16 Apr How good are we at predicting what will cause our own happiness? Not very…
St. John’s News
Professor Daniel Gilbert Explains Mistakes in Predicting Happiness to St. John’s University Alumni
Dr. Gilbert is the author of the New York Times bestseller ‘stumbling on Happiness.” The book, which is not designed as a self-help manual, explores what doctors and scientists have discovered about why we tend to wrongly predict what makes us happy.
Dr. Gilbert stated that throughout history happiness was “an elusive thing that no one expected to obtain,” since, with life expectancy much shorter, people lived each day trying not to die. In the past 75-100 years, a large portion of people have just about everything they want; however, society in general doesn”t seem to be any happier.
He presented a formula that suggests how human beings might go about finding happiness through decisions they make: The wisdom of any action is equal to the odds of getting what you want multiplied by the value of getting what you want. The problem, Dr. Gilbert says, is that humans make errors in determining the odds and the values and mispredict what will make them happy.
To read more about some of Dr. Gilbert’s examples of our common errors in predicting odds and values and noted another problem – click here.