Why attention might be the key to happiness
Eric Barker stashed this in Diabolical Plans For World Domination
Paul Dolan teaches at the London School of Economics and was a visiting scholar at Princeton where he worked with Nobel-Prize winner Daniel Kahneman.
He explains the importance of attention in his book, Happiness by Design: Change What You Do, Not How You Think:
Your happiness is determined by how you allocate your attention.What you attend to drives your behavior and it determines your happiness. Attention is the glue that holds your life together… The scarcity of attentional resources means that you must consider how you can make and facilitate better decisions about what to pay attention to and in what ways. If you are not as happy as you could be, then you must be misallocating your attention… So changing behavior and enhancing happiness is as much about withdrawing attention from the negative as it is about attending to the positive.
Make sense, right? So how can you and I put this to use?
Here are 5 questions to ask yourself about attention that can have a profound affect on your happiness:
1. Are you actually paying attention?
"Savoring" is a powerful method for boosting happiness. It's also ridiculously simple:
Next time something good happens, stop whatever you are doing, give it a second, and appreciate that moment. Pay attention to it.
Savoring is all about attention. Focus on the bad, you'll feel bad. Focus on the good and… guess what happens?
2. What are you paying attention to?
Why are lawyers 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression and more likely to end up divorced?
Training your mind to look for errors and problems (as happens in careers like accounting and law) makes you miserable.
There's a doctor livin' in your town
There's a lawyer and an Indian, too
And neither doctor, lawyer nor Injun chief
Could love you any more than I do...
...and apparently they're also far less likely to be happier than me too!