Would you be happier if you were a paraplegic, or if you won the lottery?
We know – that sounds like an insane question. Not to mention, a pretty obvious one, too.
But Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, wanted to challenge the notion that we’ll be miserable if things don’t go how we want. So he decided to study paraplegics and winners of the lottery.
And shockingly, he found that a year later, the paraplegics and winners of the lottery were equally happy.
Why? Well, our brain has a “psychological immune system” that allows us to feel true, genuine happiness even when things don’t exactly go our way. It leads to “synthesized happiness,” which is the happiness we make for ourselves even in bad situations.
Many believe that natural happiness – the happiness we feel when things go our way – is better than synthesized happiness. Check out Dan Gilbert’s TED Talk, where he debunks that myth with good ol’ science.