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---
---Happiness in Men---
Happiness in Women (left). Happiness in Men (right). Click to enlarge.
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!
What gives you the most happiness in life?
What most frustrates you?
What conclusions do you draw from the results of this survey?