• lynneeveratt

These surprising BIG DATA insights will make your day...

(The 5-Minute Recharge is now on a twice monthly summer schedule...)  “The math works.” - Baseball Executive Billy Beane Short and chubby, Kevin Youkilis was described as having the physique of a refrigerator repairman. He was nobody’s idea of a 21st century baseball player, yet the math said Youkilis had skills that mattered—he had a good eye and rarely struck out. Youkilis was drafted in the eighth round and went on to have an all-star major league career. Look no further than the exceptionally talented Alejandro Kirk (my favorite baseball player!) to find the present day Youkilis. Alejandro Kirk is the inspiration for everyone who has a major league dream and a rec league appearance.



Looks are deceiving and intuition is often wrong. Team sports such as baseball, basketball and football use millions of data points to override too-human biases, uncover hidden insights, and revolutionize how their games are played. You too can draw on the often surprising wisdom found in an ocean of data to make better life choices. In the fascinating new book, “Don’t Trust Your Gut,” data nerd Seth Stephens-Davidowitz does a deep dive into big data and comes up with a treasure trove of insights. These gems can help you make better life decisions and happier choices about how to spend your precious time. A rich source of actionable data, Stephens-Davidowitz draws on The Mappiness Project that recruited over 60 thousand people and their smartphones to gather over 3 million happiness readings. People were randomly pinged a couple of times each day and asked: What are you doing? How would you rate your mood? The key conclusion from this study is that relaxing with a tv show, social media, or computer games isn't nearly much fun as you think it is. The number one happiness-boosting activity by a wide margin is… 1. Intimacy/Making Love +14.2 (+14.2 is a measure of the gain in happiness relative to not doing the activity) The remaining activities in the top five are: 2. Theater/Dance/Concert +9.29 (Not quite as good as sex, but pretty good) 3. Exhibition/Museum/Library +8.77 (The library is a happy place!) 4. Sports/Running/Exercise +8.12 (Yay!) 5. Gardening +7.83 (Even digging in dirt is good when you do it outdoors!) Using the 5-Minute Recharge sleep-step-sweat-reflect-connect wellness framework, #1 would be the best example of “connect.” Exercise (sweat) was rated #4 and gardening (step) #5. Any activity that involves gentle movement such as walking, gardening or simply getting off the couch to stretch qualifies as “stepping” into something that's good for you. Reflect is the catch-all category for anything that gives you a broader, more thoughtful and appreciative perspective of life. You can add the mood-enhancing effects of reflection to your life through the awe of examining a masterpiece or historical artifact (#3 Exhibition/Museum/Library) or the “collective effervescence” of enjoying a public theatrical or musical performance (#2 on the Mappiness table.) Mappiness participants did not rate sleep (#29) highly, likely because they were irritated when the Mappiness ping woke them up. Adequate sleep maximizes the happiness you get from every activity. I encourage you to print out the Mappiness table below and select one of the top five mood-boosting activities to add to your day. And remember: “Sex makes people happiest, even apparently, if they do it while using their phones to respond to our ping.” - The Mappiness Project



Get Fully Charged on Big Data Happiness Don’t Trust Your Gut: Using data to get what you really want in life Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, Harper Academic, 2022. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz: How to Live the Perfect Life Using Data, Modern Wisdom podcast (YouTube), May 2022 “The Rich are Not Who We Think They Are. And Happiness is Not What We Think It Is Either,” by Seth Stephens- Davidowitz, The New York Times, May 14, 2022. The Mappiness Project The Joy Workout: six research-backed moves to improve your mood,” by Kelly McGonigal, The New York Times, May 24th, 2002. I'm not sure how to categorize this, but today I'm going to Stratford Ontario where former CBC National News Anchor Peter Mansbridge has kindly agreed to drop in on my aunt's 60th nursing reunion (Wellesley Hospital Nursing Class of 1962!) and sign copies of his delightful book, Off the Record. I'll give this activity a happiness score somewhere between the theatre and sex. :)


What will you do? The first person to respond in the comments below with their mood-boosting activity will receive a Mappiness-inspired prize.

81 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All