The culmination of my four-year obsession with happiness research is that I think people need to choose between an interesting life or happy life. (Note: This does not mean you are interesting or not interesting. I am talking about what values guide your decision making.) I think the things that make life happy have to do with complacency, and the things that make life interesting have to do with lack of complacency. If you want to read more about this, search on my sidebar “happiness” and “interesting” and you’ll get a bazillion posts because I’ve been obsessed with the topic.

I have discovered that I would rather be interesting than happy. The good news is that even though I'm punting on the quest for happiness, I do have a good sense of how to know if you should be seeking happiness yourself, or if your quest for interesting makes happiness a lost cause.

Here's the test:

1. Did you relocate away from family for a better job or another more interesting experience? Minus one

You would have to earn $150,000 more from a job if you were doing it far away from family, according to economist Nattavudh Powdthavee of University of York.

2. Did you relocate to be near family? Plus one

Happiness does not come from a job, or from being revered by your peers. It comes from personal relationships.

3. Are you nationally recognized as being great at doing something or do you have nationally-recognized expert knowledge in something? Or are you reorganizing your life in order to achieve this end? Minus one

Interesting people raise the bar on themselves. They are singularly focused because they recognize that in order to be great, you need to be focused. They will sacrifice other things in life for this obsession.

4. Were you a happy child? Plus one

Sixty percent of our ability to be happy is predetermined by our genes.

5. Do your friends pray? Plus one

People who pray are happier than people who do not pray, probably because having faith is fundamentally optimistic. (You can be any religion, and pray for anything.) Happiness is contagious, and we are more likely to be happy if our friends are happy.

6. Do you need your kids to go to a school that is recognized as excellent in national rankings? Minus one.

People who need the best of everything — maximizers — are not happy people.

7. Do you have fat friends? Plus one

Fat people are not generally maximizers. And if your friends are not maximizers than you probably aren't either.

8. Do you have an opinion on Picasso? Minus one

People who focus on interesting are quicker to form opinions on subjective topics.

9. Do you have three friends who are a Jew, a Muslim and a born-again Christian? Minus one

Diversity is interesting, but in small groups (like friends) it does not make for happiness, according to Frans Johansson, author of The Medici Effect.

10. Are you a Republican? Plus one

Republicans are happier than democrats. This dichotomy is based a lot on personality. Republicans tend to have personality traits that are uncomfortable with change, whereas people who lean democrat tend to have personality traits of change agents, according to personality research from Xyte.

11. Do you think Christmas is a national holiday? Plus one

Christmas is not a national holiday, because the US is not a Christian country. But regardless of what’s true, homogenous thinking breeds happiness. It's why countries like Sweden and Finland are so happy. They are homogenous.

12. Have you been to a therapist? Minus one

Peopel who are interesting but not happy have a point where they need to make sure they are okay. Also, they are interested in finding out about themselves even if they are fine. The ratio of therapists to citizens is lowest in populations that skew to maximizers (like New York City and San Francisco).

13. Do you know the difference between $70 eyebrows and $20 eyebrows? Minus one

It doesn’t matter if you spend that much for eyebrows. But if you know why people who must have good eyebrows cannot take chances, and why most people have terrible eyebrows, then you took the time to find out enough about eyebrows to know what is best and how yours could be better.

14. Can you tell the difference between real diamonds and fake diamonds. Plus one

Trick question. A maximizer will have tried to learn to figure it out and will have learned that even experts can't without a special tool.

15. Have you tried on a pair of $200 jeans? Minus one

If you are not interested in seeing what they look like on you, you probably just want to be happy with how you are. People who are interested in new experiences are less likely to be happy, according to Psychology Today.

16. Do you think this test is BS? Plus one

People with interesting lives do not get offended that they cannot be happy. Happy people are offended that they cannot have interesting lives.

Scoring:

-8 to -3 You have a desire for interestingness over happiness

3 to 8 You have a desire for happiness over interestingness.

-2 to 2 You are suspiciously well balanced. Or lacking a self-identity. I’m not sure which.

