The surprising science of happiness | Dan Gilbert - Deepstash

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The surprising science of happiness | Dan Gilbert

The surprising science of happiness | Dan Gilbert

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Impact Bias

Impact bias is the tendency to overestimate the hedonic impact of future events.

For example, consider two groups of people where one group won the lottery, and the other group became paraplegics. Data shows people of both groups are equally happy a year after the e...

In 1642, Sir Thomas Brown wrote that he is the happiest man alive. "I have that in me that can convert poverty to riches, adversity to prosperity, and I am more invulnerable than Achilles. Fortune hath not one place to hit me. "

All humans have the same remarkable notion

Synthesising happiness

  • Natural happiness is what we get when we obtain what we want.
  • Synthetic happiness is what we make when we don't get what we want. 

In our society, we strongly believe that synthetic happiness is of an inferior kind. Howev...

All human beings have this capacity to synthesize happiness, but some can do it more effectively.

  • Freedom - the ability to make up your mind and change your mind - is a friend of natural happiness because it allows you to choose the one you would most enjoy. 
  • H...

The importance of understanding synthetic happiness

In a Harvard study, students could join one of two photography courses where they can also develop two of their best photos, one for them and the other for headquarters.

  • They could join the course where they had four days to decide which photo they wanted to keep.

Bounded and unbounded ambition

Our desires are often overblown. Of course, some things are better than others, but when our preferences drive us too hard and too fast because we overrate the difference between the two, we risk sacrificing things of real value. 

When our ambition is bounded, we're prudent...

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