Thursday, June 24, 2010

Synthesizing Happiness

Here Dan Gilbert, Harvard Prof, discusses how we synthesize happiness. We CAN make happiness and the kind we make is equally as good as the kind that we kind of stumble upon. The very commodity we chase, is one we can manufacture from within. Fascinating stuff and great news!

He also shares some cool studies about choice. Our "creating happiness" button only goes on when we have no other choice than to accept the cards we're dealt. Given the opportunity to reverse a decision, or to choose differently, can actually leave you unsatisfied in the long run.

This flies in the face of our assumptions about freedom of choice as a good thing. Intuitively, as consumers, I think we're all beginning to feel this truth. Personally, I'm tired of standing in the grocery store stumped over which toilet paper to buy. That's why brands who curate our decision making process are cashing out!

Think of Chipotle (which I just had for lunch). It's a simple as 1, 2, and 3. Or Amazon, which smartly suggests, "customers who bought what you just did, also like this..." Consider how you can make the lives around you more rich by curating and simplifying options for others. It takes so much damn energy to make a decision - so there is a lot of VALUE (be it emotional or monetary) that you can provide by taking decision making work out of whatever is at hand. For business owners, consider how you can taste match your customers' needs and lesson the choices they have to make. For employees, give your boss less options and a clear recommendation. For friends, narrow dinner options down to 3 cuisines instead of "what do you feel like eating?"

1 comment:

  1. Nice post Stella. I have been very interested in the notion of happiness (I am a market researcher and have dealt with the tangential subjects of employee engagement and motivation) and came across your post. I recently read Dan Gilbert's work and his video - very interesting subject indeed!