It seems that we humans aren’t too good at finding happiness, even if it’s the main reason for why we do anything.
In our pursuit of happiness, we may rely only on our own mind, especially on our imagination and memory, or we can use the current experiences of the others.
Daniel Gilbert in his new book “Stumbling on Happiness”, seems to develop the idea that our imagination and memory instead of helping us, they betray us on our path to happiness.
In this process of achieving happiness, our memory call the past, trying to build the puzzle of some past events, but our memory not being perfect use imagination to fill its gaps, in this way it misinform us. On the other hand, our imagination tries to build the future with the pieces from our past, but we have to understand that this is only a guess, not an accurate picture of the future.
I must agree that our imagination and memory often trick us, but we must be aware that they are tools and tools aren’t good or bad, but their usage is so. Even if our mental tools can’t be fully controlled, we have the capacity to discipline them and make them our servants.
The trickiest thing that hides in our imagination is this fancy: if I get that … I’ll be happy!
The other way to approach happiness is to use the current experiences of the others. In Neuro-Linguistic Programming NLP there is a principle which says that we can access excellence by modeling it. If you want to excel in a certain domain then all you have to do is to find one of the best people in that domain, then ask in details how he do what interest you (what he believe, feel, think, etc.). After you collect all information you need, you must put all disparate data in a model, and then try to implement it in your life.
Tip: When you find yourself thinking “if I get that … I’ll be happy!”, find someone that got that, and try to understand his experience and even if he is happier now that before acquiring or achieving that thing.