What Does It Mean to Be a “Hard Worker”? (NSQ Ep. 3)
Also: how does age affect happiness?
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Relevant References & Research
Question 1: Are you a hard worker?
- Angela says that asking people if they work hard is helpful for measuring grit. If you want to learn more about her research on grit, Angela’s book is Grit: The Power of Passion and Perservance. You can also find more about her and her work at the Character Lab website.
- Angela breaks down an international study about conscientiousness which demonstrates the consequences of reference bias. The study is The Geographic Distribution of Big Five Personality Traits: Patterns and Profiles of Human Self-Description Across 56 Nations.
- Stephen references “the Lake Wobegon effect.” This form of optimism bias is the human tendency to overestimate oneself, named for the fictional town in A Prairie Home Companion where “all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”
- The book that Stephen mentioned about Jewish history is Genius & Anxiety: How Jews Changed the World, 1847-1947 by Norman Lebrecht.
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Question 2: Why does happiness start dropping at age 16, and not rise again until our late 40s?
- Angela and Stephen discuss Dartmouth economist David Blanchflower’s most recent paper on the happiness curve. The paper is Is Happiness U-shaped Everywhere? Age and Subjective Well-being in 132 Countries.
- Angela mentions that she received her PhD from the Positive Psychology Center at The University of Pennsylvania. The mission of the center is to “to promote research, training, education, and the dissemination of Positive Psychology.” Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive.
- Angela references the work of psychologist Don Moore who studies confidence, judgement and decision making. You can find more about Moore’s research on his personal website.
- Angela says that the “Three Blessings” exercise is a reliable way to increase happiness. The intervention was developed by Martin Selegman, under whom Angela studied during her PhD.
If you enjoyed this conversation, you might want to check out the recent Freakonomics Radio episode “Reasons to Be Cheerful.”