'People want a lot of things out of life, but I think, more than anything else, they want happiness. Aristotle called happiness "the chief good," the end towards which all other things aim. According to this view, the reason we want a big house or a nice car or a good job isn't that these things are intrinsically valuable. It's that we expect them to bring us happiness."
Good Morning Folk,
Today I’ve decided to share a TED that is relevant to what I want this blog to be, and my role in life as the Chief Happiness Officer. This talk hasn't broken the Internet, nor has the popularity of the Grump Cat, but with over 3 million views in its own right, its worth a look.
Everyone on this planet deserves to be happy, nobody deserves sadness. You and you alone have the power to change your thoughts, feelings, actions and everything else about yourself that you want to change. If you want to be happy, the only thing stopping you is you.
I watched an amazing TED Talk a while ago titled Want to be happier? Stay in the moment by a guy called Matt Killingsworth. According to Matt:
"It’s an important question but one that science has yet to fully answer. Yes, people are generally happier if they make more money rather than less, or are married instead of single, but the differences are quite modest."
My research is driven by the idea that happiness may have more to do with the contents of our moment-to-moment experiences than with the major conditions of our lives. I
A few years ago, I came up with a way to study people’s moment-to-moment happiness in daily life on a massive scale, all over the world, something we’d never been able to do before. This took the form of trackyourhappiness.org, which uses iPhones to monitor people’s happiness in real time.
My results suggest that happiness is indeed highly sensitive to the contents of our moment-to-moment experience. And one of the most powerful predictors of happiness is something we often do without even realizing it: mind-wandering.
Among the surprising results: We're often happiest when we're lost in the moment. And the flip side: The more our mind wanders, the less happy we can be.
Now in the last 50 years, we Americans have gotten a lot of the things that we want. We're richer. We live longer. We have access to technology that would have seemed like science fiction just a few years ago. The paradox of happiness is that even though the objective conditions of our lives have improved dramatically, we haven't actually gotten any happier
As it turns out, people are substantially less happy when their minds are wandering than when they're not. Now you might look at this result and say, okay, sure, on average people are less happy when they're mind-wandering, but surely when their minds are straying away from something that wasn't very enjoyable to begin with, at least then mind-wandering should be doing something good for us. Nope. As it turns out, people are less happy when they're mind-wandering no matter what they're doing. For example, people don't really like commuting to work very much. It's one of their least enjoyable activities, and yet they are substantially happier when they're focused only on their commute than when their mind is going off to something else. It's amazing.
So how could this be happening? I think part of the reason, a big part of the reason, is that when our minds wander, we often think about unpleasant things, and they are enormously less happy when they do that, our worries, our anxieties, our regrets, and yet even when people are thinking about something neutral, they're still considerably less happy than when they're not mind-wandering at all. Even when they're thinking about something they would describe as pleasant, they're actually just slightly less happy than when they aren't mind-wandering. If mind-wandering were a slot machine, it would be like having the chance to lose 50 dollars, 20 dollars or one dollar. Right? You'd never want to play.
My hope is that over time, by tracking people's moment-to-moment happiness and their experiences in daily life, we'll be able to uncover a lot of important causes of happiness, and then in the end, a scientific understanding of happiness will help us create a future that's not only richer and healthier, but happier as well."The lesson here isn’t that we should stop mind-wandering entirely—after all, our capacity to revisit the past and imagine the future is immensely useful, and some degree of mind-wandering is probably unavoidable. But these results do suggest that mind-wandering less often could substantially improve the quality of our lives. If we learn to fully engage in the present, we may be able to cope more effectively with the bad moments and draw even more enjoyment from the good ones.
So.... stop worrying about your future, what will happen will happen and you have little control over it until the moment arrives. Stop dwelling on the past, the past is the past and it’s now over. There is no need to dwell on it because you cannot change it now. Live in the present moment. You won’t regret it.
I want fanatical happiness to be way that YOU can make yourself happier.
Have a GREAT Day,
Mitchell D. Weiner
Chief Happiness Officer
Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form. TED Tuesdays on MitchWeiner.com highlights some of today's most intriguing ideas. Look for more talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more— HERE.
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