Questions about 50/50


Your concept of 50/50, especially as outlined in the coach training session #7, is incredibly powerful – it might be my favorite!
Initially I resisted it, thinking that I might be at already, or could aspire to achieve, say 80/20 positive/negative. I now see the fallacy of that and buy into 50/50, as a maximum.
However it seems that plenty of people are living at 20/80 positive negative, chronically and pervasively unhappy. Is this observation contradictory to your 50/50 concept?

Also, how does 50/50 related to the concept of ‘happiness set point’? There is a school of thought that says that each person has a more-or-less constant level of happiness, as measured by self reporting on a survey. When someone wins the lottery, they report being happier for a period of months and then their self-reported level happiness returns to pre-win levels. Similarly when someone suffers a setback – loss of loved one etc. – they typically show a reduced happiness for some months, and then they return to their press-loss level.

What makes one persons ‘happiness’ level higher than another, in view of the 50/50 concept? As I write this, answers are coming to me. One obvious answer is that someone’s view of their happiness is distorted (artificially raised) by buffering. The other more interesting situation is that ‘happier’ people choose to interpret the 50% negative in their lives in a positive way. They have a more well-rounded view of the human experience, and so they don’t let their unhappiness (sadness, anger, loss) make them as unhappy.

This then might answer my question about people who seem to be at 20/80. They experience 50/50, but they are comparing this to some artificial standard, e.g. ‘I should be happy all the time’ and they fail to appreciate the positive emotion they do have.

What do you think?