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Can You Accurately Measure How Someone's Life Is Going?

Can You Accurately Measure How Someone's Life Is Going?

Listen to Jon Clifton explain why one of the best ways to measure how people's lives are going is to ask them. For the latest findings on global happiness and wellbeing, order your copy of Blind Spot today.

Below is a full transcript of the video, including time stamps. Full audio is posted above.

Jon Clifton 0:05
At Gallup, we're often asked, "Can you accurately measure how someone's life is going? And when you ask someone to rate their lives on a scale of zero to 10, can they accurately describe it?" Actually, one of the best ways to describe whether or not we can do this is through a story. Because one time in Kyrgyzstan, one of my colleagues was interviewing a woman about how her life was going. And she said to her, "Five years ago, rate your life on a scale of zero to 10, where zero is the worst possible life and 10 is the best. Where did you stand?" The woman said back to her, "A 2." Then she said, "Rate your life on that same scale today." And the woman said, "My life is a 2." And she said, "Well, where do you think you'll be in the next five years? And she said, "A 10." My colleague looked at her and she said, "A 2 five years ago is very bad. A 2 today is very bad. But you said that you'll be a 10 in five years. Why the change?" The woman pointed at her belly and said, "I'm pregnant. Soon I'll have a son."

Jon Clifton 1:02
That answer from that question that that woman gave us demonstrated the very multidimensionality of a great life. And today, the indicators that world leaders use are things like money and the presence of jobs. But that woman's story told us that there is much more to a great life than just money and a great job. That's why these indicators are so important.

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