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Aneesah Bakker

Owner/Director/Developer, Creative Change Coaching

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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

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    May 8 2012: 1. Obviously, who will not like to have choices.
    2. Such situations itself will make you helpless, and under such pressing circumstances, it is better to accept WHAT IS - the PRESENT - LET GO. All these are the choices in a sense, to accept ones fate. It can never create happiness - now that is a long shot, but surely it can infuse one with peace and calmness. As sages put it - 'to die consciously before death'
    3. Definitely. See the world around you and the countless unhappy people, ever growing because of multiple choices.
    4. Yes
    5.Primarily ones own, he/she has to be willing to learn. Seek out sages and savants and put his/her belief in their teachings .It may help.
    6. Yes would like to give a try, but not be aggressive. not a hammer and tong approach, but think it as challenge, see if something can be learnt. If the circumstances do not change, change the perspective.
    7. I do not understand what is meant by economic of happiness, but this much I know happiness is separate from the economics of things consumerism, which does not give happiness but short term pleasure. Pleasure and gratification are not happiness.
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      May 8 2012: Dear Asgar,
      Regarding:
      "2. Such situations itself will make you helpless, and under such pressing circumstances, it is better to accept WHAT IS - the PRESENT - LET GO. All these are the choices in a sense, to accept ones fate. It can never create happiness - now that is a long shot, but surely it can infuse one with peace and calmness. As sages put it - 'to die consciously before death'"

      I realize that people have different perspectives on the meaning of Happiness. there are times when we would not necessarily define our state of mind/experience as "happiness"... this is true for me. In this case, "peace and calmness" is close enough.

      I agree that there are situations where because of certain "boundaries" such as limited time in which to make a decision, it is useful to let go and "accept" rather than resist what is.

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