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A Nobel Prize-winning psychologist says most people don’t really want to be happy

By Quartz

We think we want to be happy. Yet many of us are actually working toward some other end, according to cognitive psychologist Daniel Kahneman, winnerRead full story

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  • Growing up in Guam, we were taught from very young that our purpose as humans is to nurture and protect the community we are a part of, and that in order to do this, we must always push ourselves to be our best selves. We were told our best selves could be anything as long it served our community - teachers

    Growing up in Guam, we were taught from very young that our purpose as humans is to nurture and protect the community we are a part of, and that in order to do this, we must always push ourselves to be our best selves. We were told our best selves could be anything as long it served our community - teachers, doctors, nurses, auto mechanics, hula dancers, coconut tree climbers, fishers, and campfire makers (the last three were the most important during typhoon season when we had limited fresh water and food, no electricity and limited supply of propane gas).

    Life satisfaction is connected to nurturing/protecting the community we live in.

  • Ask people what makes them happy versus what fulfills them and see how different the answer is.

  • Very few people actually know what makes them happy so they chase happiness by trying drugs and other vices. True happiness comes from inside and is a choice we make.

  • Interesting stuff. And consider, many years ago, when America’s forefathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, the enumerated our inalienable rights to include Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Happinesses wasn’t itself deemed an inalienable right, but its pursuit was.

    And while satisfaction

    Interesting stuff. And consider, many years ago, when America’s forefathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, the enumerated our inalienable rights to include Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Happinesses wasn’t itself deemed an inalienable right, but its pursuit was.

    And while satisfaction weren’t on their shortlist, the list is specifically not exhaustive.

    My observation is those who seek their forms of satisfaction externally pursue happiness, those who recognize that satisfaction and happiness are inside jobs seek to be their best selves in some fashion. If you have an external locus of control any happiness or satisfaction you attain is at best fleeting. External things are neither stable nor lasting.

    What you build within can allow you to experience any degree of happiness or satisfaction you are willing to work for - and its presence transcends external conditions.

  • We're culturally obsessed with happiness and Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning cognitive psychologist, is partly to blame. He turned the emotion into a serious social and economic force that governments and individuals now consider integral to the good life. Yet, he says, we don't really get it

    We're culturally obsessed with happiness and Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning cognitive psychologist, is partly to blame. He turned the emotion into a serious social and economic force that governments and individuals now consider integral to the good life. Yet, he says, we don't really get it. Most of us aren't actually looking to be happy.

  • Ask people who they revere.

    Are the people they revere happy people? Were they always happy people, or did they ever struggle to get to where they are now?

  • Key takeaway quote : “Life satisfaction is connected to a large degree to social yardsticks–achieving goals, meeting expectations.” He notes that money has a significant influence on life satisfaction, whereas happiness is affected by money only when funds are lacking.”

  • Satisfaction comes from finding the things that give you purpose in life. Happiness is more about the personal things that give you joy on a day to day basis. A good balance of both is the recipe to a good life.

  • There are some good ideas here, but I think it is more complex. It raises many questions for me. What beliefs drive the narrative of a person’s life, what values? Are all equal in their ability to provide a perception of meaning? How does this research complement or contrast with research on mindfulness and equanimity?

  • It is better to pursue "satisfaction" over "happiness". I am inspired to revisit the writings of Epictetus, who spoke about this in 200 C.E. in The Art of Living : "He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has."

  • Happiness is a direct result of happenstance. Something happens that resonates with you, and you become temporarily happy.

    What we need more of in our lives is joy and unconditional love. That have nothing to do with what happens in a day to day basis.

  • One of the main findings in Kahneman and Tversky’s research is that our brain is pretty good at registering bare facts, but it is hopeless when it comes to retain its former states in the past. Happiness is one of latter: as a result, expectations play a more important role in defining what either makes us happy or doesn’t.

  • I just fell out of my chair reading that. Is everything else just a distraction from our own mortality? (Sorry to bring it up.)

