Saturday, October 20, 2007

Intelligence Doesn't Determine Happiness

Is smart a criteria for happiness? In Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated, David Burns writes that it's not your intelligence, but your frustration tolerance that's the key.

Irritability Quotient (IQ) and Your Happiness
Burns writes:

"What's your IQ? I'm not interested in knowing how smart you are because your intelligence has little, if anything, to do with your capacity for happiness. What I want to know is what your Irritability Quotient is. This refers to the amount of anger and annoyance you tend to absorb and harbor in your daily life. If you have a particularly high IQ, it puts you at a great disadvantage because you overreact to frustrations and disappointments by creating feelings of resentment that blacken your disposition and make your life a joyless hassle."

Key Take Aways
This point rings true. I think the meta-point is that it's not about lowering your expectations about things; instead it's about improving your ability to deal with things that don't go as planned. Another way to put it is, raising your bar over what you choose to let frustrate you, goes a long way for your happiness.

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2 comments:

practica said...

Can't agree more. I started to develop teflon like apporach to anger and annoyance. I started to absorb much less of it and i started to feel much much better. The mind is clearer, vital energy now is spent on much more important things. I think yes - i am becoming happier each and every day with such approach

J.D. Meier said...

Everyday I run into annoyances from software and computers when they don't behave the way I think they should. I seem to have a disproportionate string of challenges. When I used to think "geeze, why me ... yet, again," it was particularly frustrating. Now, every single time I hit an issue, I think, ah, it's a test and another chance to not sweat the small stuff.