I often ponder on this question: “is there such a thing as an innate tendency to be happy?” Apparently, the debate is still open on that one. Although studies say that a percentage of happiness is inherited (30 to 40%), they also say that environment plays a role. Reading this, I look back at my siblings and I; we had the same parents and the same environment; why is our happiness factor is so different? I bet if you have siblings and took a gander, you would have the same findings. So what is it then?
Some people say, “it’s easy to be happy when nothing bad happens”, while others say that being happy is a question of choice, still other believe that it’s inherited.
A study, published in Psychological Science, went one step further: it suggested that personality and happiness do not merely coexist, but that in fact innate personality traits cause happiness. These traits include;
- being social,
- goal oriented, and
- being able to put setbacks and worries in perspective.
I recently went on a business trip to Toronto and found that the airport was one of the optimal places to observe people and their reaction to, what most would qualify; a frustrating experience.
Here’s the scenario; our plane was supposed to take off at 8 am, but it was cancelled the night before and we were booked on another flight at 3h30 pm. On my way to the airport, I got a notification saying the plane was delayed until 4h30 pm. At the airport, they announced that it would be delayed again until 5h30 pm and once we were finally on board around 10 past 6, the pilot announced that the fuel truck was delayed and we needed to wait for it. Finally, we took to the sky it was 6h40 pm. Needless to say, I didn’t make if on schedule. Everyone was edgy, some people became downright rude! The poor airport employees were on the receiving end of all that anger. But really, does getting angry actually help move things faster? Nope! I’ll tell you what it does though; because anger is contagious (just like happiness), it makes everyone around you edgy and on the defensive … and then you wonder why you’re having such a shitty experience.
This is where I learned to use my personality traits of being agreeable and able to put setbacks into perspective. I chatted with people and even sang, which made people look at me weird and—this is the bonus—crack a smile.
Look, being happy is doable even if the above-mentioned personality traits aren’t your usual go-to, it may take some practice but you can do it too. In the end, it was a great trip, no stress and that’s all that counts!