Most people will tell you that the world is an unhappy place… a place of sadness, dissatisfaction and even, misery. And certainly, if we consider events in Syria, Nigeria and so many other troubled areas, maybe it is. We’ve written about the Happiness Index previously. Not surprisingly, peaceful countries rank highly while war torn nations sink to the bottom of the pile. But regardless of where you live, personal happiness is in direct correlation with your expectations.

When reality matches our expectations, we feel content. Contentment is the ultimate form of happiness, not laughing or ‘having fun’. These latter two are expressions of the moment and rarely last. In fact, unhappy people tend to search for fun as a substitute for the happiness missing from their lives.

In developed countries, most kids are conditioned through school and home to believe that success will bring happiness. That the more you earn and the more ‘secure’ your future, the happier you will be. But the evidence is overwhelmingly the opposite. High achievers tend to be perpetually unhappy despite their successes. Why? Because their expectations are out of sync with their achievements.

Mo Gawdat had it all. Success and an income most of us don’t even dream of, yet happiness eluded him. Then tragedy struck and he came face to face with the path to happiness…

While watching this interview, I couldn’t help visualizing some of the people in my life and comparing their expectations to their apparent happiness. The algorithm applied again and again. Pulling it back to personality types, the people in my life who fit the “A” classification are the ‘fun crowd’ while the “B’s” show every sign of greater contentment.

If you don’t have time to watch this amazing interview, here is a very abridged version of Mo’s journey:

How do your expectations compare to your reality? Have you found contentment in your life? Mo’s book, Solve for Happiness, is available from Amazon.