people in their 20s (when categorizing positive and negative themes that emerge in interviews, only about 46% of what is said is positive) before reaching heights in the 30s and peaking at around 35 (87% themes mentioned by people in the 34-36 year-old category are positive) before slowly declining to about 75% themes mentioned being positive for those in the 50 and 60 year-old category.

People in their 20s have more difficulties with emotions and being able to perform day to day tasks, while people in their thirties tend to focus life satisfaction around personal concerns. People in their 40s, 50s and 60s are more concerned with leading an organized life.

While doing research on life cycles and life satisfaction, I found that satisfaction or dissatisfaction with life centers around four main themes:

Emotional concerns and satisfaction

People in their teens and twenties seem to have concerns with handling emotions, while emotions tend to stabilize around their thirties. What I made of this is I have seen quite a few grumpy older men, but younger people tend to share their emotional concerns more readily.

Emotional concerns come mainly in the form of frustration for those in their 20s, anger for people in their 30s and above. Angry older people frustrating powerless younger people, ring a bell?

Personal concerns and satisfaction

Getting a degree, getting married, paying the bills, work-life balance. People in their twenties seldom mention personal concerns as their main source of life satisfaction or dissatisfaction, while such concerns tend to be present among those in their 30s and 40s. People in their fifties and sixties rarely mention personal concerns as a source of satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

Organizational concerns

Husband or wife comes home on time, pay comes in on time, problems with the colleagues or with family members, getting fired for no reason, being blamed for mistakes we didn’t do, miscommunication or lack of communication.

We all belong to some form of organization (a family, a workplace, a school or any other form of organization) which can be a source of satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

Organizations tend to be harsher towards teenagers and people in their twenties (being blamed for mistakes not done, miscommunication, problems relating to other staff or people) but people in their thirties and beyond start finding their ways through the organizations and learn a few tricks to thrive.

People in their thirties and beyond often mention having been part of “bad” organizations before moving to better ones. The key is to learn the structure of the organization and its rules, before moving up the ladder, either within the organization or to a different organization.

Concerns with performing tasks

Teachers in their first year don’t know how to teach, chefs are not sure how to cook, married couples are not sure what tasks get the priority.

Two tracks emerge from the ability to perform tasks:

-Track 1: They left me alone, trusted me with the tasks.

-Track 2: I was constantly supervised or abandoned, divorced or moved to a different organization.

Professional development and life development, or developing one’s ability to carry out day-to-day tasks comes in different forms, from joining organizations to catching up with the literature. After a few years at work or at home people learn to perform their tasks and performing tasks is no longer an area of concern, although people in their fifties and sixties did complain about their ability to perform day-to-day tasks, either because they have trouble with the technology or because some tasks demand too much physical effort. An expression used by quite a few people in their 60s was “tedious and repetitive.”  


What is happiness? (1) by Akli Hadid, HERE!

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Emanuel Paparella2016-12-17 14:11:51
The inquisitive readers searching for "happiness" or what Aristotle call "eudaimonia" and its essence, will find the other side of this positivistic coin on the subject in the comment below the first installment on happiness as posted at the end of this column. Indeed, there are two interpretations (the positivistic and the humanistic) and they are applicable to just about any important issue.

That which Aristotle calls "eudaimonia" is no exception. Both approaches need to be analyzed and judged. To insist that there is only one approach, and shut one's ears to the other one, considered inferior or passe, is to insure that one lives in the bubble of "modernity" quantifying and measuring ad nauseam and deluding oneself that one is a progressive and "enlightened" and civilized human and is perceiving the whole of reality. Plato's myth of the cave describes that condition of modern man oblivious of what truth might be aside from self-interest. Vico called it "the barbarism of the intellect" with all due respect to David Hume and his cadre of empiricists and positivists.

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