First Impression Post #8

For this first impression post I chose Option #1. For this, I watched a TED talk given by Dan Gilbert. He talked about synthetic happiness. This is the idea of convincing yourself that you are happy after things do not go your way or do not turn out the way that you had planned. He mentioned the misconception that people often have about this. Typically people look at synthetic happiness as ‘inferior’ to the actual happiness that occurs as a result of getting what you want. However, Gilbert proved that this is not in fact the case through experiments that involved measuring people’s happiness, over time, dependent on whether they did or not get what they wanted in the first place. The data supported the idea that synthetic happiness is equivocal to ‘natural’ happiness. That, despite the idea that synthetic happiness is not as fulfilling, people are in fact just as happy as if things had turned out the way they had initially wanted to them. He credited this to people, essentially, making the most of situations that they are ‘stuck’ in.

I believe that this speaker is credible. He has an extensive background in psychology and is a psychologist at Harvard who has conducted his own research and has published writings. I found the message of his TED talk to be very reasonable. I agree that people who’s lives do not go as planned are more than capable of being just as happy as anyone else. I also agree with what he said about the misconceptions of happiness. How synthetic happiness is often seen as ‘less than’ the happiness that occurs when everything goes exactly according to plan. I disagree with this notion. I feel that making the best of a situation can lead to happiness that can be just as fulfilling. Some ways in which synthetic happiness can be more so incorporated into my life would be by appreciated what I have. Keeping myself from imagining ‘what could have been’ if I made a different decision or if things had simply worked out differently. Understanding that everything happens for a reason, and making the most of that, is crucial for making the most of synthetic happiness


One thought on “First Impression Post #8

  1. I believe you are right in saying that many people don’t find as much value in synthetic happiness, but it’s great that you don’t feel this way. Allowing yourself to feel any kind of happiness, even if it isn’t as “authentic” feeling, will ultimately just be more happiness you can feel overall! The source isn’t as important as the feelings. It’s great that you can also see yourself incorperating this into your life as well, being happy for what you have rather than sad for what you don’t. I think a lot of people do this already, but do not realize that they are utilizing synthetic happiness. The speaker’s credibility, as you pointed out, goes to enhance his points.


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