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What can you learn about happiness from the unhappiest place on Earth?

Stashed in: #happiness, Gratitude, Culture, #kindness, Hope, Relationships, Trust, @bakadesuyo, Awesome, Meaning of Life, America!, Restore your faith in humanity., The Internet is my religion., Poverty, Give and Take

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From America to Bhutan to Moldova...

I was surprised to discover which country is the unhappiest country on earth.

WONDERFUL, edifying post, as usual.  Did you know that one of your posts was life-changing for me?

Which one?

"What the heck does “meaning in life” mean, anyway?"  That one was huge, but many of his posts have been strongly influential.  Thanks for asking!

Oh! That's a great one! Thank you for clarifying, Tina!!

Yes, it was life-changing, dovetailed perfectly with reading GIVE AND TAKE, and I was able to find the Baumeister, Vahs et. al. article on which the long quote was based.  The TIMING of that post on here was amazing!  Truly synchronous.

That's awesome. And I need to see that quote again. For science:

Roy Baumeister (author of Willpower), Jennifer Aaker (author of the Dragonfly Effect), Kathleen Vohs and Emily Garbinsky explored the similarities and differences between happy and meaningful lives:

Our findings suggest that happiness is mainly about getting what one wants and needs, including from other people or even just by using money. In contrast, meaningfulness was linked to doing things that express and reflect the self, and in particular to doing positive things for others. Meaningful involvements increase one’s stress, worries, arguments, and anxiety, which reduce happiness. (Spending money to get things went with happiness, but managing money was linked to meaningfulness.) Happiness went with being a taker more than a giver, while meaningfulness was associated with being a giver more than a taker. Whereas happiness was focused on feeling good in the present, meaningfulness integrated past, present, and future, and it sometimes meant feeling bad. Past misfortunes reduce present happiness, but they are linked to higher meaningfulness — perhaps because people cope with them by finding meaning.

Yep.  I'm glad you think so too.  The study from which it was lifted is outstanding.

Yes, that one!  I googled it after I read the other post.  I've never seen Eric's summation before just now.

The irony is, I fit the summation to a "T"-- as in Tina!

That's a good thing, right?

Yes, I thought so, but I'd be interested in your opinion!

I think so. And yes, Eric's summation is awesome!

LOL!  Thanks, Adam!  Yes it is!  I just tweeted it.

This is my favorite part of Eric's article:

Via The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World:

Lesson number one: “Not my problem” is not a philosophy. It’s a mental illness. Right up there with pessimism. Other people’s problems are our problems. If your neighbor is laid off, you may feel as if you’ve dodged the bullet, but you haven’t. The bullet hit you as well. You just don’t feel the pain yet. Or as Ruut Veenhoven told me: “The quality of a society is more important than your place in that society.” In other words, better to be a small fish in a clean pond than a big fish in a polluted lake.

Lesson number two: Poverty, relative poverty, is often an excuse for unhappiness. Yes, Moldovans are poor compared to other Europeans, but clearly it is their reaction to their economic problems, and not the problems alone, that explains their unhappiness. The seeds of Moldovan unhappiness are planted in their culture. A culture that belittles the value of trust and friendship. A culture that rewards mean-spiritedness and deceit. A culture that carves out no space for unrequited kindness, no space for what St. Augustine called (long before Bill Clinton came along) “the happiness of hope.”


Money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important. So are friends. Envy is toxic. So is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude.

Read more:

Thanks for that message, Adam!  I'm going to send that to a friend of mine!

Please do. Eric Barker's work is made for sharing:

Comparison is the road to unhappiness. 

"Many countries are poorer than Moldova yet happier. Nigeria, for instance, or Bangladesh. The problem is that Moldovans don’t compare themselves to Nigerians or Bangladeshis. They compare themselves to Italians and Germans. Moldova is the poor man in a rich neighborhood, never a happy position to be in."

That is so true it hurts.

Never compare yourself with others. Instead compare yourself with your best self.

Imitation is Suicide. Insist on yourself; never imitate. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thank you, Tina! :)

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