Thursday, April 1, 2010

Get an ugly girl to marry you

I’m following in the footsteps (keystrokes?) of one of my favorite bloggers, Word Savvy, and rocking an April blogging challenge. The goal is to post daily about something you’ve read, in order to promote literacy. I think this is going to be really great for me because I read articles on line almost constantly and now I’ll be forced to make sense of them instead of sitting in sensory overload all day.

I’ve read 3 remarkably similar articles this week about the correlating factors behind peoples’ states of happiness.

The first,
a NYT blog, highlighted a new study finding that people who have more substantive conversations are happier than those who engage in more small talk. Researchers stated this is probably because people a) people are wired to find and create meaning in their lives, and b) people want to connect with others.

The second was
a NYT opinion piece by David Brooks, who, using Sandra Bullock’s marriage drama as a means of comparison, asked if people would be happier with professional success (i.e., her new Oscar) or a happy marriage (which is, presumably, one where your husband isn’t banging chicks with the self-imposed middle name “Bombshell”). He also stated that interpersonal relationships are much more likely to lead to happiness than the fleeting nature of success is.

Last was
a slight off-shoot by my favorite Newsweek columnist Julia Baird, who (using Ricky Martin’s unsurprising coming out as an example) detailed a theory saying countries that tolerate homosexuality may be happier than countries that do not. The reasoning behind this involves a few more variables- in this case, she states that economic development allows for a) more self-expression because people can focus on how to find meaning instead of just how to survive and b) a higher rate of education, which leads to critical thinking and more tolerant opinions. The ability to both live uniquely and accept others differently than you, can be factors in your overall state of happiness, a researcher states.

As someone who’s been extremely happy both in and out of romantic relationships, I take slight offense to the Brooks idea that a 2-car garage and someone to take out the garbage is the only relationship that “counts”. In other words, I think Sandy will be just fine by relying on all of the other fantastic people that were a part of her life for her first 40, unmarried years.

So, assuming that interpersonal relationships can be meaningful bonds between non-romantic cohorts, I put together a graph to show these articles relate. I think it is openness to connect with others both like you and unlike you that leads to happiness.


I’m going to pick an easier article tomorrow.


Shannon Clattenburg said...

Great post! I like the idea of blogging about something you've read. I just might copy it.

I hear ya with the sensory overload thing. Pretty sure the "open in another tab" thing was the beginning of my downfall.

Most of the time I honestly don't know what to do with all that information, so I feel like my head swells.

In a very non-flattering way. haha.

I look forward to reading your upcoming posts!

KC said...

Wow. You really did a fantastic job today. Your pal Shannon should def join the challenge!

I loved that Sandra Bullock article. As you might have noticed, I RT'ed it and also made Dan read it.

A flow chart. A FLOW CHART?! You are really awesome.

lee said...

I don't like David Brooks.
I do like your blog and your flow chart.
Do you ever read The Happiness Project?

fellow April blogging challenger

Emily Elizabeth said...

Is it weird that I've read those same 3 articles this week?

PS I'll be home this weekend and out and about Saturday night - let me know what you're up to - I'd love to see ya!

Emily Anne said...

oh wow. we're bringing in homemade charts. i wish i had your passion thelemann. nice work!