February 2004 at TED2004
8:30 synthetic happiness
The psychological immune system works best when we are totally stuck, when we are trapped. This is the difference between dating and marriage. You go out on a date with a guy, and he picks his nose; you don’t go out on another date. You’re married to a guy and he picks his nose? He has a heart of gold. Don’t touch the fruitcake!
You find a way to be happy with what’s happened.
We should have preferences that lead us into one future over another. But when those preferences drive us too hard and too fast because we have overrated the difference between these futures, we are at risk.
When our ambition is bounded, it leads us to work joyfully. When our ambition is unbounded, it leads us to lie, to cheat, to steal, to hurt others, to sacrifice things of real value.
When our fears are bounded, we’re prudent, we’re cautious, we’re thoughtful. When our fears are unbounded and overblown, we’re reckless, and we’re cowardly.
June 26, 2012
Prof. Dan Gilbert