Are the big events in life most responsible for your happiness?
Eric Barker stashed this in #happiness
If there's no correlation between big events and happiness, what's the benefit of being happy?
Or is being happy an end unto itself?
The study was saying that big wins don't make us happy, it's how we perceive them. So chasing that promotion, that raise, that person you're attracted to... achieving that thing isn't going to lead to long term happiness in itself. Happiness is about perspective, not objective achievement.
Reminds me of another study: Bronze medalists are happier than Silver medalists. Why? Perspective. The guy who got the bronze was thrilled to get a medal at all. The guy who got the silver is fuming that he didn't get the gold. Silver is a greater objective achievement but frequently that person is less happy because of their perspective.
Also, many studies (like here, and #3 here) have shown that quantity beats quality when it comes to happiness. Frequent little boosts make us happier than rare big wins. This is one of the reasons why religion and exercise are so tied to happiness, they both require consistency.
This is also why gratitude is so key to happiness. Shawn Achor at Harvard has talked about gratitude exercises (which have been shown time and time and time again to raise happiness) and explains that the reason they work is because they train our mind to seek out the good. It doesn't cause big objective good things in our life, it just helps us to take a better perspective on what we do have and appreciate it more. :)
I think you're really onto something. Attitude makes every minute of the day better.
As you pointed out, happiness depends on perspective, pursuit of quality, and gratitude.
And those are all things we can practice.