How to find happiness: Listen to scientists who study it

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We spend so much energy trying to decide what career will make us happy, what job to take, what kind of boss we need. But today happiness is actually a science, and we can teach ourselves to make better decisions faster based on what we know about happiness.

This science of happiness is such a popular field that 150 colleges offer courses in it. If you can’t take a class, read this article in New York magazine for a fun introduction to the topic.

The article is slanted for New Yorkers because New Yorkers are more unhappy than everyone else, (which is unfortunate since I live there). But most of the information in the article is useful to everyone.

For example: “No matter where they live, human beings are terrible predictors of what will make them happy.” This is because our mind plays tricks on us: “We are more comfortable with decisions we can’t reverse than ones we can.”

Here is something that really affected me: “Those who seek out the best options in life are called maximizers. And maximizers, in practically every study, are far more miserable than people who are willing to make do.” One way to stop being a maximizer is to move to where you have fewer choices, (which takes us back to the New York City problem.) Another way is to make choices faster, before you obsessively weigh every possibility.

Other zingers: Kids don’t make you happy, losing limbs doesn’t make you sad, and if you have as much money as the people you hang out with you’ll feel like you have enough.

How can you not be curious about this article? I read it three times.

Now, if I could only make better choices…

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