Saturday, October 12, 2013

"Happiness" by Richard Layard - The concept of Maximisers & Satisficers

A continuation of my note-taking from reading the book Happiness (a psychological and scientific study)

"Everyone needs meaningful goals."

"The central idea is to focus on true sources of authentic happiness - which include some sense of meaning in one's life. "

"To make progress, it is more important to develop our strengths than to wrestle with our weaknesses."

"Increasingly today, people feel that they must make the most of everything, rather than being happy with what is good enough, they must have the best. This puts them under enormous strain, for there is always a risk of missing an opportunity."

The concept of maximisers and satisficers.

Maximisers are those who seek the best.

Satisficers are those who are content with what is good enough.

Which one are you?

(I'm definitely a maximiser...groan)

Maximisers may indeed get better 'objective outcome' through all their searching, but even so they are less happy because they tend to continue to analyse what would have happened if they had taken a different decision. 

These findings suggest two important conclusions.

We spend too much time living in the future rather than in the present. Some planning is essential but too many people are mainly focused on tomorrow. When tomorrow comes, they will be planning for the day after. 

A second conclusion is that we have to control our tendency to compare ourselves with others. 

We should try to make the happiness of others our goal, and to enjoy the success of others.

We should also have confidence in our own judgements rather than the judgements of others.  

In the end, the only person's opinion of you that matters is your own.

There is ultimately one common strand in what can make us happy: it is love. We love our pets, family, coffee etc.

Towards all of these we have positive feelings that take us out of ourselves.

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