252 replies
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  1. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    I find this whole topic fascinating, even if I disagree. I think you can be both happy and interesting. (Although, maybe that just means I’m happy and offended.) It’s true that people are annoyed when they have to wait for the train to cross the street but will stop to look if it derails.

  2. Erin A.
    Erin A. says:

    Hmm I scored -5 but I think I am pretty happy. I feel like I work on curbing my maximizer tendencies. My satisficer husband helps with that. I also recognize the value of relationships and work very hard to maintain and build strong personal relationships.

    Interesting post.

    • Sture B
      Sture B says:

      I have tried a lot in my life, a lot off money in a periode don’t make me happy, but in this periode off my life where i help many in the street this time i was happy.

  3. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    Great blog post. Interesting. And it made me happy. ;) I have also enjoyed studying this idea. I have found the research of Arthur Brooks on happiness most intriguing. Thanks again for the logical approach to happiness.

  4. Tanya
    Tanya says:

    I think the lower bound for the scoring should be -8 for ‘extremely interesting’ or ‘extremely miserable’ depending on the point of view…

  5. Michael Nielsen
    Michael Nielsen says:

    This is all very theoretical. Did you try hard to find examples of people who are really, truly both extremely interesting and extremely happy? If you can find one example, it blows your idea to bits. I can think of many examples.

    • Catherine
      Catherine says:

      I know a few examples & couldn’t stop thinking of them while reading this. I think PT’s approach to the concepts of ‘happy’ & ‘interesting’ and her current notions of what they mean are somewhat misguided.

  6. justamouse
    justamouse says:

    You crack me up. :-)

    I’m an INFJ. I don’t have it in me to sacrifice the well being of my tribe to be interesting. I’m OK with that. I plan on becoming Auntie Mame as I age.

  7. Jade @ Tasting Grace
    Jade @ Tasting Grace says:

    This post is really interesting, though I’m a bit skeptical. (Though, perhaps I’m like the first commenter and just happy and offended.) With Q#3, I think it matters what the national recognition is in. Is it in a hobby you do on the side that gives you personal fulfillment? Or is it in your entire career that requires all your focus? And how important is that recognition to you? For some people it is the end to which everything else must relate. For others, it is icing on the cake. So I think those distinctions make a difference in how happy you are.

    Also, I’m not sure people who are single-mindedly driven for national rankings and sending their kids to nationally ranked programs are necessarily more interesting. That’s definitely not a marker for being more original or authentic in any case.

    Q#8 also seems to be conflating subjectivity and familiarity with the subject. I’m pretty sure Art and Art History majors who’ve spent entire semesters studying Picasso and the movements before and after him would be more likely to have formed some opinion of his work or even the man himself than someone who only as a vague notion of cubist art.

    On Q#10, I’d be really curious to see the data and methods on that. I wonder if they might be conflating party identification with other factors (like religiosity, socioeconomic status, etc.).

    I do think it’s possible to choose interesting things because they make us happy and that this dichotomy may be a little overstated. It may be that we choose more interesting/less happy in some areas in our life and more happy/less interesting in other areas (and then the key distinction would be which area has the biggest impact on overall happiness). Also, it may be that even in one area, say career for example, we choose something that is “interesting”…but we sacrifice some of the “interestingness” (like acclaim) for happiness (like family and relationships).

    Anyway, I do find this all fascinating and I’m not trying to tear everything down here. I just think some distinctions could be a little more fine-tuned.

  8. Chris Yeh
    Chris Yeh says:

    +2. But I definitely prefer happiness to interestingness.

    One possibility is that I get my interestingness by proxy–I know a large number of interesting people (e.g. Penelope, Ramit Sethi, Ben Casnocha, David Weekly, etc.) whom I work with and help on a regular basis.

    As a result, I’m content to remain a behind-the-scenes figure or a mentor’s mentor (http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2008/05/17/how-i-got-my-current-favorite-mentor/).

    Not that I wouldn’t mind appearing on national television; I’m just not willing to put in the hard work to do so.

  9. JR
    JR says:

    Based on P’s past blog entries, I have to wonder whether she came out on the happy side of even a single question.

