Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Daniel Gilbert on Happiness

If this is true, I'm in big trouble:
One of the things we’ve been studying the last year or two is mind-wandering - how happy people are when their minds wander away from the task they’re doing in the middle of the day. First of all, we found about half the time people’s minds are wandering. We also found we are happiest when we are thinking about what we are doing - almost regardless of what we are doing. Our studies suggest that having your mind wander is never good, never makes you more happy than you already are.
My mind is almost always wandering. One of the few times it isn't is when I'm actually performing. Then I'm thinking about only what I'm doing. Maybe that's why I like it. I should probably cultivate greater focus.

2 Comments:

Blogger grishnash said...

This makes a ton of sense when you think about it as a matrix:

Doing something fun and thinking about it: happy. Call this 10 happy points.

Doing something fun and thinking about something else even more fun: happy with a tinge of disappointment that you're not doing the more fun thing. 9 happy points.

Doing something fun and thinking about something else less fun: less happy, or you wouldn't even be thinking about that. 7 happy points.

Doing something tedious while thinking about it: bored. 1 happy points.

Doing something tedious while thinking about something better: even less happy as you realize what you are missing. 0 happy points.

Doing something tedious while thinking about something even worse: maybe a bit happy in the sense of "it could be worse": 2 happy points.

Now average them out. For thinking about what you are doing: 6 happy points. For thinking about something else: 4.5 happy points.

10:13 AM, February 26, 2010  
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7:03 PM, March 04, 2010  

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