Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Why Can't We Predict What Will Make Us Happy?

I had my 11th graders make a list of the ten things they value most in life.

When was the last time you did that?

Then I had them read an article titled, "Does Money Make People Happy?" One particle of this article has stayed with me...won't release me really. It says that current research is showing that most people are bad at predicting what will make them happy.

"Why can't we predict what will make us happy? As Dr. Kahneman explains, there are two people involved in our decisions: The self that actually experiences events and the one who remembers them. It's the remembering self who keeps score and controls our destiny. When we recall events, we craft a narrative for ourselves, paying closest attention to the peak and the end of the experience. And that results in a limited picture of what actually happened."

1. Have you ever loved someone you knew wasn't right for you, couldn't give you what you needed, but you persisted in loving them anyway... I gather this is a rhetorical question, yes?

2. Have any of you based your education, your career on what you thought you should do, what would make you happy but it hasn't?

3. Have any of you given up education and marriage and jobs to follow a dream you knew would make you happy...only to meet with disappointment in the end.

4. Did any of you marry the person you thought would make you happy....

5. How many times have you brought on sadness in your life that could have been avoided had you followed your head instead of your heart.

6. Have you tried to buy happiness in some form or another?

Would any of you take those experiences back?

Do we tend to be more like children, only seeing what will give us immediate happiness (sex, drugs, chocolate, clothes, furniture, car, house, and so on....) and realize some where along the way you don't know how to be happy at all?

Or do you know how to make yourself happy? I'd like to hear how you do it.


paul said...

Hi D'Arcy - Thank you for your words. You are always welcome on my blog. I looked at your profile thinking that anyone who lives in the world of Emily and Lumina is bound to be fascinating. My suspicions were confirmed by your interests and music, and your blogs, this one in particular. I will definitely stop by again.

I hope that my last post answers your question sufficiently.

Anonymous said...

Happiness for me is found in the simple; like taking seven students, ninth and tenth graders, to the Monarch Festival at St. Marks. Some had never seen the lighthouse. One child chose to celebrate his birthday with us. What an honor. The best part, well there were so many, was when one of the guys decided we needed to "do this again." He doesn't even know that he spoke my dream; a traveling school bus.

Brandini said...

Happiness will never be found in searching for it (marrying someone you 'think' will make you happy/ a job you 'think' will make you happy/ a dream you 'think' will make you happy) happiness comes in the moments of joy at the time they are happening- prediction of happiness doesn't work, enjoying thevery moment does.