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The Inner Way

By Faisal Akram from Dhaka, Bangladesh By Faisal Akram from Dhaka, Bangladesh

In the United States, we place a premium on being happy. (Cue the Pharrell Williams video.) Yet, a recent study shows that not all cultures approach life the same way. In a story titled “Not Everyone Wants to Be Happy” at Scientific American, social psychologist Jennifer Aaker points out that our perception of happiness varies according to where in the world we live.

Aaker mentions a Victoria University of New Zealand study that shows “the desire for personal happiness, though knitted into the fabric of American history and culture, is held in less esteem by other cultures. It seems there are many parts of the world that view personal happiness, defined as “experiencing pleasure, positive emotion, or success”, with suspicion.

When Taiwanese and American students were asked about the meaning of happiness, American participants considered happiness to be the supreme goal…

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