"I've learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances." Martha Washington
I found this nugget on the Happy News website today, and to an extent, I agree with Martha. How people react to circumstances does vary according to their dispositions. For instance, patient people weather the storms of life much more calmly than impatient people. Cheerful people might get knocked down by circumstances, but they will rebound much more quickly and work their way through the bad times more easily than morose people.
It reminds me of a study I read a few years ago. The researchers looked at college yearbook photos to see if smiles (or lack thereof) in the photos predicted future happiness. Decades after the photos were taken, people with smiley yearbook photos were much more likely to report higher levels of happiness than the people who had not smiled for their photo.
Geneticists tell us our disposition is programmed into our genes. Self-help gurus tell us we can think our way to a happier disposition. I suspect that, as usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
What do you think?