The Surprising Science of Happiness


Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Daniel Gilbert, Professor of Psychology at Harvard, is a social psychologist and the author of Stumbling on Happiness. In this video, he challenges the common wisdom about happiness with surprising research. It’s one of the first TED videos released and I’m revisiting some of the classic TED talks.

Dan says that there are two types of happiness: that we create, and that we happen upon. “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.” Our culture encourages the view that “synthetic happiness is of an inferior kind.”



Interestingly, Dan had no idea when he gave this talk that it would be seen by millions. TED wasn’t big in 2004. We weren’t watching internet videos. And he made a few errors in the talk which he says still follow him. He shares those three big errors and his experience with TED here.



Still, his talk remains one of the most watched on the platform. And his observations on happiness launched a movement.

If you want to live a happier life, why not take some time and learn about the surprising science of happiness?





Main image credit: Luca Upper

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