  10. Guruprasad
    Guruprasad says:

    -6 ! I definitely want to have an interesting life, but at the same time I spend a lot of time worrying about how to be Happy and not get lost in the forest of doing things. Like, I would keep asking myself ‘What is this all about ? Where is it all going ?’. Sometimes this puts me off track and makes it very difficult to concentrate on getting things done.

    Great post btw. Love your blogs !

    • Angelic427
      Angelic427 says:

      What a happy bunch of interesting people :)
      Loved the tongue in cheek ~ We make jokes when we are faced with a reality check. There is nothing that prevents us from being & doing all the above. I don’t see living a happy life and being interest(-ing)(-ed) as mutually exclusive. I seem to lean in one direction for a while and then the other, balancing act~ closing in on zero as the desired sum of life. “Suspiciously well balanced” is good. I scored a +1, yet found myself mildly concerned that I “appeared” to be happier than I was interesting (or -ed), at which thought I could only smile as I settled into the zero bucket…lol.

  11. Joe
    Joe says:

    You’re drawing a false symmetry between being interesting and being high-maintenance. Watch Louis CK’s excellent comedy clip; the people he’s making fun of aren’t interesting, they’re just malcontents. Having $70 eyebrows, wanting $70 eyebrows, or being able to tell the difference between $70 and $20 eyebrows, do not make you interesting; if anything, the opposite is true.

  12. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    Suspiciously well-balanced–OR–have changed. I used to live my life to be interesting, so I got lots of those interesting points. But in my late 30s I decided I was ready for happiness instead and that decision led me to pick up some happiness points. That said, though, I’m kind of confused as to how I wound up negative. If you start from zero, and subtract points and add points, surely only happy people can wind up in positive territory? Your scoring chart therefore seems very wrong.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I scored negative 5. And that made me realize that I did the scoring at the end of the post the wrong way. So I revised the scoring. Math is always hard for me, by the way, which doesn’t bother me that much because I find that the deficit makes my life more interesting :)

      Penelope

  13. Chris M.
    Chris M. says:

    Another -5 who considers herself very happy! I guess being part of an optimizing couple who has moved overseas for better jobs and international recognition of our work, who don’t feel the need to live close to our families, helps.

    Also having relatives and friends with enough money to travel and come see us in the US in-between our trips to visit our native country is probably another factor.

    On a side note, I think I was born with perfect eyebrows. I keep being asked by beauty professionals where I got my eyebrows done because they say they look great, and guess what, I’ve never had them done anywhere, so who knows, perhaps not having to worry about one’s eyebrows is a major factor in being able to be happy while pursuing an interesting life, heh.

  14. prklypr
    prklypr says:

    This post made me smile, which made me happy, which made me not interested in my score. But please Penelope, could you proofread before you post?? Sweeeeeeden?

  15. David
    David says:

    Are you a praying Republican with lots of obese pals? Then you’re deliriously happy, because you’re too damn stupid to know any better.

    What garbage.

  16. DC
    DC says:

    I’m not buying this premise (yours) at all: “I think the things that make life happy have to do with complacency, and the things that make life interesting have to do with lack of complacency.”

    I’ll go with Eleanor Roosevelt’s take: “Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.” So, happiness does not come from complacency, it comes from action.

    I think what you’ve really discovered about yourself is that you’d rather be interesting than right–which is rather sad.

  17. Connie
    Connie says:

    My mom just passed away and what comforts me the most is to know that she was so happy. She had a smile for everyone and wanted everyone to feel good (even complete strangers). She earned and saved a lot of money over her life, and could have traveled the world, and done whatever she wanted. But instead, she worked 2 or 3 or 4 days a week – in a small luncheonette. She shopped in Sears (she loved buying little shirts and things for people) and Kmart and Pathmark – boring and uninteresting stores, but she knew all the sales clerks and they loved seeing her. So she was very social – people would go to the luncheonnette (where she worked) just to see her. A few lost souls, who had no one in their lives, would go and have breakfast or lunch just to see that amazing smile of hers. She made people happy because they felt loved.
    I think something that proves you are happy is when you want others to be happy around you and when you are generous to them. People are happy when they do nice things for people – whether they know them or not. Today it was snowing that wet kind of snow and I saw a woman running for a bus & she clearly was not going to catch it. So I opened my car window and told her to jump in and I drove her to the next bus stop. She couldn’t believe I was doing this and said “God bless you” with a huge smile. That made me happy. My mother would have done something like that. She certainly would have been happy that I did that.
    My memories of her always include her amazing smile. She saved and saved, and didn’t spend much on herself, and didn’t travel much – in fact – only to her family in MA & WV. She didn’t have hobbies other than playing cards. But when we played we were so happy …. Her legacy is her love and her happiness. She wasn’t an interesting person, but she was the most fascinating person I’ll ever know.

