TED Conversations

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:


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  • May 11 2012: There is a study that associates no options to depression, it was already been citated in one TED video, but I canĀ“t remember the name of it. I will try to find it.
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      May 13 2012: Dear Bruna, I have not yet found this study. It would be interesting to note what they looked at exactly and what the details of the findings were.

      What I did find was the talk where Dan Gilbert asks Why Are We Happy

      Here is an excerpt:
      "It turns out that freedom, the ability to make up your mind and change your mind, is the friend of natural happiness, because it allows you to choose among all those delicious futures and find the one that you would most enjoy. But freedom to choose, to change and make up your mind, is the enemy of synthetic happiness. And I'm going to show you why. ...

      The psychological immune system works best when we are totally stuck, when we are trapped."

      This idea appeals to me - From personal experience and observation, also as an avid reader of success stories where individuals find themselves hitting rock bottom and decide there is no way but up, people have the capacity to resource the strength they didn't realize they had to rise out of depression and make new choices and create happiness!

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