Ask others – The 200 words project

I hope you’re having a nice weekend. Here’s this week’s 200 word idea thanks to Stumbling on Happiness by Dan Gilbert.

Researchers conducted a study where the first group of volunteers would flip a coin. Heads meant a gift certificate to a local pizza parlor while tails meant nothing. The volunteers then recorded how they felt.

Group 2 were asked to predict how they’d feel if they didn’t get the gift certificate. Some of the group 2 were shown results from group 1 (“surrogators”) while others did so independently (“simulators”). They then performed the experiment.

The results showed that simulators felt much better than they predicted they would feel. They didn’t realize how quickly they’d rationalize it (“pizza is too fattening”, “I didn’t like that restaurant anyway”). But, those who followed the surrogators guessed this accurately.

The learning? We are terrible at predicting how we’ll feel about an experience. So, researcher Dan Gilbert suggests – “the best way to predict your feeling about an experience tomorrow is to figure out how others who are going through the experience are feeling today. However, you are probably very resistant to this because if you are like most people, then, like most people, you don’t like to admit you are like most people!’

Ask othersSource and thanks to:

‘Despite the third word of the title (Stumbling on Happiness), this is not an instruction manual that will tell you anything useful about how to be happy. Those books are located in the self-help section two aisles over, and once you’ve bought one, done everything it says to do, and found yourself miserable anyway, you can always come back here to understand why.’ | Dan Gilbert :-)