Happiness is a 2x2 Matrix
Don't overlook the value of not having what you don't want
Earlier this month, I posted an interview with psychologists Robin Hogarth and Emre Soyer, focused on their book The Myth of Experience: Why We Learn the Wrong Lessons and Ways to Correct Them. (The ebook happens to be on sale for $3.99.)
As a young scientist, Hogarth collaborated with Hillel Einhorn. Together, and with colleagues, they helped establish judgment and decision making as its own formidable field of research within psychology — focused on how people make decisions, and how they can do it better.
Given how often I run across references to his work, I gather that Einhorn was acknowledged as a titan of the field. So I was delighted to find, in The Myth of Experience, a reference to how this eminent scientist had one of his own important personal insights at the prompting of a fortune cookie.
The video below is just more than a minute long, and in it Einhorn shares the insight: that we should appreciate the fact that we don’t have a lot of things that we don’t want. Take a look:
And now consider that Einhorn shared this wisdom just a few months before he died of cancer, at the age of 45. I think the idea of gratitude for that which we don’t have and don’t want is both simple and profound.
Psychologists like Laurie Santos have been extolling the happiness-boosting impacts of conscious gratitude, and even of keeping gratitude journals. I’m not yet sure if I’m going to try that, but if I do, my first entry will be a 2x2.
Thanks to the readers who left comments on last week’s short post (on innovation and the Fosbury Flop) encouraging me to write other short posts. I blame you for this week.
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A final reminder: The Myth of Experience ebook is on sale for $3.99. It looks like the sale is across ebook providers — Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, and probably wherever else you can find ebooks. I have a hard copy, but I grabbed it anyway because I like having the search function on ebooks.
Thanks for reading. Until next time…
P.S. The Kindle version of my book Range is on sale for $2.99, and includes the lengthy afterword I added for the paperback edition. (Update: apparently the Range sale ended right after I sent this post. 😑)
cover graphic credit: from The Myth of Experience; used with permission of Robin Hogarth and Emre Soyer