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Happiness

Posted by Luke McMeeken-Ruscoe on

Daniel Kahneman is a psychologist that won a Nobel Prize in Economics for his behavioural economics research into decision making, finding that we feel the loss more than we get pleasure for the equivalent gain.  

For instance, if you walked down the street and found $5 in your pocket you would get a spike of joy, happiness, surprise and everything would be right in the world. If you were walking down the street and you reached into your pocket to get the $5 you thought was in there and found that it was gone, that sense of loss, frustration, and shock would be more intense. Relatively the same amount of up and down in your personal finances but a much different emotional response from a loss than gain. 

It is sort of hard-wired into us as a species since we, for most of human history, have had a scarcity of resources. Now most of us live better than nearly every royal in history. 

Media is an attention game and firing up emotions leads to more attention. This starts to frame our world in bad things happening. And yes, there are many bad things happening all over the world. A friend of mine from university is Armenian and keeps me informed on the genocide that is happening in Armenia. Since its a small country with not many resources, it doesn't get any coverage. What is happening over there is horrible. 

We can find pain and misery if we want to, and even if we don't it sometimes finds us. My challenge to you is to try to find happiness. To acknowledge those moments that are around us that are wonderful. The little small moments that make life just that little bit more colourful and bright.

This weekend I went to a one-year-old birthday party. I could have got sad that I was the only single person there and pretty much every couple had a baby, and yes it was a bit depressing. But also there were many people happily playing with their kids. Older kids were trying to steal lollies when their parents weren't looking. I may, or may not have been encouraging that.

It was a beautiful sunny day, the sun was washing us with vitamin D, kids were playing, people were smiling, it was a wonderful day. 

Theodore Roosevelt said "comparison is the thief of joy", I think about that when I am fixated on what I don't have rather than what I do have. 

At the party I was surrounded by good friends, excited little kids, some new friends, I am healthy (apart from my rubbish ankle), I still have most of my mental faculties. You can always find faults but give a shot and finding the joy.

Shave well, Be Awesome, go spread a little joy around your world.

Luke

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