Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Happiness and Frustration

What gives people--or particularly, the people I know--the most happiness in life?  Recently, I surveyed 100 friends, family members, acquaintances, and strangers, to find out.  Of the respondents, 47 were men and 53 were women.  I asked 44 over Facebook, 28 on FICS, 17 in person, and 11 (fellow-bloggers) via email.  
Participants were not given examples or choices before responding.  Family claimed a clear first place with 12 votes.  References to God (Jesus, God, the Savior, and the Redeemer) came in next with 11 votes.  Tied at four votes were love, children & kids, people, and salvation.  Compassion and forgiveness each received three votes.


---Happiness in Women---
The chart above shows the most common responses given by women.  The label "Others" indicates that all other answers received only one vote.
---Happiness in Men---
Men gave unique answers more often than women did.  While the two highest-scoring words remained the same for both men and women, they received markedly fewer votes from men.
 
Happiness in Women (left).  Happiness in Men (right).  Click to enlarge.

Frustration
My next goal was to find what most frustrates people.  I figured if we know what causes most of our anxiety, we can work toward minimizing frustration, or perhaps eliminating it.    
Unfortunately, the leading response was... ***drum-roll***... other people (5)!  Second place went to laziness (4), a common human trait.  Third place was shared by ignorance (3), failure (3), sin (3), and stupidity (3), which also are most frequently attributed to people.  

The result of my study?  Eliminate people, and you will eliminate frustration.
Now, that's not exactly something I would advocate, but a researcher can't exactly influence the results of a survey...or can she?  It's often all in the interpretation.
If a member of, say, an extremist terrorist group decided to conduct this survey, asking exactly the same questions as I did, the results would be completely different!  Why?  Because he/she would associate with a very different group of people.  To get an accurate representation of the sentiments of the general public, I would have to survey a much wider range of people.  

My aim was only to learn more about the happiness and frustrations of the wonderful people in the communities of which I am a part. Many thanks to all who kindly participated!

Other survey results: Chess Player Psychology Blogger survey.

What gives you the most happiness in life?
What most frustrates you?
What conclusions do you draw from the results of this survey?

54 comments:

  1. Excellent Post, Bethany. Since women are frustrated by laziness and men by stupidity I wonder if marriages between stupid men and lazy women are the most successful?

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    1. They would be interesting--I wonder if we could get any volunteers for an experiment on that...

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  2. i'm laughing at the 'eliminate people and you eliminate frustration' but it is true. :) i spend a great deal of time alone and think i'm healthier for it. ;)

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    1. It's easiest to get along with oneself. ;) Peace with God and with oneself are probably two of the most important things in life.

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  3. What an intriguing and thought-provoking post! Thank you for sharing, Bethany. :)

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  4. That is funny, if only we could eliminate people that frustrated us..Bethany, thank you for sharing the results..

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  5. Bethany it is a great job. So the family it is the most importa not only in US but in Europe... too..

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  6. GREAT write up on the project you were working on. I am happy to see that my answers were in the top two....lol xo Diana

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  7. I find this very interesting Bethany. Great post!

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  8. That's a really interesting project! I would have put God and then family, so I guess I'm with the majority of your respondents.

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  9. Loved your survey! Very interesting. :-)

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  10. Hm, this is really informative! Thanks for doing this survey Bethany. :)
    I think that what makes me happiest and what frustrates me the most are relationships, which fit into the "people" category. The words I was thinking of were "fellowship" for happiness and "argument" for frustration.

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    1. Those are excellent choices, Paige. Arguments frustrate me as well, so I generally avoid them like the plague. I figure there's just about always something I can agree with anyone on and something I could disagree with anyone about; it's usually most pleasant and encouraging to focus on the points of agreement.

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  11. Ahhh statistics. I had to take at least one survey for a college course. I can't remember what topic I surveyed, but I found yours interesting and your graphics helpful and attractive. To add to your data base, I find greatest happiness in loving relationships [God first then with people] and the greatest frustration with selfishness in myself and others.

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    1. Well said, Gracie, and thank you for the compliments. Survey-taking can be a lot of fun.

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  12. Interesting responses to your survey, I like the way you presented your results!

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    1. Thanks! I surveyed some interesting people! ;)

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  13. What an interesting survey, Bethany! I will be back to read it in full later - off to do a few chores now! :)
    Blessings!

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  14. Great research, Bethany.. very thorough and well-organized. I wonder how much the answers would have changed if you had created categories for different cultures. Or, even age. I was surprised physical exercise/sports, wildlife/hature, and learning (all things that give me a lot of happiness, though i can't put one at the top of the list) weren't among the responses.

