Daniel Gilbert is a well-known author of the book Stumbling On Happiness. I’ve just finished it and to be honest, I’m not sure why he’s so renowned. Gilbert spends the entire book explaining why we are wrong. We can’t predict what will make us happy, our memories are flawed and we can’t even see straight. There is no question that his writing style is entertaining and he has a great sense of humour but I’m really not sure that his chosen topic is ideal, given his outlook.
Anyone who chooses to read a book about happiness, is probably wanting to be happier. Even the process of reading the book made me unhappy as I counted the pages towards the end. I’d favour reading The How of Happiness or the The Happiness Project if you want to work on being happier.
The basic tenet of Gilbert’s book is that we are highly incapable of predicting our future emotions. But why is that so important? Certainly, if we are about to make a big life decision, we’d like to make sure it will bring us happiness. He shows in the research that it’s more accurate to ask someone else in that position how happy it makes them. But no-one can truly be completely in the position you wish to full as they are not you. If you know yourself well, you will know what you like, you know where you want to live or who you want to marry or what career to follow. Imagine me asking a writer if it’s fun and basing my future careeron that. Wouldn’t I be the fool?
I’m expending a great deal of time and effort into knowing my strengths and weaknesses, talents and desires. Once those are completely clear, I can formulate options for my new career, try them out and make a decision. I’m all for talking to people to understand the pros and cons of any role and what others find challenging and rewarding. I like to obtain views from others as my leadership style is affiliatory. But no-one comes with my experiences, background, culture, beliefs, fears, talents and dreams.
Now that I’m finished his book, it’s time to shake things up again. Happiness is not found in monotony, especially for someone right-brained. As mentioned in my previous post, I believe creativity to be one of the key paths to finding yourself and your life passion. My original search for books on how to find your passion yielded few results. But I did come across a book called ‘The Artists Way’, written by Julia Cameron who helps people connect with their innate talents and their creativity. I’m really excited about it and I’m hoping it will unlock something in me that will lead to some real personal growth.