HAPPINESS—THE LOSADA RATIO. I took a couple points from a review by Julian Baggini in the Financial Times (May 14-15) of Martin Seligman’s book FLOURISH. (The review credits Seligman for shifting the focus in psychology in the last 10 years from “correcting negatives” to “promoting positives.”) First, the book apparently recognizes a problem with polls which ask people about life satisfaction because an estimated 70% of that score depends on the person’s mood at the time. Second, the review called my attention to the “Losada Ratio.” This wikipedia article calls it the “positivity/negativity ratio.” The ratio “is measured by counting the instances of positive feedback (e.g. ‘that is a good idea’;) vs. negative feedback (e.g. ‘this is not what I expected; I am disappointed’).” Marriages which flourish have a ratio of 5.1; those with divorces have a ratio of 0.77. There is a “Losada Line” of 2.903. (roughly, a ratio of 3 to 1) Individuals with a ratio above the Losada Line flourish. Those below don’t.
Think of this as an attempt to measure the advantages of seeing the glass half full.