    • J (the regular)
      J (the regular) says:

      Connie,
      I loved reading this comment- your mother sounds like she was a wonderful woman. Thank you for sharing.

    • Pam McCormick
      Pam McCormick says:

      Connie this is the most beautiful story about your Mom and her legacy lives in you.I have a daughter that is my whole life, she is everything to me and I will be thrilled if she has these kinds of memories of me when I die.I am very happy in life, a simple life and ALWAYS happiest when I am with my daughter.Stay safe and happy! all my best wishes sent to you

  18. JR
    JR says:

    Penelope –

    I think you would make a good Jesuit. You should read this book: How Big Is Your God? The Freedom to Experience the Divine by Paul Coutinho, S.J.

    Happiness is something that comes from within. So, if being interesting is what fulfills you or make you “happy”, then go for it and accept that there will be pain along the way.

  19. David
    David says:

    Many praying Republicans believe everything’s ok because of course poverty and environmental crises are just part of God’s plan. As is executing and imprisoning lots of black men. (Check out “opiates, masses”)

    By far your least thoughtful column, and it raises questions about your judgment.

  20. Editormum
    Editormum says:

    “Suspiciously well-balanced” checking in here. You CAN be happy and interesting, but it takes work. And work is, oddly enough, something that we need to be happy. Meaningful work, that is.

    It’s important to note that human beings live in a constant state of undulation … riding the roller-coaster from one end of the happy spectrum to the other. We are not static creatures, and when we find ourselves in completely static circumstances, we become unhappy. However, we are also programmed to want stability, so if things are too unstable, we become unhappy. I learned a long time ago that maintaining the balance between stability and adventure is key to my being predominantly happy in life. Not that always feel happy … a casual read of my blog or my Facebook status history will reveal the truth there! But on the whole, I’m fairly happy.

    And I think we need the unhappy times in our lives. Without them, would we recognize “happy” when it showed up?

    P.S.: Tell your proofreader that he’s sleeping on the job. There are a number of typos in this post … such that I found myself being distracted by them and struggling to focus on your post. ;-)

      • Editormum
        Editormum says:

        Sandy’s right … no one can proof their own work. Not even professional editors. So, maybe you need to hire someone to proof your posts before you make them public. Not that the occasional typo bothers me, but, being a freelance editor and proofreader(yes, there is a difference), I find that more than two or three in a post and I take off my “interested reader” hat and put on my “eagle-eyed editor” hat without even thinking about it.

        You have a house-manager to handle the details of running your home, and a nanny to handle the details of minding your kids, so hiring an editor to handle the details of your professional writing might not be a bad idea.

  21. Jade @ Tasting Grace
    Jade @ Tasting Grace says:

    P.S. Not to be a bear about this either, but I scored a zero because i got some minus points for interesting and some plus points for happy and some things didn’t apply and there was nothing that said to add or subtract for that so I ended up with zero. Which should stand for balanced maybe? But based on the scoring system looks like I went for everything interesting and nothing happy.

  22. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    I think happiness and objective interesting-ness are unrelated. However I think happiness and /self perceived/ interesting-ness are closely tied. If you’re constantly disrupting things in your life that make you happy in order to be more interesting then you’re probably not going to be happy. It’s like stuff… the shopping buzz wears off. People generally adjust to their level of interesting-ness and it become boring to them. Been there done that… whats next?

  23. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    Religious people are happier than nonreligious people? Well, I guess that makes sense. Drunk people are happier than sober people.

