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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

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Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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The Road to Happiness is Less Bumpy Than You Think

December 23, 2012, 3:00 PM
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What's the Latest Development?

What happiness author Gretchen Rubin has found is that actively seeking out a content lifestyle by making big changes is much less successful than people would hope. In her most recent book, Happiness at Home, Rubin focuses on marriage, parenthood and possessions, transforming small matters, like cluttered kitchen cabinets or overstuffed closets, into streams of happiness. "Outer order contributes to inner calm," she says. She suggests that sometimes we have to ask ourselves why we change things that aren't broken.

What's the Big Idea?

Some researchers have taken a more scientific approach to achieving happiness. Rather than making drastic life changes, small alternations to your routine can pay large dividends. "Constantly striving for happiness can overemphasize our shortcomings—which may amplify sadness. That's not to say all negative thoughts are bad. In fact, sometimes awareness of negativity leads to important insight. 'Negative thoughts can sometimes be useful when they alert us to a potential threat or danger,' says June Gruber, assistant professor of psychology at Yale. 'Or signal to us that something isn't right in a relationship or circumstance.'"

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

 

 

The Road to Happiness is Le...

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