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Barker is the author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree

How much happiness does it take to make up for the sadness in life?

A ratio of 3 to 1.

Via Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain: How to Retrain Your Brain to Overcome Pessimism and Achieve a More Positive Outlook:


How many people are at 3 to 1? Around 20%.

Is your spider-sense tingling? If you’re a regular reader it should be: we’ve seen similar patterns with ratios and happiness before. While 3 to 1 keeps you happy, 5 to 1 keeps relationships smooth.

Via The Ape in the Corner Office: How to Make Friends, Win Fights and Work Smarter by Understanding Human Nature:


This may be hard-wired. It’s seen in other primates:

The specific ratio for different relationships varies, with the overall pattern indicating the more distant the relationship, the more good you need for every bad. A full chart is here.

Just as well we’ve also seen in the past that it usually benefits us more to focus on increasing the good vs trying to eliminate the bad.

With friends:

In relationships:

Improving yourself:

When it comes to happiness, frequency beats intensity.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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