The definition of happiness – observations in Curaçao

As a dutchy, I know rain… I know how to complain about the weather like no one else, and the weather is usually the first thing to talk about when starting a conversation. It is always too hot, too cold, too windy, too much rain…. Here at the island, the weather is always good. Except for a few very short showers, the temperature is around 30 degrees Celcius, with a nice breeze and a lot of sun.

“The weather is always good, but not everybody is happy”

If you’d ask an average person in the Netherlands, they would probably say this would make them feel very happy. But here in Curaçao not everybody is happy. This is strange, if you consider the fact that the weather is perfect and there are beautiful beaches and palmtrees everywhere.

I decided to investigate this observation a little and found some research on happiness done by researcher Sonja Lyumbomirsky. She found that only 10% of our happiness is based on circumstances while 50% is genetically defined. This means that the other 40% (!!) of our happiness depends on our actions. So good weather won’t change your happiness that much.

Creating your own happiness

This made me think… If your happiness depends for 40% on your actions, there’s a lot of room to create your own happiness. But how does one create its own happiness? It sounds very easy, but is it at easy as it sounds? I’m about to find out.

by: Fleur Terpstra