In her recent book ―Happiness Around the World: The Paradox of Happy Peasants and Miserable Millionnaires,‖ Carol Graham discusses what determines happiness and misery and which of these might contribute to human progress. She finds that some people can adapt to tremendous adversity and be happy, while others can also have virtually everything – including good health – and be miserable. She suggests that because poorer people have lower expectations, they can be more content with their current positions and therefore, be happier. Yet Graham theorizes that unhappiness can be beneficial in motivating one to change his/her circumstances for the better as in the case of an ambitious but frustrated CEO who works hard to get what he thinks he should have. The conclusion Ms. Graham draws is that happiness depends on expectations and on the ability to adapt, and the implication for public policy is that certain aspects of happiness (such as the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives) are worth pursuing, while others (such as contentment that leads to complacency) may not be.
See ―Happiness Around the World: The Paradox of Happy Peasants and Miserable Millionnaires,‖ Carol Graham, OUP, 2010.

Interview of Tony Lashley, Sidwell swajends School Student
Did You Know?
  • What you have in relation to what you want determines contentment.
  • What you want in relation to what you think you should have determines expectation.
  • What you think you will get in the future more than what you have (hope) determines happiness.
Based on: ―Happiness Around the World: The Paradox of Happy Peasants and Miserable Millionnaires,‖ Carol Graham, OUP, 2010.