What I learned on the 80000 hours website 1I spent some time recently on the 80,000 Hours website. This is a “nonprofit” dedicated to helping people find career opportunities where they can make a real difference in the world, with the ‘80,000 hours’ representing the work of 40 hours per week for 40 years until retirement



And I discovered three things on the site I thought might be of special interest to you.

First, the site reminded me of the Freakonomics study on how life changes can influence how happy a person is.

The study was called, “Heads or Tails: The Impact of a Coin Toss on Major Life Decisions and Subsequent Happiness,” by economist Steven Levitt.

Levitt gathered a substantial number of individuals who found themselves in a state of deep uncertainty regarding a significant life change. After providing them with guidance on navigating difficult decisions, those who remained truly indecisive were offered a unique opportunity to resolve their dilemma by flipping a coin. Approximately 22,500 individuals took part in this coin-flipping exercise.

Afterwards, Levitt conducted follow-up surveys two and six months later, inquiring whether participants had actually made the contemplated change and assessing their level of happiness on a scale of 1 to 10.

Among those who faced crucial choices and obtained a “heads” result from the coin flip – signaling that they should proceed with quitting, breaking up, proposing, beginning a new business or otherwise altering their circumstances – an 11 percentage point increase was observed in the likelihood of taking action.

That’s right – indecisive people were more likely to take action if they let a coin toss determine their next move!

The next time you’re trying to make a big decision and you cannot decide, you might try flipping a coin. Also, notice how you feel when that coin is in the air. Are you hoping for a certain outcome? Then that’s likely your answer.

Second, those who enjoyed the biggest boost to their happiness were those who either quit their job or started their own business. There’s no stats on people who did both, but it’s a good indication that if you’re considering doing one or both of these, then odds are you will be happier for it.

Contemplating starting your online business? Not only will there never be a better time to do it; you’ll almost certainly be happier for it, too.

And the third thing I wanted to share are the predictors of professional happiness. On the site they refer to it as predictors of ‘job’ satisfaction, but what is running a business but having a job working for yourself?

The predictors on whether or not you will be happy with your own business are as follows:

1: Is the work engaging? If it offers you variety, a sense of completion, autonomy, feedback from the content of the work and a sense of contribution, then it’s considered engaging.

2: Are you helping others? Helping others gives you a sense of meaning and purpose. And it’s also the easiest way to build a profitable business that never lacks customers.

3: Are you good at the work? Believing you do the job well is associated with higher motivation, while not having the skills or knowledge needed is likely to lead to stress. Unless, of course, you outsource these areas to others.

4: Do you work with people you like? For your online business, this can mean your peers as well as your customers. If you don’t like the people you deal with daily, you’re not going to enjoy your business. Then again, thanks to the internet it’s easy to place a certain distance between yourself and others.

5: Finally, does the business offer you reasonable hours and enough money to pay the bills? Interestingly, once basic needs are met, then income has only a weak effect on work satisfaction. When working in your own business, you can generally choose your own hours. If you work from home then your commute is non-existent and security can be stronger than anything a job can offer, since only you or a lack of customers can fire you from your business.

What’s my point in all this? Simple. If you’re still contemplating starting your own online business, then I encourage you to get started today to ensure your happiness tomorrow.

The online businesses that are making me happier are >> here <<.

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