We’re bad predictors of our happiness.
In his book, Stumbling on Happiness, Harvard Psychologist, Dan Gilbert, starts with the bold assertion that we are the only animals with the ability to predict our future. We’re able to imagine scenarios, good and bad, that may one day occur and also imagine how we will feel when they do.
Imagination has shortcomings, though, and perhaps of most relevance is that imagination fails to realize that things will feel different once they actually happen—most notably, our psychological immune system will make bad things feel not so bad as they are imagined to feel, and good things feel not as good as they are imagined to feel, especially over time.
So, where does this leave us?
For me, it’s a reminder that learning to live this moment fully and freely, in all its glory, shame, uncertainty and potential, is at the heart of a life well lived.
If you’re not doing this, you’re never addressing the source of wellbeing, which, logically, seems to be learning how to be with the full range of human experience, in a way that is harmonious, uninhibited and graceful.