About Stumbling on Happiness
Stumbling on Happiness talks surprisingly little about happiness. Instead it focuses on how we fail to predict how the outcomes of our actions will make us feel in the future. We are not wired to predict the future accurately. Shortcomings in our way of thinking makes us terrible forecasters of how our current actions will affect our future happiness.
The book brings my thoughts to Thinking Fast and Slow, but it’s a more witty (at least it attempts to be so..) and accessible book on the subject. It cites tons of experiments and studies and it might leave you quite frustrated if you are anything like the average human:
🔸 You think you perform above average in skills you deem valuable.
🔹 You think are rational.
🔸 You trust your imagination to make realistic assumptions of what the future might hold.
Prepare to get slapped in the face!
Notes and Highlights
- 📝 The Curse of Knowledge:
Once we had an experience we can no longer imagine how it is not to have had that experience.
- 📝 Scientists almost always predict that the future will be too much like the present.
- 📝 We let our current feelings and experience influence our prediction of the future. Because our brains are hell bent on responding to current events we mistakenly conclude we will feel tomorrow as we feel today.
- 📝 People regret inaction more than actions. But we predict that it would be the other way around when asked.
Continue keeping a journal. “Fallible eyesight can be remedied with glasses, and fallible hindsight can be remedied with written records about the past.”
Books like this can help you save time, energy and reduce suffering. When you know about the cognitive biases, errors and misjudgments humans are prone to, then you can avoid falling victim to them.
Stumbling on Happiness left me both humbled and a bit sad. There is something frustrating about knowing about shortcomings of our brains and not being able to do much about it. I guess knowing about our cognitive biases is the best defense against misjudgment, but we can’t be on our guard 100% of the time. A great read!