Choose happiness over specialness.
Most of us know where to find quick hits of pleasure and enjoyment. But what about satisfaction that lasts for years, or decades, or a lifetime? It can be tempting to think the secret lies in pursuing more—more money, more accomplishments, more friends, more stuff—but we have overwhelming evidence that more doesn’t work. Maybe the secret is…wanting less? Arthur Brooks teaches classes on happiness at Harvard Business School, and is the author of the New York Times bestseller “From Strength to Strength,” among many other popular books and essays. He draws from the latest research in psychology, neuroscience, behavioral economics, and other disciplines to explain why our biology pushes us to accumulate and pursue but doesn’t have our long-term best interests in mind. The good news is we can circumvent that hard-wiring by shifting our perspectives, pointing in a new direction, and chipping away at what we’ve built up on the outside to find our true selves within.