Happiness

The one who is always happy is either crazy or dead

Yesterday we had a guest lecture on Positive Psychology by Tal Ben-Shahar. He raised the topic of what makes us happy, which you may say is a very subjective and broad theme. However, he tried to answer on it in a scientific way, supporting each single argument with relevant data and evidence from the research. He also didn’t forget about the audience and we participated in a psychological experiment proving one of his statements in reality:

He showed as a picture for 30 seconds and encouraged to count as much geometrical shapes as we can. Then he removed the picture and asked about the results, which surprisingly felt in range from less than 10 to more than 300 shapes. Then he unexpectedly started to ask more questions to which we weren’t prepared such as the time that the clock showed or number of children that were in a bus. Nobody in the auditorium knew the exact answer, because we were all so concentrated on the shapes that didn’t pay attention to other things that were on the picture. Thus it was proved that we perceive only a little piece of reality and without concentrating on positive things we won’t notice them even if they are right in front of us.

The whole topic of happiness is something that currently bothers my mind, as I try to understand which path to chose in the life. I cannot say that Ben-Shahar has revealed sacred truths to me, but some of his thoughts will definitely contribute to my future. Moreover, he concluded several things to which I also came from the personal experience. For example, he told about the experiment, which showed that people can be happy for a longer period if they do something for others, rather than for themselves. I assume that it is not so for everyone, but at least for me it holds. (Still happy about the present to Anna on 8th March).

Now I understand why Ben-Shahar’s course was the most popular in Harvard. I am inspired!

P.S. At the end of the day I even received two bunches flowers, happy 8th March to me!

8th March

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