Be Happier With A Positivity Bias

16636257678_6e4358db42_z

Caption: Cats are the key to happiness, but if you’re allergic or something, try developing a positivity bias.1

Negative events are almost universally more interesting to us than positive ones.

The other day I saw a murder case TV special about a psychopath killing a nice woman. Ugh. After it was over, I felt angry and sad and wondered, “Why did I just watch that? What benefit did that provide me?” And then I wondered why murder-centric stories—fiction and nonfiction—were so popular on TV.

Why do I never see any TV specials about a happy family that has had dinner together for 20 years?

We think a happy and conflict-free scenario is too boring to watch, but something as terrible as murder is fascinating. Why? WHY?! [Continue Reading…]

Events Don’t Make Winners

14085298969_8943ea8ffe_z

What makes a winner a winner? (photo by ronWLS)

It’s hard not to see it the wrong way.

Sports teams hoist the trophy after they win the big game, and not a moment sooner. Only one team is named champion, even if the teams are similarly skilled and equally deserving of victory. This distorts our view of success.

The losing team sulks because they lost, but they may still be winners.

We feel validated by winning, but winners are made well before they win. In other words, victory is nice, but it doesn’t make someone a winner. Victory is something that happens to someone who has already won.
[Continue Reading…]

Sink Your Sunk Costs (or Be Sunk)

roadworms

I recently visited San Antonio, TX to see if I wanted to live there. It looked just about perfect on paper.

I paid for roundtrip airfare, car rental, and a hotel for several days. Shortly after arriving, I realized that San Antonio has somewhat high population density and a road system that resembled a pile of worms. I like simplicity and dislike chaos, so I knew it was not for me. Since I had some more time, I visited a smaller city nearby called New Braunfels.

I liked New Braunfels. It was simpler, less crowded, and had some of the amenities I look for. I began telling some people that I would likely move there. It would have been a mistake if I did.

 

[Continue Reading…]

Never Live Like You’re Behind

6544322857_95e94e7d74_z

“Coach K.” of Duke University (Photo by SportsAngle)

Is there an area in which you feel like you’re “behind” where you should be?

Do you feel behind in friends, money, respect, free time, happiness, productivity, fitness, health, organization, relationships, or success in general? If an area comes to mind, think about it as you read through this post.

Duke Was Behind, and Then This Happened

Duke University’s basketball team was losing by 22 points in their Final Four basketball game against Maryland in 2001. [Continue Reading…]