You might be surprised to know that one of my favourite consumer magazines is football monthly When Saturday Comes. Not because I am a particular fan of football (I don’t mind it when it is on), not because it is the best source of footballing analogies which are ever useful in explaining new strategies, but because it is usually very funny.
We can all learn something from June’s issue about happiness. In the “webwatch” feature writer Ian Plenderleith cites a column at (http://www.pitchinvasion.net) which concludes that if England win the World Cup fans will be no happier one year from now than if they had been knocked out in round 2.
The thing that brings you most happiness about football is actually gathering to watch it with your friends whatever the result which is just as well if you are a West Ham or Watford supporter, say, as the result won’t make you happy most of the time.
This in fact echoes the new findings from Nobel prize winner Dr Kahneman who was my absolute favourite speaker at Google Zeitgeist last week – watch and enjoy at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUYQrLsmNMM). In a Zeitgeist scoop he revealed the results of his survey on wellbeing in the USA which distinguishes emotional well being or day to day practical enjoyment (experiencing happiness in your life), with life satisfaction or feeling good about how you’re doing in a keeping score type of way (reflecting on how happy you are with your life). Whilst money buys you a higher score in the latter category when you’re remembering how things are, for the former day to day category it has absolutely no power to buy you any more happiness in your life past a threshold of between $60000 and $80000. Above this threshold, whether you have $90k or $9m you apparently don’t get any happier day to day.
What does make you happier is the amount of time you spend with people you trust. Exactly in the way that the main happiness generator from a football game is time spent with your friends and not keeping score.
The research also highlights the importance of trusted colleagues in the workplace – you spend much too much time there to not be happy day to day. And actually sets finding colleagues you can trust as a much greater career consideration than finding yourself a footballer’s salary.
Interesting food for thought as you watch England’s first round games in June.