Found in 6 comments on Hacker News
dilippkumar · 2020-01-15 · Original thread
> I know what most people’s heuristics is when they face this uncertainty: think about ten years from now and figure out where you want to be. And do the thing now that gives you more options to get there. I wish it was as simple as most people claim. Looking back to the twenty-year-old me and the person I’ve now become, I see almost no similarities, interests, or passion. I was a completely different person back then and the only thing that has stuck with me after all these years is my love of soccer. How do people predict the future? Clearly, I’m no good at it.

This is actually the primary focus of a book I just read [1]. The author's primary thesis in this book is that that there are some very interesting reasons why we completely suck at imagining what a future life will be like.

This isn't really a book recommendation - the author took a single idea and chewed it in 20 different ways to make a larger book. However, if this is something you are struggling with right now, you might benefit from it a little.

[1] Stumbling on happiness - https://www.amazon.com/Stumbling-Happiness-Daniel-Gilbert/dp...

mjlangiii · 2016-02-10 · Original thread
In, "Stumbling on Happiness" [0] Gilbert's explanation of conditioned actions we just perform without it registering in our "awareness" hit home with me and may provide a model for understanding how animals (humans included) can do something that looks like it requires this invented empathy, awareness, etc. but can in fact be done without any "awareness" of what you're doing. Exploring consciousness isn't the point of the book at all, but the one section where he touched on it seemed to speak to your question some.

[0] http://www.amazon.com/Stumbling-Happiness-Daniel-Gilbert/dp/...

jasode · 2014-07-20 · Original thread
Maybe the closest writing to fit your view is Daniel Gilbert[1]. Basically, humans have a biological "set point" for happiness and it's different for everyone. It is not affected by winning the lottery, or getting paralyzed from a car accident, or doing meta-analysis on what happiness is (such as reading self-help books about achieving happiness.) Those events may affect happiness in the short term but not in the long term. People will eventually gravitate back to their predisposed set point of happiness.

If I agree with the above, I can set aside the quest for ultimate measurement of absolute happiness (e.g. Solon's "Count no man happy until he be dead."[2]) . However, I can still do things that affect relative happiness. When I stopped consulting for boring ERP software, my quality-of-life definitely improved. Again, I won't know if I'm ultimately "happy" until I'm lying on my deathbed. Nevertheless, it feels like I got a little victory from changes like that.

[1]http://www.amazon.com/Stumbling-Happiness-Daniel-Gilbert/dp/...

http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy

[2]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solon

mathattack · 2013-09-08 · Original thread
Almost by definition this is shaky science at best, but Daniel Gilbert seems to be one of the best.

His book on the topic is here -> http://www.amazon.com/Stumbling-Happiness-Daniel-Gilbert/dp/...

The impatient can look at his TED talk here -> http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy.h...

BobbyH · 2010-05-26 · Original thread
neilc, I personally agree with your intuition, but Daniel Kahneman's point seems to be that, on average, you would be as happy making $60k as you would be making $1 million a year.

This concurs with a lot of other research that suggests that human beings are terrible at estimating what makes them happy. I enjoyed this book on that exact topic: http://www.amazon.com/Stumbling-Happiness-Daniel-Gilbert/dp/...

dschobel · 2010-02-26 · Original thread
I see that Daniel Gilbert is one of the authors of this study, author of http://www.amazon.com/Stumbling-Happiness-Daniel-Gilbert/dp/... .

If you have yet to read it and have any interest in the psychology of happiness (and I can't imagine a sentient human who wouldn't have such an interest), do so post-haste.

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