Below you can see my happiness over three years aggregated (averaged) through difference ways; per day, per week, per month, per year. The picture show nicely how heights and lows get lost when you take the average of something. What does that imply and how do we deal with that during our daily lives? Many scientific studies use averages with questionnaires like; “how happy did you feel you the past month?”. Firstly, I believe the human mind is not able to compute an exact average by balancing the the weekdays, weekends, and holidays to provide a trustworthy and valid answer. Secondly, I think mostly the peaks in experience matter, because humans are prone to remember peaks and depths.

Even in the picture below I average happiness on a single day, which is already quite an action that takes away the peaks and the depths. Moreover, I believe humans are quite well in compensation; after a stressful week, you take a relaxing weekend. This would be in favor of taking the average. Nevertheless, the experience of high-low stress isn’t the same as two relative low-stress days. read more about this in this blog: http://www.justintimmer.com/a-critical-view-on-the-average/

Therefore, I think that taking the average is often a harmful decision. 

Leave a Reply