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THE MYTH: “we know what will make us happy”

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By: Maria Gil. THE MYTH: “we know what will make us happy”. INTRO. we = very poor at imagining the consequences of both happy and sad events We = over-estimate both how unhappy we would be if something bad happened and also how happy we will be if something good happens 1.

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intro
INTRO
  • we = very poor at imagining the consequences of both happy and sad events
  • We = over-estimate both how unhappy we would be if something bad happened
  • and also how happy we will be if something good happens1
first of all do we know what makes us happy in the first place
FIRST OF ALL…DO WE KNOW WHAT MAKES US HAPPY IN THE FIRST PLACE?
  • materialistic things rarely

determine long-term

happiness

  • Happiness  determined by natural factors, awareness, and experiences
  • British philosophers John Locke and Jeremy Bentham claimed happiness is determined by the number of positive events experienced in life2
human behavior is just an attempt to achieve happiness
HUMAN BEHAVIOR IS JUST AN ATTEMPT TO ACHIEVE HAPPINESS
  • "positive hedonic experience" is what valuing means.
  • We can\'t say what\'s good without saying what it is good for
  • different individual experiences contain different amounts of happiness = basic dimension or basic component of experience
  • Experiences that have different amounts of happiness can feel completely different
  • So if we don’t even know what makes us happy in the first place, how will we know what will makes us happy in the future? 3
how well can the human brain predict its own future fulfillment
HOW WELL CAN THE HUMAN BRAIN PREDICT ITS OWN FUTURE FULFILLMENT?
  • We are fairly poor at predicting what

will make us happy in the future

  • Modern people take the ability to imagine

the future for granted

  • The part of our brain that allows us to create the future is one of nature\'s newest inventions
  • so it isn\'t surprising that when we try to use this new ability to imagine our futures, we make some errors
  • The main error = is that we vastly overestimate the hedonic (good or bad) consequences of any event.
  • we don\'t seem to learn all that much from our own experience.
  • To learn from experience requires  that we be able to remember it, and research shows that people are about as bad at remembering their past emotions as they are predicting their future emotions.
  • That\'s why we make the same errors again and again 3
get the better in the future leave the wrong in the past
GET THE BETTER IN THE FUTURE, LEAVE THE WRONG IN THE PAST
  • Negative emotions have important roles to play in our lives
  • because when people think about how terribly wrong things might go and find themselves feeling angry or afraid, they take actions to make sure that things go terribly right instead
  • Anxiety and fear  keeps us warned
  • Emotion  range that tells us what to do
  • Errors are bad - it is better to be able to predict the future than not
  • knowing what will make us happy increases our ability to reach it
  • We have brains that can foresee the future in a way that no other animal ever has
  • Foresight in general allows us to take a glance of the long-term consequences of our actions + to take events to avoid the bad ones and promote the good ones
variety and time
VARIETY AND TIME
  • We\'re all told that variety is the spice of life
  • Research shows that people do tend to

seek more variety than they should

  • We all think we should try a different doughnut

every time we go to the shop, but the fact is that people are measurably happier when they have their favorite on every visit — provided the visits are sufficiently separated in time

  • If you had to eat 4 donuts in rapid succession  variety would certainly spice up your experience
  • But if you had to eat 4 donuts on 4 separate Mondays, variety would lower your overall enjoyment
  • The human brain has great difficulty reasoning about time
primal innocence
PRIMAL INNOCENCE
  • some people retain the romantic concept that human unhappiness results from the loss of our primal innocence
  • Every generation has the illusion that things were easier and better in a simpler past  but things are easier and better today than at any time in human history
  • If human kind flourishes  it will be because we embraced learning and reason
sources
SOURCES
  • (http://www.kaizen-training.com/top-ten-myths-about-the-brain)
  • http://psychcentral.com/lib/2011/what-makes-us-happy/)
  • http://edge.org/conversation/the-science-of-happiness
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