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    1. Yes, it is surprising that those choices were not included in any answers.

      I think you are right that adding categories for cultures and age would have made the survey more interesting. But, I would have had to ask 2 more questions, which in some of the settings where I asked people--say while shopping in the grocery store--would have been difficult, and on places like my chess server might have even been considered an invasion of privacy. Still, it would have been interesting if I could have!

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  15. I did laugh when I saw "people" pop up so big in the frustration box. I think people in general definitely have the power to be either a great joy or great frustration to others...but people aren't exactly something you can 'get rid of' in life!

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  16. Waste of time, a survey like this is not based on all the people, therefore it is worthless.

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    1. Surveying all people would definitely have been a challenge! :)

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  17. What a fun post. I laughed out loud that 'people' was a top choice! But then I'm not surprised. I'm also not surprised that family rose to the top. It was the first thing that popped into my mind before I even saw the answers.

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  18. Hi Bethany, It is so cool to find another amateur operator via blogging and not even on a radio topic at that! Congrats on your license! I have to ask … is KE0BCA a vanity call? If not, how awesome to get your initials in the call! It took a while for me to find that for myself. :-) Currently, I do not have a station capable of getting on the air. When living in Montana we had about 7 acres of property and I was able to get a good antenna up and made contacts all over, but mostly, of course, North America. When I moved to Seattle we first lived in a high rise (concrete and steel) building on the 16th floor which made getting on the air a real challenge. Because that building is undergoing a major remodel all tenants had to move out and we are now in a place where getting on the air may be a possibility … it will be one of my goals to do so over the summer if I can work it out. What a delight it would be to make contact with you via the ionosphere! :-) Now, getting around to commenting on this post: I am so curious about your education. Well, you are an excellent writer … and here you have a survey with results posted in neat charts and tag clouds. Plus, you are into statistics enough to appreciate that the size and source of sample affects results. I found the survey to be interesting … I was kind of surprised at Bob’s comment above … found it to be way too harsh ... maybe he was kidding? What I do like … and I think the survey shows … the group surveyed has admirable beliefs about happiness and pretty normal sources of frustration as well … they are the kind of people I like to associate with! :-) Thanks for sharing your excellent blog! John

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    1. No, it's not a vanity call--I was pretty happy to get it though! Having my initials in it makes it so much easier to remember; I guess I'm just blessed. It would be very neat to have a ragchew sometime (heh, radio "slang/terminology" is interesting!); I'll have to work on getting on the air myself. I was homeschooled till I graduated from high school. Glad you found the survey interesting! We have a completely awesome group of blogging friends online here, and I'd have to say my other friends are pretty great as well--glad to know you! Thanks as always for the very interesting comments!

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  19. Hi Bethany, I try to always remember that I'm "too blessed to be stresses." Tom The Backroads Traveller

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  20. this is a great read beth!!! my husband and sons bring me the most joy. there is no one on earth i would rather be with. next is another family or my friends.

    i don't get frustrated too often but i would have to say "mean people" and racists are on the top of my can't tolerate list!!

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    1. It is wonderful to have a dear family to love and good friends!

      It's indeed difficult to understand people who are just plain old mean--and even worse, cruel. I cannot stand when people are cruel to others or even animals. Mistreating people just because they belong to a different race is perhaps the worse excuse ever given for cruelty.

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  21. Great survey, Bethany. Well done.

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  22. Bethany, I think this is a great survey of some of the people you know. And I like that you included colorful and engaging graphics. Good job!!!

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  23. Bethany, good job on the survey!
    Family has always been a source of much joy to me!

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  24. You conduct some interesting and thought provoking surveys. I like that.

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  25. Helo Bethany!) Family and love would be at the top of my list. Surveys can be fun, and yours was certainly amusing, I'm still chuckling at eliminate people, and you eliminate frustration. Simple! Not quite, as we can sometimes get frustated with ourselves. Oh dear!:=) An enjoyingable read and nicely done.

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  26. This was so interesting, Bethany! I am glad you took the time to ask men and women about what brings them happiness and what causes frustration - I appreciate your work and effort. Enjoy the week!

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    1. Thank you Stephanie! Have a great week as well!

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  27. Hi Bethany, I think that happiness in life is to have inner peace and one thing that can frustrate me is not to have enough control of myself. I see that there is a coincidence, in the two first columns, between men and women pointing up family and God as sources of happiness. Congrats for the interesting survey.

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    1. Thanks Enrique! It's hard to see how anyone can have real happiness without peace with oneself and God, so I think you have good answers.

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