A great colleague and I invented something in 2010. It was a two-day workshop for companies. It has been incredibly successful.
In that workshop, we cite a lot of behavioral science research. We also point out that some behavioral science research is bogus. Up to 60 percent by a recent study (which might have been bogus itself.) So how do you know good science from bad?
Look for consistency. I’ll give you an example.
One series of studies showed that people are two to three times more motivated to avoid losing something than they’re motivated to gain something of equal value. Put another way, you’d be at least twice as upset if you lost a $20 bill than you’d be happy if you found a $20 bill.
Is that study true?
We did our own research with a client’s rebate program. The program had several levels of rebates. The higher on the pyramid you were, the bigger your rebate for a given action.
We artificially moved a group of participants to a higher level. In other words, they didn’t earn the level. We just gave it to them. Then, we compared this group’s performance to a control group of similar participants who were not artificially advanced.
The result: the group that was artificially promoted outperformed the control group by 250 percent. They were 2.5 times more motivated to hold onto their elevated status than their true peers were motivated to earn the higher status.
Study confirmed. When you see that kind of real-world consistency with a laboratory study, the study gains credibility.
And this is why the key to happiness is so profound.
I mentioned the plan for happiness twice last week: Crawling Back to Happiness and Freedom and Freedom and What Should We Do Next? The plan is simple, and it has two key components: love God above with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul. And love your neighbor as yourself.
Those of you familiar with the Bible recognize this plan. Christ Jesus gave it to His disciples as the greatest commandments. (Matthew 22:37-39):
1. Love God above all things. 2. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus added, “
But what about the other Ten Commandments?
Those are the Ten Commandments.
Moses came down the mountain with the Law engraved on two stone tablets. Four commandments on the first tablet, six on the other.
The first tablet contained the plan for loving God above all things.
* Have no other strange gods before me. * Do not worship graven images or animals or other idols, anything created. * Do not take the Lord's name in vain. * Keep holy the Sabbath.
The second tablet contained the plan for loving your neighbor as yourself.
* Honor your father and mother. * Don't murder. * Don't commit adultery. * Don't steal. * Don't bear false witness against your neighbor. * Don't envy your neighbor's property or spouse.
Love God. Love your neighbor.
I don’t know how many thousands of years separated Moses from Jesus. But consistency indicates truth. This is pretty remarkable consistency. And, as a writer, I appreciate the way Jesus put simple category labels on top of Moses’ tablets. Like a great ad man. Makes it much easier to remember. Love God above all things, and love your neighbor as yourself.
That’s consistent enough to make me happy. And happiness loves company.