TED Conversations

Ella Ben Zvi

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You want to make God laugh? Tell him about your plans...

The problem is not that we have choices; the problem is that we just don’t know how to choose... But we can learn:
We can learn how to be better and smarter consumers
We can learn how to live in the moment
We can learn how to choose without being disappointed – and NOT by lowering our expectations and aspirations. Killing our hopes and dreams won’t do us any good!

What make us unhappy are not the multiple choices, we are unhappy because we try to control and plan their outcomes. And planning and controlling are the predetermined failure that leads us to depression. BTW, if we’ll stop trying to control, we would also be able to live in the moment...

And about the consuming, I find it not surprising that most of the examples were about shopping… We tend to mix buying with being, and that is the real problem of western industrial societies…

I think that the quote: “The secret to happiness is low expectations” is a cynical and negative statement. And living in a dictatorship of options is clearly not the solution…
I believe we can learn to choose with love, and not with fear. We can learn how to go with the flow, instead of complaining about him. And we can be happy and contented with our choice.
Freedom, choice, and the freedom of choice are essential to our happiness, because the real secret to happiness is do what you want.

Topics: happines

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  • Apr 12 2012: I agree that the quote: “The secret to happiness is low expectations” is cynical and negative.

    But it is true that one of the reasons of the sadness is too high expectations about what it is possible.

    I do not know what it the secret of happiness, but I think that one of the key to reach it is the awareness of what you can really do, and what you cannot do.

    If you are conscious about what are your skills and your possibilities in life, you will not have "low" expectations, but you will have "realistic" expectations. That can seems the same thing, if you are a pessimistic, but in my opinion is not.
    Dream about a better world is inspiring. It is necessary also to imagine the real actions that can be taken to make a better world possible. And if you are engaged in working toward it, the world will became better for you, as you will be happier to live in it.

    My mother used to say to me: "Do not expect from people more than what they can offer." I think this is another key of happiness. Too often we rely on the others as our source of happiness, and this is quite natural as we are social being.
    But also here, what is fundamental (in my opinion) is the consciousness. We cannot ask to others more than what they can offer, and this can be either remember a date, or helping us in an important project.

    In conclusion, I think I would say: The secret of happiness is an expectation based on being concrete.
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      Apr 14 2012: Hi Maria,

      Thank you so much for your response.
      I want to ask you a question, how can you know what you can or cannot do?
      how can you be aware of what you can really do?
      you have to try first, you have to experience it on yourself before you decide.
      Why close your options? reduce your point of view in advance?

      Life is full of Disappointments, but they are also full of surprises
      • Apr 16 2012: Hi Ella,

        Thansk for your reply :)

        I think that the experience is fundamental to became aware of who you are and what you can do.
        I did not intend to say that we should not try. But there is a time to try, and a time to undestand the result of us trying. I think that this is what in general is missed of the youth: the life full of possibilities.
        As whe you grew up, you became aware that you cannot do anything, but only something.
        I'm not being cynical and I am in general really optimistic, but I try also to be realistic.

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