Essay about Paradise Glossed ' From Stumbling On Happiness By Daniel Gilbert

Essay about Paradise Glossed ' From Stumbling On Happiness By Daniel Gilbert

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In “Paradise Glossed, ” from Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard, discusses how happiness is not simply quantified or measured, but rather, results from how people interpret the numerous events that make up their lives. His main claim is that each event could be seen from a myriad of different angles, and thus could end in varying degrees of happiness for each person. Gilbert also explains how people often lean more toward the optimistic side of things: upon experiencing an event, people tend to find the positives in the situation. Gilbert’s argument is reasonable, clear, and is backed by evidence. But in spite of this, he fails to clearly define happiness, and his logic is somewhat flawed. He seems to imply that happiness is simply a relative state, which is entered by seeing one of the more positive views of a situation. However, this is inaccurate and too simple, and Gilbert’s ideas are challenged by other writers who provide conflicting definitions of happiness. To extend Gilbert’s implied definition of happiness, happiness level should be measured as an accumulation of all the positive and negative emotions one experiences, both in the moment, or over a long period of time.
Many researchers have given their own definition of happiness. Economists, psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, and so on have all contributed to the question: What exactly is happiness, and how can we become happier? Each group sees different aspects of the situation to consider. Gilbert belongs to the group of psychologists, and thus views happiness as being based in the human mind. He specifically looks at cognitive biases and “affective forecasting,” which is the way we predict the effect of events on our ...


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...However, happiness also takes into account a wide range of other aspects of our lives, including our thoughts and actions, and even genetics. Therefore, happiness should be defined as the amalgamation of how we think and act, and how we interpret our experiences as positive or negative. What this means is that in order to become happier, we must simply force ourselves to become more optimistic. This is easier said than done, however. In order to have a noticeable increase in happiness, people must be willing to make lifestyle changes in addition to changing their mindset. However, the difference between optimism and delusion is a fine line, so people must be cautious to not exaggerate the positive parts of an experience or become overly optimistic. If we practice seeking out the positive views of our circumstances, with time we will find ourselves happier than before.

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