Should you CHOOSE happiness? Yes, but only if there are limited options.

We’re trained to think that having options is the quickest way to being happy. If you could have ANY job you wanted…if you could have ANY paint color…the possibilities are endless. But what if giving ourselves so many options is putting our contentment at risk? Who is more content, the person who can choose any job or the person who has never had to think about what job he would do?  After you paint a room, how many times do you go back and question whether it was the right color, out of the hundreds of options? How often do you do that with your car color (when there were only 5 options)? I’m not saying one is better than the other, in fact I think they’re both vital, but instead I’m just positing a notion.


Watched a fascinating TED Talk on The Science of Happinessrecently that discussed exactly this topic. Dan Gilbert, the speaker, shows that when people were given multiple options, or a choice at all, they were much more likely to be unhappy with their decision – always questioning if they made the right one. Conversely, people who were only given one choice were surprisingly content. Why? Well, the answer I guess is in the statement – they had no other choice. They had to be content with their decision.

The other thing he mentioned that was interesting is that those people who didn’t have a choice, who CONVINCED themselves that they were happy with their choice, even though they never had one, were just as validly happy as someone who gained happiness, what we might consider, the “traditional” way. I think a lot of times our inclination is to pity someone who has convinced themselves that they are happy with an otherwise unfortunate choice or situation, but science has actually proven that they’re the lucky ones. It has shown that their “happiness” is as valuable as any other form. Pretty amazing what our mind is capable of.

Spoon Summerford