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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.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

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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Hedonic Adaptation

The Big Idea for Sunday, January 27, 2013

When you enter a romantic relationship, or get married, or have a kid, you are jumping onto the so-called "hedonic treadmill." An initial period of bliss will subside and you will eventually return to a relatively stable level of happiness. Happiness is a treadmill in the sense that you need to keep working at it.

In today's lesson, Sonja Lyubomirsky dispatches some of the most common myths about happiness, namely that certain life-changing events will lead us directly to happiness, or conversely, to a state of being unhappy. As Lyubomirsky points out, this reductive understanding of happiness represents a false promise. After all, you can be unhappily married or happily divorced. It all depends on how you manage expectations and train your brain to take the best advantage of your circumstances. 

 

Perspectives

  1. 1 Happiness Favors the Prepared Mind
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 Why Does New Love Fade so Fast?
    Orion Jones IdeaFeed
  3. 3 The Duality of Happiness
    Jonathan Haidt
  4. 4 Daniel Kahneman: Why Moving to California Won’t Make You Happy
    Jason Gots Think Tank
 

Hedonic Adaptation

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