Analysis of the AIR Equation Happiness Survey data for the month of October 2007 is complete. I want to thank all of the people who participated in our survey and contributed to the ongoing study of happiness; your personal results were emailed to you this week. If anyone wants to take the survey and find out how they compare to the averages, click here.
There are not enough surveys yet to make statistically-significant comparisons between certain demographic groups (marital status, age, etc.). When we reach that point, we will report on it so stay tuned...and take our survey while you're at it.
RESULTS TO DATE
Generally speaking, people have room for improvement in the happiness department. On a 7-point scale where 7 equals "excellent," overall happiness averaged only 4.7. And that's adjusted for the AIR Equation factors. The original numbers averaged even lower. As shown in the pie chart, the AIR Equation is:
Happiness = 50% Acceptance + 28% Inspiration + 22% Respect
Surely the pursuit of happiness is eluding many a soul. However, this low score may be due to the mix of people who have taken the survey so far. As more people participate, the diversity of results will give us more precise data.
Of the various figures in our lives, best friends were the highest rated. What catapulted them to the top? Acceptance and respect. We need to better prioritize our time with them since they are leading sources of joy. Best friends rank next to last in our time.
Although on the surface our spouses and love interests rate high, they rank last after adjusting for the AIR Equation factors. The biggest culprit? Not giving us enough inspiration. I have heard this sort of thing before from married ones who have tried to apply positive thinking to improve their lives, only to have their spouses weigh them down by expressing negative thoughts.
This finding reminds me of the movie "Pursuit of Happyness" where the wife was a constant wet blanket for the hustling husband. And what about the quote Jesus left us: "A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own relatives, and in his own house." If you are in this situation, accept it as human nature and keep working hard on your dreams.
According to survey results, we spend the most time with our love interests. Maybe if more time is spent with best friends--to go on that golf outing or trip to the mall for example--one's happiness may improve. Divorces have climbed year after year since no-fault divorces were first allowed in the late 1960s. Applying AIR to the problem should help remedy it.
Our kin rank middle of the road as a source of happiness, chiefly due to lack of inspiration we receive from them. This harks back to the discussion above about love interests. I have sometimes wondered if humans are programmed this way on purpose, the whole "prophet is not without honor" nature. Without it, how many more people would never fly the coup and spread their wings and push themselves to put a stamp on the world, content with staying home? Think about it. Ultimately, nature is not as cruel as it often seems to be.
We hope you enjoy the findings as much as we enjoy doing the research. Go see how your happiness compares to the averages and take a survey. It may help you find happiness.