People in developing countries are happier than before while people in developed countries are no happier than they used to be. Why? What lesson can you learn from it?
Financially speaking, people are supposed to be happier when their incomes exceed expenses, but the reverse seems to be happening to many people in some developed countries. In comparison, people in some developing countries with a much lower measure of per capita income appear to be happier in what they are actually able to buy within their earnings. The message seems clear enough: higher living standards do not necessarily add to happiness but excessive spending can certainly undermine it.
It is hard to tell what does bring happiness when wealth may ironically fail as much as poverty. In countries full of comforts and luxuries, there are chances that people are beginning to count their troubles in the presence of rising living costs. This is very unlike people in developing countries who make positive sense of life by counting blessings and joys. Even in rich countries, life may become more stressful and less enjoyable under the pressure of increasingly higher living standards from time to time. What is worse, job security is already a major concern particularly among less skilled employees who are nervous about impending layoffs. Besides, the reality of financial crisis is spreading from one developed country to another, further complicating the difficult situation and fueling the anger of many less happy people.
People in most developing countries have reasons to feel happier than before, probably because they live their lives forward. Being relatively poor, they are happier in knowing who they really are, then doing what they need to do in order to have what they want. To them happiness is more like a direction for motivation than a place for leisure. Also, they are more capable of recognizing and appreciating what they do have. In short, they feel happier exactly because they do not expect too much happiness. This mentality is different from people in developing countries who have large incomes but also large expenses, often resulting in negative balance sheets.
In sum, the only way to avoid being unhappy in life, whether referring to a developed country or a developing country, is to have happy thoughts about living within their means and having something to hope for. Per capita income can no longer be the only measure for economic happiness, judging from the fact that people in developed countries are not as happy as they used to be. Without any doubt, the lesson about being happy is for an individual as well as for a country to perform a balancing act between incomes and expenses.