Watch collecting and happiness
Three key facts about happiness, and how they relate to watch collecting
This is an old post that I refreshed today, as I am planning to refer to it in a future post. As I was linking back to it, I discovered a handful of areas I wanted to refresh, rephrase, and I also realised that I used to write without any images or quotes to spice things up… so while you may experience some déjà vu as you read this, I am sure you wont regret doing so :)
The ending to my psychology course during the pandemic covers the concept of happiness, and most of these details are included here in this post. In general, it turns out that happiness is fairly heritable, but there is of course more to it than that. Here we will talk about some basic nuances that will affect your happiness, and describe how the variability in your happiness is affected by external factors. Finally, trying to connect it to watches, the argument and variability of happiness is largely a function of the company you keep, and what you are exposed to most frequently, but it need not be a source of sadness. We are the architects of our own thoughts after all.
Let’s start with a question: how happy are you? How happy is your life? Although it is a vague question, try to answer it in your head, on a scale from one to ten. Do so now, and state your response in the comments, along with your reasons why!
This question has been asked over and over again across many countries and across many thousands of people, and almost nobody answers ten. Most people think that they’re substantially happier than the midpoint, so common answers are seven and eight.
One study did this across 42 countries, and they found that none of them had an average happiness under five. In one study, the most happy were the Swiss, the most miserable were the Bulgarians.
Your answer to this question seems to have real meaning, but at the same time any single reading isn't perfectly reliable and could be swayed by small effects. There was an experiment to prove this, where they tested a sample of people but half of the people ‘accidentally found’ some money right before they were asked how happy they were - and the the other half didn't find anything. It turned out when asked how good their life was, the people who found some money were happier.
So, what is happiness? Happiness for an evolutionary psychologist is a goal-state that animals have evolved to pursue. When you’re happy, that means your needs have been satisfied. For instance, hunger is unpleasant, and if you’re really hungry you will probably be miserable - hence the term “hangry”!
Steven Pinker sums this up quite nicely. He notes, “We are happier when we are healthy, well-fed, comfortable, safe, prosperous, knowledgeable, respected, non-celibate, and loved”. If you look at your own life and you could tick off all of these things, then you are probably going to be happy!
That said, Pinker notes himself that it’s not quite that simple. There are a few facts that should shake your perception that happiness is a simple matter.
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