    Maybe the same applies to Republicans.

  24. Jen
    Jen says:

    Enjoyed this post and appreciate the conclusion you’ve come to regarding the difference between striving to be happy versus interesting. After reading the comments it seems like some missed your point in that they aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. Personally, I find your thoughts comforting. In the happiness research I’ve done, I’ve considered the suggestions to increase happiness and decide it’s not worth it. I’m not offended. I’ll take interesting any day of the week. I’ll also choose to surround myself with interesting people. Thanks for this post. I look forward to more like it.

  25. Bill
    Bill says:

    You had me going for a few minutes. It wasn’t until the 5th or 6th question that I realized this was a joke.

    Excellent! Thank you.

  26. GoodStuffNW
    GoodStuffNW says:

    Sorry Penelope, but I’m both interesting and happy. Can I add lucky to the mix, too? I find it odd that your test gives or deducts points for subjective things like eyebrows or diamonds. Maybe you need to adjust your attitude about the things you define as “interesting” or “happy” – you might find that you’re both.

  27. Krystle
    Krystle says:

    So, being happy is about being content with what you have. Being a maximizer (i.e. overachiever) means always striving for something more, which means not being satisfied with what you have. I can see your point, and it’s something I’ve realized personally. But it looks like I chose to be happy and boring. :)

  28. KateNonymous
    KateNonymous says:

    I’m not sure how to score this. Is it over the course of my life, or within some defined timeframe? For example, I’ve moved both to and away from family for a variety of reasons (from: I went away to college and grad school; to: I couldn’t find a job and had to move home; from: the job I found was awful and there were few local opportunities; to: I got married). But even that doesn’t tell you that I come from a family that has moved a lot for generations and finds the process to be neither traumatic nor an indicator of how emotionally close you are to your loved ones.

    So I guess this quiz might be interesting, but I’m not sure I’d find it informative.

  29. Catherine Chang
    Catherine Chang says:

    This is an interesting blog post even though I disagree with a lot of the points you made. Halfway through the quiz, I already knew that I would end up being the "interesting yet unhappy" type. I definitely don't think that I am completely satisfied with where I am now, but I think doing interesting things will eventually lead me to a happy place in life. I strongly disagree that complacency leads to happiness. In fact, I think it's quite the opposite. Happiness is relative and changes with time and events in life. For example, who is to say a person who might be content with just a high school degree wouldn't be happier if s/he went on to go to college? They certainly wouldn't know without ever having tried it. Also, happiness is also highly subjective, leading an interesting lifestyle can be highly rewarding emotionally to some but not to others. I guess what I'm trying to say is that being interesting and happiness are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Quizzes like these are made to simplify highly complex questions and has obviously has its limitations so I'll leave it at that. Great job for trying to boil it down to a couple of interesting points! 

  30. Naima
    Naima says:

    i had an interesting childhood, it was very interesting but totally unhappy. so, now that i had a kid i’m dedicated to happiness. sameness and calm. its nice and totally boring. but, i’m completely NOT offended about not being interesting. boring is where it’s at.

  31. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I totally disagre with you on this. If you value being interested to the point that you are willing to really strive for it, then working for it will make you happy. And people who are miserable are never interesting. That’s just stupid. Sorry, but it is. There is a difference between being a ‘maximiser’ and seeking out the best, and being unhappy with the way things are. If you are truly a maximiser, then you will be happy when things appear to be working out.

    And the test was funny – $70 eyebrows vs. $20 eyebrows? LOL. For the record, I am very happy, yet according to this little ‘test’ I’m not: I only scored -2!

  32. Jamie Beckland
    Jamie Beckland says:

    OK, so I scored a -6.

    But, I think that many people in the comments have misunderstood your test, Penelope. It does not determine *whether* you are happy, but whether you *organize your time and priorities* around being happy.

    So, I am happy, but that’s *precisely because* I have lots of interests – I think that people who are not interested in lots of interesting things are, well, boring. And that makes me not-happy.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Yeah, you’re right, Jamie. Thanks for clarifying. The test shows you what you are striving for, what matters most to you. Not what you have achieved or how you feel.

