September 23, 2018

Measuring Happiness

Can you measure happiness?

If you believe that measurements must be exact and scientific and quantifiable in abstract units, then your answer is probably, “No, that’s impossible!”

But this definition of the word “measurement” is too rigid. Measurements can be extremely helpful, even when they are inexact or approximate or unquantifiable.

You don’t have to attach a scientific unit to a measurement to make it useful as a decision making tool.

For example, it’s easy for me to detect when my dog goes from less happy to more happy, simply by observing her tail. It’s still a measurement, even if I don’t know the precise amount of the increase.

I suppose I could chart the exact increase in wag velocity, but that’s not necessary if all I’m trying to do is decide whether or not to reorder her some Snausages.

Detecting an increase (or decrease) in wags or smiles or lingering or elevator doors being held or spontaneous compliments or group selfies or a million other things could be perfectly valid things to measure depending on what decision you’re trying to make.

Why does this matter, you ask?

This matters because your clients are measuring their happiness with your performance. They can’t help it. It’s involuntary. They do it every time.

If they’re happier after you’re done, they’ll hire you again or give you testimonials or refer you to their friends.

If they’re less happy after you’re done, they’ll have buyer’s remorse or withhold your last payment or badmouth you to their friends.

Therefore, it would be prudent for you to find out how to make your clients happy before you start working with them.

In fact, you should find out what’s going to make them happy before you even give them a price. Because ultimately, increased happiness is what they are paying for.