Happiness is Decreased by Freedom??

Dan Gilbert’s Ideas on Happiness

We have mental simulators that no other animal has. This allows us to simulate and weigh the outcomes of a decision

Our mental simulators don’t work well

  • We overestimate the effect that bad events have on our happiness
  • Three months after almost anything good or bad happens, our happiness level is back to normal
  • This is because we can synthesize happiness

Synthesizing happiness

  • After something bad happens, our minds allow us to just move on and tell ourselves that we’re better off
  • The catch is, our minds do a great job of synthesizing happiness when the bad thing is forced upon us
  • However, the more choice we are given, the worse off we feel if we were wrong

The Paradox of Choice

This is an incredibly interesting idea in my view, because it overlaps with a talk that Barry Schwartz gave on how an increase in options leads to a decrease in satisfaction. He gives the example that when we only had two pairs of jeans to choose from, light or dark, people were happier with their choice. But now they go into a store and have 50 choices for jeans and they leave less satisfied in their choice.

Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 1.18.00 PM

http://pauseforclarity.com/2013/06/18/great-ted-talks-the-paradox-of-choice/

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