Secrets to Happiness

Almost 2 decades ago, we were in a bar on 41st Street in Sioux Falls, when this crazily-addictive pop song came over the sound system and my buddy said that’s a song by a college friend and fraternity brother of ours and his band named Janitor Bob and the Armchair Cowboys – it was one of those songs that seemed to induce happiness (and still does for me)

The Happy Song by Janitor Bob and the Armchair Cowboys



But addictive cheery songs aside, I was catching up on some TED talks this weekend including 2 that I had heard about and was surprised by the content in them – both had to do with recent research into Happiness. (and on a side note – both presenters seem like stand-up comedy would come naturally to them which made watching the videos all the more fun)

First up was Shawn Achor and his speech “The Happy Secret to Better Work” – excellent talk and great reminder that we personally shape and create our happiness through thru the lens we choose to view life though.  I thought his views on why job success do not equate to happiness were dead on.  And his speech is funny.

Specifically his quote about “if I work harder, I’ll have more success, if I have more success, I’ll be happier” but how our brain re-sets what constitutes success each time we achieve a new level making it seem like we are always falling short and therefore have not reached happiness yet – I also enjoyed his quoting of ”the absence of disease is not health” and how in the end, the secret to happiness is our ability to change our lens through which we view life, and it’s the maximizing of happiness that brings all of the advantages. 


The follow-up talk to this was Dan Gilbert’s ”The surprising science of happiness” and his Harvard research into Happiness, and how its affected by our freedom of choices and what he calls our ability to “synthesize happiness”.

Natural happiness is what we get when we get what we wanted, and synthetic happiness is what we make when we don’t get what we wanted. In our society, we have a strong belief that synthetic happiness is of an inferior kind.” (Dan Gilbert)

Watch his video and see if you are surprised by his counter-intuitive research findings on happiness – it’s crazy, especially the finding that “if it happened over 3 months ago, it probably doesn’t affect your happiness anymore” and that we still crave freedom of choices even though choices limit our happiness

And Wyatt, Congratulations on your wedding day coming up this week – happy for you big guy and wish you and your wife all of the happiness that life can bring you.



About bradosterloo

.NET Software Developer working for Innovative Systems, LLC in Mitchell, SD
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