Searching for happiness

Searching for happiness

Most of us acknowledge we have limited skills in many areas, including brain surgery and spaceship construction. But there’s one thing we think we know like the back of our hand: our inner selves. We’re pretty sure we know exactly what brings us happiness and contentment, right?

Wrong, says Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard University.

“We think we know ourselves. We think it’s a matter of just closing our eyes and looking inward,” says Mr. Gilbert, who studies emotional predictions. “Yet we make big mistakes when we try to predict what will happen in the future, and we make even bigger mistakes when we try to predict how we will feel when we get there.”

For example, ask young people if they think they’ll get married.

“They’ll say, ‘I don’t know.’ But they will also say that if they do get married, they know they will like it,” says Mr. Gilbert, author of ‘stumbling on Happiness.”

Science suggests, though, that it’s the other way around. The odds are good that they will get married, but not so good that they will like it, he says. Just look at the divorce rate.

To read more of this happiness story – click here.