The complex relationship between happiness and choice

The complex relationship between happiness and choice

How does your definition of happiness impact on the choices you make? 

Although you might not have thought about this before it's a vitally important question to contemplate if you're wanting more happiness (and success) in your life. 

Choice and happiness have long been linked…but not always in the ways we might expect. 

Here at The Happiness Institute, for example, we've long believed happiness to be something you can CHOOSE with "choose" being an acronym for 6 key happiness boosting strategies (see HERE). 

Other people, most notably Barry Schwartz, have talked and written about the "paradox of choice" in which it's argued that although many of us would think that more choice is better…this is not always the case. Too much choice, for example, can be overwhelming and distressing and doesn't always lead us to more happiness! 

I can personally relate to this as I have, of late, been experimenting with a new music system. Having moved from traditional vinyl records and then CDs to, in the last few years, digital downloads via iTunes I've just moved across to a new subscription service, MOG (which is very much like the better known Spotify) under which I pay just $11 or so a month for access to approximately 16,000,000 songs! What this means is that I can choose to listen to pretty much ANYTHING I want; which sounds great; but which is (as hinted at above) sometimes somewhat overwhelming! 

And now there's new research exploring the link between different definitions of happiness (yes, it means different things to different people) impact on our decision making. What choices do you make, for example, if your definition of happiness is one of "joy and excitment" versus one of "calm and contentment". 

This is quite a fascinating (and important) question I think because among other things, what it means, is that if we're not even aware of our definition of happiness we'll make life choices and not really even know if they're in our best interest! 

This Stanford Business School article (HERE) focuses on this issue within the context of marketing but I think if you look at the question more broadly you'll see it has much wider and even more signiticant implications. 

What do you think? 

Do you even know what your definition of happiness is? Do you, therefore, make the right decisions for happiness? 

Share your thoughts and comments or pose your questions HERE on The Happiness Institute's Facebook Page. Thanks in advance.