Tag Archives: Zombieland

Rule #32 - Enjoy the Little Things (and why it's scientifically sound)

I'm going to deviate from my normal format of the physical sciences and take a short look into the human brain.  Anyone who has seen the recent comedy 'Zombieland' probably remembers the rules that the main character (Columbus) had.  If fact, Columbus had many rules including: cardio, double tap, beware of bathrooms, don't be a hero, etc that he used to survive Zombieland.

Today I came across an article about happiness and it made me recall the rule he learns from a redneck type called Tallahassee.  The rule (#32 in his book) is 'Enjoy the Little Things'.

The Psychology Today article (found here) examines the negative bias of our brains.  Scientists have shown time and again that negative events have more influence on us that positive events.  While this is likely a remnant of what helped us survive early on, it can sometimes get in the way of happiness today.  Just think about the last time one bad event ruined a whole day, week, month, or in extreme cases, ruined your year.

A group of researchers even examined married couples and found that those who were long-term and happy had a ratio of happy to bad events of about 5:1.  Couples that had less, especially much less, were more likely to get separated in the near future.  For years we've heard that marriage isn't 50:50, but who would have guessed it's approximately 83.3:16.7?

After the study, scientists have decided that we are better of to enjoy more small happy events than just a few great big happy events.  While doing something big like buying a new car may make you happy, it can be negated by just a few simple bad events.  If you had many small happy events in life, you would likely be a happier person.  To sum it up: enjoy the little things!