Why You Are Not Happy

Here lies one of the secrets to your unhappiness: shifting comparison.

UnhappyWhy aren’t we happier? There are a few reasons why people are not nearly as happy as they think they should be. One of these reasons is comparison. Here is a personal example. Everyone I knew had a cool new phone, so I wanted a cool new phone. So, I went to the phone store and found one that had lots and bells and whistles and gadgets and doohickeys! My techie geek glands kicked into gear and I started salivating and my eyes glazed over and I said “I want THAT one!” I was SO excited! I couldn’t wait to get it home and start playing with my new toy. Which had a very thick instruction booklet. In fact, here were online tutorials where I could learn how to use my brand new doohickey! There were so many thingybobs on my doohickey that before long I was frustrated. “I just want to make a call!” I shouted at the phone (though no one was listening). So, the phone was so complicated that it took me months before I had read enough of the instruction booklet, watched enough tutorials and called technical support enough that I felt comfortable even using the phone, let alone take pictures, E-mail with it and listen to my favorite music on it. The BEST feeling I had about that phone was in the store! So, what I thought was going to make me happy, didn’t! Before I go on, think about YOU. Think about your own life. How many times did you get what you wanted and it turned out that wanting was a better experience than having? Maybe it wasn’t with something as material as a phone. Maybe it was the job, or your spouse or having a child. Please take a moment to reflect before reading on.
So, back to the question, why aren’t we happier? Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness explains it like this, “The comparisons we make when we [] estimate how much we will like things are not the same comparisons we will use when we consume them. This problem of shifting comparisons can bedevil our attempts to make rational decisions.” Using my phone as an example, I thought I would REALLY like it because it had all kinds of bells and whistles. But when I actually used the phone, I didn’t want bells and whistles, I wanted a phone that I could use easily. People do this a lot and this is one of the reasons I so enjoy teaching Happiness 101. I enjoy educating people about what will actually make them happy instead of what they THINK will make them happy. This Saturday, is Happiness 201. Yes, TWO-oh-one! After this four-hour workshop, you will walk out with a PERSONALIZED PLAN FOR YOUR HAPPINESS! I only teach this class every six months or so and it is only $50!! Well, it is $50 if you pay in advance. It’s $65 at the door and Saturday is sneaking up fast. So, “the door” is the one on my office – at 220 East 3900 South #7, Salt Lake City or if you are interested in paying in advance send me an E-mail at frank@saltlakementalhealth.com or you can send me a message on Facebook. You can’t miss me, I’m the one with the big smile on his face!

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