  • I disagree with the title of this article - I think most people DO want to be happy, but as detailed, happiness is a temporary feeling. Short-term feelings of happiness do not replace prolonged feelings of satisfaction. You will find it difficult to feel “satisfied” if you only chase moments happiness

    I disagree with the title of this article - I think most people DO want to be happy, but as detailed, happiness is a temporary feeling. Short-term feelings of happiness do not replace prolonged feelings of satisfaction. You will find it difficult to feel “satisfied” if you only chase moments happiness - you must live a life of purpose and drive towards goals that align to your deepest desires. But don’t forget to have some fun along the way!

  • The road to character comes at the price of instant gratification

  • People don’t even know what ‘happiness’ is; you can sometimes tell though, if people live their lives in a state of contentment or joy because they are usually kind. I say ditch talking about ‘happiness’ and focus on true kindness. Be kind and be content.

  • This is a very straight forward look at real happiness and how people may have what it truly is, confused.

  • 1 Timothy 6:6-7

    6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

  • People need purpose and that leads to happiness

  • My happiness is not the things of this world. My happiness lies with the Lord. I strive everyday to be what he wants me to be. I know it’s not the popular line of thinking, but it’s the line I want to be on. Eternity is my goal and that’s what I am working for, striving for

  • I agree. Happiness is a choice. It’s a state of mind that we must choose to stay in.

  • “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 reason for this is that we do things in anticipation of

    “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 reason for this is that we do things in anticipation of creating satisfying memories to reflect on later.

    We’re somewhat less interested in actually having a good time.”

    Interesting article from the psychologist Daniel Kahneman

  • Great article! I agree with its findings wholeheartedly, though I’ll admit to trapping my self in a cycle of comparison for a short time, before I asked myself what the hell was I doing? As I was not happy! From there life got better understanding my own priorities.

  • This is not a major finding. Everyone wants to be content in life.

  • I feel those who choose to be solitary for a moment do want to be happy, but they just decide to feel happier in the future.

    Like a person shut down him/herself to lose weight so that he/she can have better social experience

  • It’s all about definitions. What is happiness for you? This story is based on the definition: “Happiness is a momentary experience that arises spontaneously and is fleeting.”

  • Interesting, my new ending statement with a particular person will be as follows: be healthy, be satisfied.

  • This makes a lot of sense to me, while I enjoy hanging with friends, grabbing a drink, and socializing that isn’t fulfilling and isn’t as high a priority. Thus anytime something that will make me happy comes in conflict with something that satisfies me I choose satisfaction. For example staying out an

    This makes a lot of sense to me, while I enjoy hanging with friends, grabbing a drink, and socializing that isn’t fulfilling and isn’t as high a priority. Thus anytime something that will make me happy comes in conflict with something that satisfies me I choose satisfaction. For example staying out an hour later and risking my job, which affords me the ability to go out, or drinking a bunch or pop vs running. My goal is fitness even though the pop would be good in the immediate it would conflict with long term goals of fitness.

  • Here's a fresh outlook for 2019. Although happiness is a big motivator.

  • I believe her fundamental definition of happiness is incorrect! I'm not sure anyone thought of it as some sort of short-lived giggle fest. To me, and others of my age group,happiness includes fulfillment, satisfaction,peace and contentment. Her definition seems to fit more solidly with the word "laughter".

  • Hi! I come from a non Christian background. I accepted the Lord as my Saviour at a church camp over ten years ago.I get up early morning and pray. I can truly say that "The Joy of the Lord is my Strength! (Nehemiah 8:10). The Lord says "He will never leave us nor forsake us". ( Deuteronomy 31:6) The

    Hi! I come from a non Christian background. I accepted the Lord as my Saviour at a church camp over ten years ago.I get up early morning and pray. I can truly say that "The Joy of the Lord is my Strength! (Nehemiah 8:10). The Lord says "He will never leave us nor forsake us". ( Deuteronomy 31:6) The Lord is my Abba Father. Spending time with the Lord gives me strength and joy. I could share testimony after testimony to the Lord's hand of blessing, healing and protection in my life and in the lives of my family. The greatest joy for me is to see someone accept the Lord as their Saviour. God Bless you!

