There is happiness and it is in Russia1 March, 2018
By Maria Paysina, Head of Marketing
The International Association of Independent Research Agencies Gallup International inquired into the matter of individual happiness in its 41st annual global end of year survey. The same question was asked to people in 55 countries: “How happy or unhappy do you feel about events in your personal life?” The difference between positive and negative responses determined the happiness index in each country.
Head of Marketing
It turned out that only 6 out of 10 people in the world considered themselves happy last year. Compared to 2017, the happiness index dropped by several points from 59 points to 48 points. But the situation almost did not change in Russia: 55% of Russians consider themselves happy, and only 5% unhappy, while the rest thought it more reasonable to abstain to weigh on this complex matter. So, for the first time in many years, the happiness index in Russia exceeds the global index.
Gallup International vice-president Andrey Milekhin commented the survey results as follows: “An analysis of the world happiness index indicates that there is no direct dependence on income and overall wealth. What is more important is a sense of development and justice. We therefore observe that the happiest people can also be found in poor countries. And conversely, materially prosperous countries can be found among rating outsiders.”
Intercomp Center of Macroeconomic Research has observed that Russia continues overcoming the economic recession of 2014-2015. This has been reflected in the labor market in recent years. Most companies in the country were laying off people until 2016, but 2017 was a year of stabilization, and the slowdown in business activity dwindled. Our annual Salary Survey showed that the level of employee remuneration had stagnated in the market overall, while a slight increase in wages was noted only in certain sectors of the economy.
It does not look like business activity will soar in 2018 in Russia. Our experts expect an increase in the general level of wages only to match inflation, i. e an increase of 3-5%. Employers will continue competing for highly qualified specialists, making attractive offers only to certain categories of employees. Overall, wages should remain relatively stable in 2018.
However, numerous studies have shown over and over again that happiness is not directly dependent on wage amount (of course, we are not talking here about the minimum necessary to live). It is not money that brings happiness but rather happiness leads to success, including financial success. In his book The Happiness Advantage: 7 Principles that Fuel Success and Performance at Work, Shawn Achor draws from hundreds of studies and convincingly concludes that happiness gives us the main advantage in the pursuit of success. He highlights that “the greatest advantage of a modern economy is happy people interested in their work.” The conclusions drawn by Achor are impressive: the feeling of happiness increases sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and a conscientious attitude to work by 19%. Happiness makes people more popular and more employable.
(If the opinion of one author is not sufficient, here is another great article about the usefulness of optimism with results of numerous studies of its effect on all aspects of a person’s life.)
Happiness is a complex concept and is periodically experienced by everyone whenever plans are fulfilled, and dearest dreams come true. However, even we achieve our most ambitious goals, we often catch ourselves thinking that the feeling of happiness somehow passes very quickly. Perhaps most of you already know the results of an oft-cited study of “preset” level of happiness: people who won the lottery and people who became disabled after a serious accident return to their “level of happiness” after a while: those who are able to enjoy life find the strength to be joyful, unhappy people continue to be unhappy even with millions in their bank account.
So how do we become happy? This is not, of course, within the scope of this article to unveil this great secret. Business books advise to clearly articulate goals and plan each step for their achievement, prioritize, focus on the most important, tackle small jobs first, and divide larger ones into more manageable tasks. Psychology books advise to learn to be happy “here and now”, enjoy small things, build healthy relationships with others, breathe deeply and smile more often.
We love books of both kinds at Intercomp (our best finds are available in blog IntercompLibrary). We love to learn and look for new ways to become more effective, stronger and happier, as well as ways to work better without losing sight of the main goal. We also like helping others do the same (here a little advertising is required, of course, as outsourcing non-core functions helps focusing on strategic goals, but today we are not talking about that).
Happiness is achievable, and in the modern world, it is not dependent on fabulous wealth, spiritual pursuit or unpredictable fortune. More and more successful people around the world say that happiness is a skill that can be practiced and be part of your life not “someday, when I have this and that”, but here and now. Try different options, learn from the best, read good books, improve oneself, get rid of what’s superfluous for the sake of what is important, and never give up.