Dr. Helen

If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Happy?

If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? is the title of a new book I am reading by professor Rag Raghunathan who makes some interesting observations about happiness:

Could the same traits that drive your career success also be keeping you from being happier?

Fifteen years after getting his MBA, Raj Raghunathan spent some time with his old classmates. He noticed that though they’d all done well, there didn’t appear to be much correlation between their academic success and career success. What Raj found even more curious was the even smaller correlation between career success and what he calls life success. The greater the career success, the more unhappy, out of shape, harried and distracted his friends were.

If intelligence helps with decision-making, smart people should naturally make better life choices. So why are so many of the smartest, brightest, most successful people profoundly unhappy? Raj set out to find an answer to this problem, and extensively researched happiness not just of students and business people, but also stay-at-home-parents, lawyers, and artists, among others.

Smart people, it seems have a myriad of what the professor calls the seven deadly happiness sins. Unhappy people tend to devalue happiness, do not pursue “flow” (an interest or passion which involves being in the moment), are lonely, tend to be overly controlling, distrust others, and pursue their passion but in ways that are not healthy.

The book gives tips and tests to help one figure out where he or she stands in these areas and suggestions and homework to correct them. From reading the book, the reader can figure out his or her strengths and weaknesses in the area of happiness and work on a path to becoming more fulfilled in life. To my surprise, I learned quite a bit about myself and my inclinations about money, people and happiness by reading the book and I think you will too!