TED Conversations

Aneesah Bakker

Owner/Director/Developer, Creative Change Coaching

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

When we think we have no options, can we change our perception? Does having options make us happier?

Like with "everything", so too there "is" a paradox of choice.

1. Are we happier when we think we have a choice?
2. What if circumstances are such that there "are" no choices, e.g. during the holocaust. Lessons learned indicate that perceiving a choice in such circumstances can create "happiness".
3. Can too much choice, create unhappiness?
4. Are there different types of choices?
5. Whose responsibility is it to change our perception?
6. In any given situation, would you try to change the circumstances before you try to change your perspective?
7. Can the economics of happiness be separated from the economics of things/consumerism?

A related ted talk on the Ted radio hour is the talk by Barry Schwartz: Does Having Options Make Us Happier:
http://www.npr.org/2012/05/04/151879693/does-having-options-make-us-happier

+4
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    May 8 2012: Hi, I am a Master NLP coach trainer and practitioner. So here is my take on your questions. Perception is the basis of all that we experience. There is no reality in reality....Everything that we experience, observe, hear, and see are sole results of our perception. Two people can look, hear, feel, or experience the same event at the same time and come away with totally different perceptions. Why is this? There is always an option in the perceptual level.

    Happiness is a work without meaning as are all non-objective nouns. Many of us could have discussions what happiness is to us and have real disagreements as well. So to answer your question #1, the answer is, it depends on your definition of happiness, some may be happier with choices while other may be happier with perceiving they only have one choice.
    Even during the holocaust, people had choices and many people made other choices than to be cremated in gas chambers...when people feel they have more control, they may also feel happier...suicide was a choice better than being killed by others, perhaps..the perception that "there is only one choice" is just that, a perception but it is not reality.
    #3...same as above..depends on the person and their perceptions
    #4 Like colors of the rainbow, the are many choices to most events..what happens to you may not be a great perception especially if you wind up in a hospital, however, it is a great thing for the medical profession who earns a living by treating you...maybe be negative for you but quite positive for others, but it is the same event.
    #5. The responsibility lies in oneself and this gets into the area of personal responsibility.
    #6 By changing the perceptions all else changes as well all the way through the cycle to include consequences...
    #7. Depends on the person once again..some are happy with everything, others are happy with simplicity...a perception also, and there are those not happy with everything and always want more...
    Great questions!!!

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.