      Penelope

  33. Erica
    Erica says:

    Answers / scoring for the quiz should go at the end. If I know which way to answer each question to improve my happiness score, then you might as well just reduce the whole quiz and have people self-identify as happiness-maximizers or “interestingness”-maximizers.

  34. Green
    Green says:

    Penelope I like you a lot, and your blog, but this is the most ridiculous fucking quiz I’ve ever seen (and I used to read Cosmo quizzes!). I’m jewish! More than half of my friends are jewish! In my world, being jewish is NOT being a minority.

    Oh, and my friends ARE my family. The family I was born into? Abusive and outrageously unhealthy. I could go on and on.

  35. Roberta
    Roberta says:

    Your conflation of pursuing an interesting life and being interesting is silly (sentences like “Happy people are offended that they cannot be interesting”). I tend to find constant maximizers fairly tedious in conversation – the constant discussion of the amount one ought to pay for eyebrows is kind of, um, stupid (and I say that as someone who regularly pays mid-level prices for shapely eyebrows. Though it would never occur to me to fly somewhere to get them done.)

    Even on things that actually are somewhat important (e.g. kids’ schools), the naval gazing and constant weighing of options is really really boring (and, as a math-y finance type, I can’t help but think that the time-opportunity-cost of finding the maximum outweighs any possible benefit over the 99th percentile solution.)

    Incidentally, I scored a -2, but my mental self-image has me somewhere more happiness focused than that.

    Last random comment on the test: the diamond question doesn’t distinguish between those of us who immediately thought “no clue” versus those who actually researched – are trick questions really of any use in a self-assessment test?

    • Brent
      Brent says:

      Good point, Roberta, about Penelope’s conflation of “an interesting life” and “be[ing] interesting.” She smoothly slides from one concept to the other as if they were the same, but of course they’re not. What kind of life you have is a completely different question from what kind of person you are. I was scrolling and skimming downward to see if anyone else had noticed this before I posted about as if I were the first.

      So which is it you want, Penelope — to have an interesting life, or to be an interesting person? (Fun quiz, by the way. Kind of BS, but whatev.) You can want both of those things, of course, but they’re two different things to want, not the same thing. I’m sure you’ve read way more about happiness research than I have, but your conflation of two such basic concepts in this area makes me wonder how well you understand the material, frankly. And I’m particularly troubled by your equation of happiness and complacency, as other commenters have previously mentioned. I just did a search on “complacent” in your blog, and nowhere do you cite research to support the equivalency of happiness and complacency. Nowhere, in fact, do you cite research to support any of your opinions about complacency. Nor does a fairly quick Google search turn up any peer-reviewed literature supporting the equivalency of happiness and complacency. This is your idea, Penelope, not some expert’s; nor does it appear to be supported by any experts. And it is in fact contradicted by the positive-psychology research I’ve done (namely the work of psychologist Barbara Fredrickson).

      If you don’t want to be happy, then fine; and if you don’t want to be complacent, also fine; but I think it’s inaccurate to imply that they’re the same, or to believe that in rejecting one you’re automatically rejecting the other. For myself, I believe that complacency is to be rejected but that happiness is to be cultivated. Having an interesting life and being complacent probably are mutually exclusive, but an interesting life and a happy life are not, I’m happy (and interested) to say.

  36. JC
    JC says:

    I feel like this whole concept is confused. Why is there a dichotomy between happy and interesting lives? How is money related to an interesting life? Is a maximizer not happy?

    I think you have confused “interesting” with “pretentious.”

    For fun, I took your quiz. I scored -2. I like to think I lead an interesting life, but maybe I don’t. I like to enact change socially and locally. I am not a Republican (“I never vote for anyone; I always vote against. – W. C. Fields”). I can go on and on.
    Argh… this quiz bothers me! I have fat friends who are intense maximizers (Penelope, perhaps you don’t know and have never met gamers). Children aren’t happy because of genetics, but because of their environment (how was YOUR home life as a child? Are you happy now?), and people who move away from their family may be happier because their family is a source of dissent.

