25 Feb Attention – is this the most important thing for your happiness?
via the Ladders by Eric Barker
We all want to be happy. That’s obvious. But how much would people pay for a moment of happiness?
Researchers did a survey — and the answer was about $80.
Other than pure love and dodging discomfort, people were willing to pay the most for happiness.
- $ 44.30 for calm tranquility,
- $ 62.80 for excitement,
- $ 79.06 for happiness,
- $ 83.27 to avoid fear,
- $ 92.80 to avoid sadness,
- $ 99.81 to avoid embarrassment,
- $ 106.26 to avoid regret,
- $ 113.55 for love.
(Suddenly heroin is looking pretty cheap, and Starbucks is an absolute steal.)
At $80 a shot, well, I’m about to save you a lot of money.
What’s it take to become happy very quickly without dramatically changing your life (or spending $80)? The key to happiness really comes down to one word:
We all have regrets and worries. We all have bad things we could think about. But they don’t bother us when we pay them no mind. The Buddha once said:
We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.
And research is agreeing with him. People always think more money or a better this or that — a thing or event — is going to make them happier.
But when we look at the data, very happy people don’t experience more happy events than less happy people.
Ed Diener and Martin Seligman screened over 200 undergraduates for levels of happiness, and compared the upper 10% (the “extremely happy”) with the middle and bottom 10%. Extremely happy students experienced no greater number of objectively positive life events, like doing well on exams or hot dates, than did the other two groups (Diener & Seligman, 2002).
So it’s not really what happens. It’s what you pay attention to and the perspective you take on things. “Look on the bright side” is a cliche, but it’s also scientifically valid.
Paul Dolan teaches at the London School of Economics and was a visiting scholar at Princeton where he worked with Nobel-Prize winner Daniel Kahneman.
He explains the importance of attention in his book, Happiness by Design: Change What You Do, Not How You Think:
Your happiness is determined by how you allocate your attention. What you attend to drives your behavior and it determines your happiness. Attention is the glue that holds your life together… The scarcity of attentional resources means that you must consider how you can make and facilitate better decisions about what to pay attention to and in what ways. If you are not as happy as you could be, then you must be misallocating your attention… So changing behavior and enhancing happiness is as much about withdrawing attention from the negative as it is about attending to the positive.
Make sense, right? So how can you and I put this to use?
Here are 5 questions to ask yourself about attention that can have a profound affect on your happiness…
…keep reading the full & original article HERE