September 28, 2016

Happiness & Fulfillment #4 Waiting in lines

by Dion Damen

Everybody wants to have some control over his or her own life, right? It is very normal for people to search for some control over their own lives. People who have control over their own lives are generally happier than people who do not have control. However, some people are taking the control of their lives a little bit too far and tend to become overly control seeking. 

Luckily for me, I am quite the opposite. I do not feel the need to control everything in my life. In fact, I actually like it sometimes to not be in control and to accept the uncertainty life gives me. I do not like to have my life planned out and to be in control of what is going to happen.
Being overly control seeking really can affect your happiness because of a few reasons. The most important one is that people that are overly controlling are more frustrated when things don’t turn out as they have planned them to go. 

With my work in a bookshop/post office, I get to interact with so many different types of people in one day. Since the start of this course I have been observing every customer’s behavior and connecting that to how happy they looked from the outside. Of course this is not a scientific experiment, however, it did show me that people who are overly control seeking look less happy than people who do not care much about controlling every situation.
A perfect example, I think, is the different ways of how people are waiting in line for the register. Especially during busy hours, the people who are overly control seeking cannot control the queue, and therefore are often very agitated and in a rush when finally arriving at the register. So, this means they do not look happy, whereas people who do not feel the need to control the queue and accept that they have to wait are much more relaxed and friendly. 

Now, you can say that these people were just in a rush or slightly agitated from another incident. However, at our shop we have a lot of customers who come every week. Having worked there for about 4 years now allowed me to become quite familiarized with a lot of the customers. And I can now conclude that a lot of the customers who I have ‘labeled’ as overly control seeking, generally look less happy. 

What I would like to convince to overly controlling people, is that you simply cannot control your life. You have to accept that some things in life can’t be controlled. You have to accept the uncertainties that can happen in life, and even better, appreciate those uncertainties. Isn’t it a beautiful thing that in everyone’s life, something amazing can happen that you have not planned?

I am concluding this blog with an experiment that has been done, which I really liked. Imagine in which of the following situations you would feel the happiest on Saturday.

Situation 1: if you know beforehand that upcoming Saturday, you will receive $30.
Situation 2: next Saturday you are given $30, which you did not know beforehand.

Studies have shown that uncertain positive occasions increase happiness more than when people know about the occasion beforehand. Even if the money given to the people in the uncertain situation is lower than that of people who knew before that they were going to receive money, the ‘surprised’ group was still happier. Think about that.

1 comment:

  1. What drives me crazy with Dion's blogs about happiness is that I am THE OPPOSITE of him in almost every way! I am the crazy insane woman who stands in line and grumbles or shouts at the supermarket cashier "Can't you open another cash register?" I am impatient all the time. I want things to be the way I want them to be. And am I happy? Hmmmm... Could I be happier? DEFINITELY! OK, another message from the universe that I need to let go a bit more!