Posted by: crisdiaz24 | December 22, 2015

What influences our happiness the most? – Cloze Test

Read the text and complete the chart below with a word from the list that comes after the text. Every word can only be used ONCE. There are five words that you do not need to use. Question 0 has been answered as an example.


I have two friends, Seth and Michael, and one of them is a lot happier than the other.

Seth is chronically unhappy. He is often glum[1], frequently 0) ___________, and sometimes hopeless, though he has never been clinically depressed. By contrast, Michael is a 1) ___________ happy person. Although he has his 2) __________ moments and periodic stress, he manages to find joy in his days and is quite content with the way his life is going. To understand why these two men are so different, let me tell you a little bit about them.

Both are in their 3) __________ 40s and doing well in their careers. Michael is a professor of psychology at a prestigious university, who has reasonably bright students, a 4) __________ amount of autonomy in his work, and many opportunities for travel. His research program has been successful, garnering  [2]attention from all over the U.S. Seth is a deputy city attorney in a small but beautiful city right on the Pacific Ocean. He specializes in landlord-tenant disputes and other civil matters, and his success as a litigator has led to occasional media appearances, in which he is asked to speak about his latest cases. He gets a 5) ___________ out of doing that.

Both have 6) __________ families. Seth is married to Allison, whom he met while on sabbatical in the Netherlands, and they have 5-year old twin boys. Michael is married to Holly. They started dating in law school, and now have a boy (age 6) and a girl (age 3).

Both men own homes in the suburbs of a major metropolitan area, about half an hour from the city and their jobs.

So, why is Michael happier than Seth? Was he simply lucky to be born with a 7) __________ disposition? Or, is he more fortunate with regard to the events and circumstances of his life?

Knowing them, I would be hard-pressed to assert that the life situation of one is clearly superior to the other. On balance, 8) __________ seems to have the better job, wife, kids, house, or car. Furthermore, scientific research has shown that prosperity, health, and physical attractiveness are only minimally related to one’s overall happiness. For example, a study by Ed Diener from the University of Illinois demonstrated that the richest Americans – those earning more than $10 million annually – report levels of personal happiness only 9) __________  greater than the people who work for them. So, even if Seth had fewer of life’s “goods,” this shortfall [3]wouldn’t explain his acute unhappiness.

What about genetics? Growing research done with identical and fraternal twins suggests that each person is born with a particular “happiness set point” – that is, a baseline [4]or 10) __________  for happiness to which he or she is bound to return, even after major setbacks or triumphs. The set point for happiness is similar to the set point for weight. Some people are blessed with a “skinny disposition.” Even when they’re not trying, they easily maintain their weight. By contrast, others have to work extraordinarily hard to keep their weight at a desirable level and the moment they slack off even a bit, the pounds creep back on. So, Michael may simply possess a higher set point for happiness, a higher potential for well-being. He doesn’t have to work hard at it – he just is happy.

Adapted from © Sonja Lyubomirsky


BOTH                   FAIR                     LOW                    POTENTIAL


CLOSE-KNIT         KICK                     NEITHER              SLIGHTLY

EARLY                  LATELY                 NONE                   TYPICALLY



1 6
2 7
3 8
4 9
5 10


[1] Glum: The quality or state of being moody, melancholy, and gloomy or an instance of it.

[2] To garner: to gather, to amass, to acquire.


[3] Shortfall: failure to meet a goal or a requirement.

[4] Baseline: an imaginary line, standard of value, etc., by which things are measured or compared





  2. LOW
  3. EARLY
  4. FAIR
  5. KICK

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