Monday, October 02, 2006

Stumbling on Happiness...

I heard Author Daniel Gilbert interviewed yesterday, and I found his argument that:

"most of us wrongly believe that how we felt when we experienced an event in the past can be a telling predictor of how we will feel about that same event in the future".

Gilbert says that we also incorrectly imagine that how we feel about a situation we are currently experiencing, is how we will feel about it in the future. (I will never do that again!.)
We fail to realize that things look different once they actually happen.
For example, potential future events we anticipated with fear turn out to be not as terrible as we thought they'd be, or vis versa. Sometimes it's years later when we recognize that it was a good or bad thing that we didn't get what we wanted.

It got me thinking.

Like mama says, when some things happen, "It's for the best".
A little while ago, I got to the second round of interviews for a job I really wanted.
I didn't get it, and was a little bitter about it.
Last week, I found out that due to government cuts, the job I was in line for was also cut.
It really was for the best that I didn't get what I wanted.

Gibert discussed the whole concept of thinking that if we get what we want, then we'll be happy. I agree with him that it isn't necessarily the case.
He said that we often mistakenly think that we know what will make us happy.
The things that make us happy now, may not make us happy in a year, or even six months time. The goals we set to do whatever it is that we think will make us happy, may not lead us there....and if they do, it may not be what we envisaged in the first place.

I'm of the mind that happiness is fleeting.
I mean, I can feel contented, and appreciate that I have a good life without chasing "happiness" around.
I think that we often link happiness to goals or events.
Once I get that job/promotion/house/man/kid, I'll be happy.
By the time you get there, and it doesn't happen, or it does...there's something else that will make you proceed to chase your tail again.

This whole concept of perpetual happiness is really ridiculous.
But there are many people who think that happy is something you need to be all of the time.
Which is really impossible, when you think about it.

Remember that Twilight Zone episode where a small-time crook gets killed by the police during a robbery and finds himself in an afterlife where he can have anything he wants. But, he's soon bored with it because he knows the outcome of everything?....and he's going to have to live with it for eternity... in the Twilight Zone."

"Don't make yourself too complicated. Find pleasure in simple things...if you make yourself too complicated, you'll never be happy".
Quote: Uja

"You can't always get what you want, but if you try just might get what you need"
Quote: The Rolling Stones.