From Harvard Business Review: Happiness Traps

eazl happiness traps

“Life is too short to be unhappy at work. Yet many professionals who are free to shape their careers are just that: disengaged, unfulfilled, and miserable.

For years we’ve heard about dismal levels of employee engagement. Numerous studies show that close to two-thirds of employees in the United States are bored, detached, or jaded and ready to sabotage plans, projects, and other people. This makes no sense to me. Why do so many of us accept unsatisfying work, high levels of stress, looming burnout, and chronic unhappiness? Why don’t we fight back?”

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How Much Does Happiness Cost Where You Live?

😃 Access Eazl’s Cost of Happiness by Country Database free at

In 2010, Nobel prize winning economists Daniel Khaneman and Sir Angus Deaton collaborated with Gallup to build a dataset of more than 450,000 people to ask a simple question: how much does happiness or “emotional well-being” cost? Their answer is about $75,000 per household in the US.

We wanted to make a tool that digital nomads, non-US residents, and curious people could reference to see what this “income and happiness threshold” is around the world. To do it, we used an economic construct called the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) index which helps us account for the different power that one US dollar has (adjusted for currency exchange rates) across different countries.

While we didn’t use it for this video, one fun way that this is regularly done is by using the Big Mac Index–something that the Economist has been calculating since the 80s. It compares the price of Big Macs around the world to help establish the relative purchasing power of a dollar in different places.

Here are links related to this Brain Boost:

• Access Eazl’s Cost of Happiness Index at
• Read Daniel Khaneman and his co-author’s original research and related research at
• Learn more about the Big Mac Index at
• Take Eazl’s free animated Macro Economics 101 course at
• See the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) Index datasource at

Whether you’re working for someone else or for yourself, this should help you benchmark how much you need to earn before you start to focus on the bigger questions.

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