    Happiness, and the path to get there, is ill-defined. Making generalizations about it creates buzz and makes people feel good about their directions in life, but that doesn’t mean there is a single absolute truth about happiness.

    I think this was the most frustrating post you have written in a while! People don’t function on generalizations! Have you ever met the average person?

    (Also, you forgot to spellcheck… :P )

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      This post is the culmination of about 50 posts I’ve done about happiness. I have covered most of this stuff. For example, yes, maximizers are not happy. This is a factual point — it’s part of Schwartz’s definition of maximizer (he’s the guy who coined the term). So you should go back and read some of the happiness posts. I think you’ll like them. Search “happiness” in the search box on the sidebar.

      -Penelope

  37. Bill
    Bill says:

    I’m flabbergasted! Is it actually possible that so many people here honestly missed the point that she was probably just bored, and felt like turning out some humorous prattle this time?

    Good grief. Some of you seem to truly think this was a serious piece. Unbelievable.

  38. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    Have you run out of interesting things to say? This is retarded.

    You have this view of yourself as this incredibly edgy and complicated person when it seems like in actual fact, you are just a high-maintenance pain in the ass.

    Penelope attacks fat people….blah blah blah…Penelope spruiks the benefits of expensive eyebrows…blah blah blah.

    It’s all becoming sadly predictable.

  39. H
    H says:

    This test equates materialism and the pursuit of external rewards with interestingness (eyebrows, diamonds, jeans, national recognition). But the people I know who are interesting aren’t the ones who buy things and do things to get other people’s approval as being “interesting”. They’re the ones who approach life with a unique perspective. There are people who travel and aren’t changed by the travelling and who go to art museums without feeling the art and form opinions on picasso because it’s something an interesting person does. and people who spend $200 on jeans that don’t have any more instrinsic value than the $30 pair but come with the label and the prestige. Being interesting is a mindset, not a set of circumstances. And some of the posters above are right, thinking that your unhappiness is the same as being interesting doesn’t make you interesting. It’s like being thirteen and dressing counterculture because you think being different is cool. Grow up, be different because your ideas happen to be different, not because you’re trying to be different/cool.

      • Elizabeth
        Elizabeth says:

        H,

        Unfortunately, like many commenters above, it seems you are missing the point.

        This test doesn’t equate materialism and the pursuit of external rewards with interestingness – it equates those things with the a tendency to pursue interestingness rather than happiness.

        P started out by saying “This does not mean you are interesting or not interesting. I am talking about what values guide your decision making.

      • Elizabeth
        Elizabeth says:

        Yep, you’re absolutely right :). Just for something different Penelope’s title doesn’t match the content. Sometimes I wonder if she does it as a head fake on us poor readers ;-).

      • Elizabeth
        Elizabeth says:

        Absolutely :). Just for something different Penelope’s title doesn’t match the content. Sometimes I wonder if she does it intentionally as a head fake to us readers ;-).

  40. Steven Grant
    Steven Grant says:

    I made the choice rather early seek interesting over “happy”. I disagree with some of the comments about how that impacts my “view of myself”. I don’t view *myself* as interesting or “edgy” – but I choose do *do* things that *I* find interesting over doing things that are comfortable.

    It also does not mean that I am not “happy”. It’s about how you make choices and not the result of how you see yourself or how other’s judge you.

  41. Enrique
    Enrique says:

    Regarding this. Simply put. Anger is the reaction which will most lead one to falling on the un happy side of life.

    The choice is ours every second. It’s as simple as personal a choice to be happy or sad and anger, at our selves or others will trigger this.

    Also Giving is the most important act of all towards being happy. Give as much as you can and happiness shall follow.

    generate less anger and give more… :)

  42. David Rosen
    David Rosen says:

    Do I think this test is BS? Yes. I sort of makes me unhappy to read the questions. But, since I am comment number 64, I doubt anyone will read this. While I am commenting, I wanted to say that I did get something out of your review of Seth Godin’s book, specifically the concept of being charming enough not to get fired when you’re difficult. Unfortunately, I got laid off so that one doesn’t count. Finally, I hate the term “emerging.”

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