When I first brought my current husband to Turkey, I tried to prepare myself for anything that could happen – flight delays, language difficulties, digestive issues. .
But I wasn’t ready when, as we walked into a beautiful beach club on the Aegean coast, he grumbled, “What are we going to do?”
“What do you mean?” I said. “Lie down, enjoy the sun and the sea.”
“But what about the things to do: beach volleyball, discus, water sports?”
“There isn’t any of that. We are just here to relax. “
This is the first time I feel our cultural difference. He’s American, and I’m Turkish. He needs to “do everything.” I want chills. Over the years, he has become more relaxed—more Turkish, if you will.
But I’m starting to see all the imperative ways to “do the job” continue to march in the United States
It transforms and translates into short catchphrases like YOLO “you only live once” and “rise and crush”. I see it in the way people brag about how busy they are, like it’s a badge of honor. And I see it in the rise of the “hustle culture,” or the collective urge to get as much done in as little time as possible, while always keeping an eye on the next opportunity.
Fundamental to it all is the belief that resting or relaxing is a waste of time.
I wonder: How can these attitudes affect people’s happiness? And are some cultures more likely than others to promote such beliefs?
Ruin all the fun
In a new series of studies I’ve done with marketing professors like Gabbie Tonietto, Rebecca Reczek, and Mike Norton, we’ve tried to find some answers.
In one study, 141 college students participated in our behavioral lab at Ohio State University. They came in to complete a series of surveys, in which we asked them to what extent they agreed with certain statements: “Time spent in leisure activities is often wasted time.” “Most leisure activities are a way to pass the time,” which measures whether they subscribe to the idea that entertainment is pointless.
In these monotonous and tedious studies, participants watched four funny and popular YouTube videos that were rated as enjoyable by another group of participants. After watching all four videos, the participants said how much they liked them.
We found that participants who thought entertainment was a waste did not enjoy the video as much.
In a follow-up study, we asked participants to indicate how much they enjoyed engaging in a variety of leisurely experiences — some active, like exercise, and some passive, like watching TV. Others are social – hanging out with friends – or solitary, such as meditating.
We’ve found that people who view entertainment as wasteful tend to be less interested in all sorts of different activities. Furthermore, these people are also more likely to suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression.
An attitude that is hard to shake
In another study, we wanted to see the extent to which this is a unique American phenomenon. So we recruited participants from France, the US and India – the countries selected as low, medium and high, respectively, based on Hofstede’s passion for the industry. reliance.
We asked them to indicate the extent to which they agreed with the idea that entertainment is wasteful. In keeping with popular stereotypes, there are far fewer French…
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