  • Most people, I believe, have a degree of conscience that weighs the consequences of instant gratification against the long term effects, rather it be about money, an extramarital affair, or drugs. Not all people, obviously, would react the same. Does that mean that they don't have a desire to be happy

    Most people, I believe, have a degree of conscience that weighs the consequences of instant gratification against the long term effects, rather it be about money, an extramarital affair, or drugs. Not all people, obviously, would react the same. Does that mean that they don't have a desire to be happy?

    Satisfaction, I would agree, also has a concious place that can be different from happiness.

  • Happiness vs. satisfaction is a great distinction. And pointing out that satisfaction is greatly influenced by comparison to peers. That last part certainly rings true for me.

  • Quite insightful.

    “Satisfaction is retrospective. Happiness happens in real-time.”

  • I think that it's simpler than that. "You are as happy as you decide to be." His point, however, is valid, if you wish to 'split hairs'.

  • I believe that happiness is a chimera, and when we get past the euphoria we sometimes confuse with happiness we can be at peace in our minds and that is what “happiness” is.

  • As my grandfather used to say, he is educated beyond his intelligence

  • Interesting

  • Satisfaction Kahneman Noice

  • At first I didn't like this article. Somewhat ironic but I digress. It left me confused. Is the goal of life that Dr. Kahneman is inferring that short term, or fleeting, happiness is more important than satisfaction? It's refreshing to read news that makes me have to think instead of just reacting. Or

    At first I didn't like this article. Somewhat ironic but I digress. It left me confused. Is the goal of life that Dr. Kahneman is inferring that short term, or fleeting, happiness is more important than satisfaction? It's refreshing to read news that makes me have to think instead of just reacting. Or maybe it's a poorly written article that is hard to understand. I am neither a critic or of very high IQ.

  • This article further solidifies that there is no pursuit of happiness. You pursue accomplishments and goals while happiness is a temporary and often fleeting feeling. Happiness is every day and can be developed simply by expressing gratitude. This article references happiness as it relates to the rich

    This article further solidifies that there is no pursuit of happiness. You pursue accomplishments and goals while happiness is a temporary and often fleeting feeling. Happiness is every day and can be developed simply by expressing gratitude. This article references happiness as it relates to the rich and the poor with no disparity. It is manifested from being grateful for what you have.

  • It seems to me that happiness is a state of being most likely found in the present moment. Satisfaction come from achievement which tends to be future oriented but experienced in the present. Happiness comes from being fully in the present. Happiness does not come from striving but from self awareness

    It seems to me that happiness is a state of being most likely found in the present moment. Satisfaction come from achievement which tends to be future oriented but experienced in the present. Happiness comes from being fully in the present. Happiness does not come from striving but from self awareness. You cannot strive for happiness so much you allow yourself to experience it.

  • I think we like to document and post about our vacations and social experiences through social media not necessarily because we think it makes us happy but because we like to show others how “successful” we are. This would fall in line with what the psychologist talks about which is achieving satisfaction

    I think we like to document and post about our vacations and social experiences through social media not necessarily because we think it makes us happy but because we like to show others how “successful” we are. This would fall in line with what the psychologist talks about which is achieving satisfaction. I think we feel we have reached satisfaction when we have shown our inner circles or our accepted cultures that we led a “happy” and successful life. In a society that values consumerism it should come as no surprise that we are obsessed with wanting to show the world how successful we are through the amount of happy experiences such as vacations, new trendy products, and our social circles.

  • Happiness is a mind thing and internal.. you can have a happy thought or an unhappy one.. one is positive and the other negative. Choice is ours. Rest is all complications of the outer world..

  • Something to ponder upon...

  • Lmao... ohp, ya got me

  • Happiness is real time while satisfaction is over time. Got it!

  • J

  • Simplicity of expectations accelerates the path to one’s satisfaction..

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