We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
– Declaration of Independence of The United States of America
Pursuit of Happiness – our unalienable right. What makes people happy? What makes them unhappy? If you’re unhappy, how do you get happy? The results of a survey of more than 3000 people who completed the Keirsey Temperament Sorter-II at the Keirsey.com website were a little surprising, and led us to look a little deeper into this question – and it turns out it may not be hard, for any of us, to feel happier just because we want to.
We surveyed more than 3000 people of all temperaments to find out what factors correlate with happiness – and which don’t. We measured happiness levels by age, gender, income, marital status, political orientation, education level, and personality type. The good news is that more people are happy than unhappy. Women are a little more likely to be happy than men, older people a little happier than young, wealthy people more so than poor. But the biggest factor – more than age, gender, or wealth – is extroversion. 74% of people who scored as extroverts on the Keirsey Temperament Sorter-II said they were happy, versus just 56% of introverted types. Clearly some of us are happier than others, just because we were born that way.
This brings up an interesting conversation between extroverts and introverts as to why this is so – feel free to comment below, and I’ll discuss in a future article. But I found some very interesting research by a professor of psychology at Wake Forest University that makes our research more than just interesting – it can change your life. According to Professor William Fleeson, just acting extroverted makes people happier.
“Every single participant in the study was happier when he or she acted extroverted than when he or she acted introverted,” Fleeson said. “Even introverts can act extroverted and become happier by changing their behavior. Regardless of whether a person is shy or outgoing, being more talkative, adventurous, bold or assertive has a positive effect. Nearly any extroverted behavior seems to have a positive impact on mood, he said. Singing out loud to a song on the radio, walking over to an attractive girl to talk to her, asking a question in class or voicing an opinion all seem to work.”
Now, I know my introverted friends may push back on me a little for this suggestion, but here it is: next time you’re feeling a little down in the dumps, try striking up a conversation with the person next in line with you at the post office. At the very least, you might enjoy having someone else to complain with. But according to Fleeson, “If people want to be happier and choose to act more outgoing, adventurous or assertive, then they have the power to directly improve their own well-being. The research demonstrates that extroversion can actually cause happiness.”
now there this song i wrote
i hope you you learned it note for note
like good little children
dont worry be happy
listen to what i say
in your life expect some trouble
when you worry you make it double
dont worry be happy
be happy now
– Bob Marley