Who is happiest person in America? USA Today featured Happiest Person in a cover story in its USA Weekend magazine. Bad news: it's not you. Nor is it me.
Just how did they find Happiest Person and determine that he is indeed happiest person in America? The USA Today research team appears to have used an elegantly simple three-step process.
First, they identified "the world's leading authority on happiness", Martin Seligman ... which must have come as a wee bit of a surprise to several of his equally well-known and equally well-respected peers. How they picked Seligman remains more of a mystery than how a land-locked nation of mountains and yodeling became home to holy grail of yachting, but we are working feverishly to crack code.
Next, they asked Seligman to name six principles of happiness. Seligman listed couple strengths, a win-win approach, savoring success, playing to one's strengths, opening doors to opportunity and finding meaning in life.
Finally, they applied Seligman's principles to determine who best matches them. Naawww, just kidding. That would make way too much sense. Instead, USA Today created a make-believe process of its own that stands out from Seligman's list like Jolly Green Giant at a dwarf convention. Here is USA Today process.
Geography. It seems that Happiest Person must live in best place to live, which is Virginia Beach, in case you didn't know. If somebody even happier than Happiest Person lives in San Francisco or Vermont, USA Today research team does not want to know.
Why confine their search to one town? Could geography be secret to happiness that Seligman failed to mention? True, research does show that people living in free societies tend to be happier than others, but there is no evidence that where you live within free world makes a difference.