The pursuit of happiness

about 7 months ago
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Here is some great food for thought!

There is the cognitive psychologist Daniel Kahneman, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics, who has said some very profound and confounding things.

Kahneman says that happiness and satisfaction are distinct where happiness is a momentary experience that arises spontaneously and is fleeting. On the other hand, satisfaction is a long-term feeling, built over time and based on achieving goals and building the kind of life you admire. In fact Kahneman says that working toward one goal may undermine our ability to experience the other.

During his research measuring everyday happiness, he found that spending time with friends was highly effective but for those focused on long-term goal that give satisfaction do not necessarily prioritize socializing, as they’re busy with the bigger picture.

The key here is memory. Satisfaction is retrospective. Happiness occurs in real time. Memory is enduring. Feelings pass. Many of our happiest moments aren’t preserved—they’re not all caught on camera but just happen. And then they’re gone.

The psychologist says that when on vacation, we do things in anticipation of creating satisfying memories to reflect on later and we are somewhat less interested in actually having a good time.

Kahneman’s research on happiness is what led to many coining the happiness indices world over, given this human emotion its legitimate standing as an economic and social force.

Its been five years since he gave up research on happiness and is now working on “noise” or the overload of data which clouds decision making.

So what are you looking for? Happiness or satisfaction?

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