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TED: The Surprising Science of Happiness

  |   20:52

Dan Gilbert, author of “Stumbling on Happiness,” challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.

It turns out that freedom, the ability to make up your mind and change your mind, is the friend of natural happiness, because it allows you to choose among all those delicious futures and find the one that you would most enjoy.

Dan says: “When psychologists show you bars, you know that they are showing you averages of lots of people. And yet, all of us have this psychological immune system, this capacity to synthesize happiness, but some of us do this trick better than others. And some situations allow anybody to do it more effectively than other situations do.

It turns out that freedom, the ability to make up your mind and change your mind, is the friend of natural happiness, because it allows you to choose among all those delicious futures and find the one that you would most enjoy. But freedom to choose, to change and make up your mind, is the enemy of synthetic happiness.”

Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert says our beliefs about what will make us happy are often wrong — a premise he supports with intriguing research, and explains in his accessible and unexpectedly funny book, “Stumbling on Happiness.”

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