Happiness is Making the Best of It

There are many sayings about happiness. Two I find relevant are:

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same.
Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”

by Don Williams, Jr. quotes (American Novelist and Poet, b.1968)

Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.
Greg Anderson quotes
(American best-selling Author and founder of the American Wellness Project., b.1964)

But each of these flies in the face of how many American’s think. Because of the development of the prefrontal cortex, humans have the ability to envision something that hasn’t happened – an experience simulator. An example is the taste of red onion ice cream. You already know that it would taste bad without actually tasting it. Dan Gilbert says this expectation and goal setting ability results in a couple of different types of happiness:
Synthetic happiness and natural happiness. Natural happiness is getting what you want or what you were aiming for. Synthetic happiness is the substitute for not getting what you want. Most people consider synthetic happiness as secondary. But in reality, synthetic happiness is more vital. Why? Because you can’t always get what you want, but
synthetic happiness evens out this issue. You make the best of it.

But uncertainty throws a wrench into both of these. You can’t create the vision for yourself, whether practical or not, without knowing the rules for which to frame it. This prevents you from realizing what you potentially want or at least how to cope with what you have. Our current economic time is made much worse because we don’t know what the new world order will look like. We don’t know if a vision for ourselves is plausible. This creates anxiety. But once the media, the President, or your family decides everything is fine, we will see a US that is gushing with potential. I believe this because a new future is drawn. The old future wasn’t sustainable.

Thanks for Daniel Gilbert for writing in the NY Times an article called What You Don’t Know Makes you Nervous and this video:



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