Thursday, June 25, 2009

happiness vs success

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I came a quote by Bertrand Russell recently that really made me ponder:

"If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years."

So true, and so sad. One of my old grad school professors had a theory that explained the cause of unhappiness, that was based on a series of surveys he had done. He believed that unhappiness came from inequality; that people felt most unhappy when there was great inequality in their community, particularly when they were lower down in society. Yet, given the chance and the choice, most of these same people chose to be on top thereby perpetuating the issue further.

My prof then ran the survey across a few campuses in Boston. His questions gauged how much people were willing to give up in order to create a sense of equality. Eg: if the company was doing well thanks to the surveyee's effort, would he/she take a salary cut so that everyone else could get a raise thereby closing the gap between the two groups?? He asked the question AFTER explaining his theory of happiness. He found that the Harvard students were the strongest propagators of inequality; MIT students on the other hand preferred equality. Can't say I'm too surprised. I've met and worked with both sides...not too surprisingly, the Harvard people get further ahead in the business world. BUT, in the world of personal relationships and happiness, I wonder if MIT alums rate higher... I actually think so based on the few I know; particularly from the business schools.

just something to think about...

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