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Happiness - Lessons From A New Science
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From his experinces at Auschwitz, Viktor Frankel concluded that "everything can be taken from a man but one thing - the freedom to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances."
Happiness is comparative. If you get a $10,000 raise but your neighbouror your brother-in-law get $20K, you'll be unhappy. East Germans happiness plunged after reunification. Before, they were poor, but better off than rest of Soviet bloc. But after, they compared themselves to the prosperity of West Germans.
But it's only income that is compared, not leisure. Given two options - you get 2 weeks hol while everyone else gets only 1, or you get 4 weeks while everyone else gets 8 - almost everyone chose the 4 weeks.
Everyone compares; we can't help it. But secret of happiness is to make sure you only compare ys doen - to others less well off than ys.
There are a few things people never adapt to - widowhood, loud, unpredictable noise, and caring for a loved one with Alzheimers.
Even though people tell you they are stressed bc they are so busy, they still find the time to watch 3.5 hrs of TV each night.
Impact of TV - focuses on extremes. So get far more sex and violence than IRL, and more wealth and beauty. So we are reminded that we don't have a lot of money or a beautiful partner.
People who watch a lot of TV are convinced that levels of crime and adultery IRL are a lot higher than they actually are (and are more willing to consider them for themselves).
BF Skinner main proponent of Behaviourism. Story that when he was teaching, he used to walk back and forward across the lecture stage. His students agreed that whenever he walked to the left of the stge, they wd all lokk down and frown. Whenever he walked to the right, they wd look up and smile. By the end of the week they had him delivering his lecture from the extreme right end of the stage.
More books on Behaviour
Buddhists tell us that we need to avoid the poisons of unrealistic cravings and anger and resentment. But instead of trying to counter them head-on, you detach ys and look at it as a remote observer.
A good test of yr state of mind is to compare number of negative and positive thoughts.
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