Personal Development Hack 137: How to Be Happy When Everything Goes Wrong

HomeBlogsPersonal Development Hack 137: How to Be Happy When Everything Goes Wrong

How to be happy when everything goes wrong is an important skill to learn as we live, we are bound to have positive and negative experiences with love, happiness, crises, and failures. Our response to these experiences is subjective, such that, while negative experiences do sometimes help us to grow, they may also leave us in a miserable state at other times. And after a while, we may regret the time we lost in sulking and/or how we should have been happier during that time.   

But, why do we face difficulties related to happiness? Harvard Social Psychologist Daniel Gilbert explained this by stating that most of us have the wrong map of our pursuit of happiness. His research has found that we aren’t actually very good at estimating how many situations will make us happy or sad, and this is because our brain systematically misjudges what makes us happy.

For example, let’s consider that you won a pretty big lottery, you may think you will get long-lasting happiness from it. Or unfortunately, if you get paralyzed by accident, you experience long-lasting sadness. Instead, research suggests the exact opposite effect of these examples: that even after life-changing events, people’s happiness returns to a normal state. 

So, how can we be happy when everything goes wrong? An effective hack is to use Gilbert’s findings by understanding that we tend to focus on change and not on the things that remain constant. To do this, in times of crisis when everything goes wrong, start making a mental or written list of things that will be constant irrespective of what goes wrong today. A few constants in the list could be that the sun will still rise from the east, earth will rotate around the sun, and so on. 

This is highly effective because as you make a long list of things that will remain constant irrespective of things that are going wrong right now, you will realize that it’s still a small part of life, not the whole life. Hence, it will give you the necessary big picture to be happy even when things go wrong.  

“The secret of happiness is variety, but the secret of variety, like the secret of all spices, is knowing when to use it”

-Daniel Gilbert 


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