Friday, December 6, 2019
Achieving Happiness free essay sample
Nowadays we believe that if we are wealthy and have material possessions we would be happy and content with our lives. Is this really the case, how does money and materialistic items help us achieve happiness? If we look at celebrities, athletes, or individuals who possess large sums of wealth and material possessions we believe they are the happiest individuals; that they have everything and buy anything. However, are they really content with their lives? In Gretchen RubinÃ¢â¬â¢s book The Happiness Project, she explains that to be happy it must come from inside oneself; you must do the things you love, have fun, freedom, be positive, and most important that inner drive to push you on the right track in becoming happy. Rubin realizing she was in danger of wasting her life gave herself a year to conduct a happiness project; to not only become happier, but also to be more satisfied and content with every life. Every month she completed a different set of resolutions to help her along the way. Nonetheless, Rubin was innately motivated to achieve true happiness and had that inner drive to change old habits and create new ones. Moreover, the methods Rubin used to become happy relates to Daniel H. PinkÃ¢â¬â¢s book Drive. Pink helps us understand whether or not happiness comes from outside sources or is it within oneself to make the change. His study on extrinsic forces such as money or material possession implies that these only keeps people happy for a short period of time; on the other hand intrinsic forces such as ones inner drive is a greater force than outside influences. Rubin also used intrinsic motivation to commit to her happiness project and commit to her daily habits. Charles Duhigg defines habit as Ã¢â¬Å" Charles DuhiggÃ¢â¬â¢s book The Power of Habit explains how we human beings can change addictive habits or create new and healthy ones. Rubin created and changed habits such as, keeping a low temper, and having more fun. Her overwhelming happiness rubbed off on others and ultimately changed the atmosphere around her house and friends. This emotional contagion relates to Lauren SlaterÃ¢â¬â¢s text book Opening Skinners Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century where she explains two cientists John Darley and Bibb LataneÃ¢â¬â¢s who conducted an experiment to test the reaction of a naive subject; and if that naive subject attempted to aid themselves or others when something disastrous or out of the ordinary occurred. RubinÃ¢â¬â¢s intrinsic motivation based on Drive, her creation of her habit loop and changing of habits explained by Duhigg, and social imitation based on Darley and LataneÃ¢â¬â¢s smoke experiment motivated her to change her habits, and become happier and content with her life. Gretchen Rubin was a mother of two young beautiful daughters, seven-year old Eliza and one-year old Eleanor. She was married to a handsome man named Jamie who loved her as much as she did. Rubin lived in New York City and was a full time writer. However, one April morning Rubin was sitting on a bus looking through rain spattered windows when realized she was in danger of wasting her life. She did not feel happy; she had everything: a loving husband, a loving family, two beautiful kids, friends, wealth, but she did not feel happy. Rubin describes Ã¢â¬Å"I wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t depressed and I wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t having a midlife crisis, but I was suffering from midlife malaiseÃ¢â¬ (2). This midlife malaise was a sense of discontent and feeling of disbelief that she could not do and accomplish anything. As a result of being frustrated and unhappy, Rubin started her own happiness project; every month she set out 4 to 5 resolutions she wished to accomplish by the end of the month for one whole year. These goals led her to intrinsically motivate herself to start a long and dedicated track towards happiness. During the month of January she was dedicated to boost her energy and vitality; she had five resolutions to accomplish during that month: going to sleep earlier, exercising better, organizing her entire house, tackling a nagging task, and acting more energetic. Furthermore, these resolutions had to rely on being intrinsically motivated to complete them. Pink defines intrinsic motivation as Ã¢â¬Å"that enjoyment-based intrinsic motivation, namely how creative a person feels when working on the project, is the strongest and pervasive driverÃ¢â¬ (21). Her 2nd goal during January was to exercise better; however, her father used extrinsic motivation to try to make her exercise. Rubin says Ã¢â¬Å"with extrinsic motivation, people act to win external rewards or avoid external punishmentsÃ¢â¬ (22). As a result Rubin never became too fond of exercising on her own; only when someone forced her to she would. However, with this exercising goal, she inertly motivated herself to try to exercise every day; she did this to make herself feel better, boost energy, and look better. Studies show that when someone feels and looks better; they will be much happier with the way they look and feel. At the end of January Rubin was off to a promising start; she had been intrinsically motivated to become happier and rewarded herself with a check mark on her resolution chart, which made it easier for her to be motivated and stick with her happiness project. All the resolutions Rubin followed during every month were mostly habits that had to be developed. During the month of April, one of her resolutions was to sing in the morning. This was where instead of lashing out on her kids or husband as she used to do, she would try to sing their mistakes or complaints and make them laugh. This took extreme discipline for Rubin, because it was a habit of hers to attain a quick temper and lash out on her kids or husband. This is where the habit loop and golden rule of habit change comes into play. Duhigg defines the habit loop as Ã¢â¬Å"a loop which consists of the cue, routine, reward; cute, routine, reward becomes more and more automaticÃ¢â¬ (19). The cue is the trigger that tells your brain to go into instinctive mode and which habits to useÃ¢â¬ (19). Secondly, the routine is the action or addiction itself, it can be done mentally, emotionally, or physically (Duhigg 19). Lastly the reward is the pleasure and satisfaction in executing a habit. RubinÃ¢â¬â¢s cue before her habit change was when her husband or kids complained about anything such as, when Rubin was changing EleanorÃ¢â¬â¢s diaper and Eliza was complaining that she had not eaten her breakfast (Rubin 95). Her routine whenever this complaining occurred was lashing out or getting upset and lastly her reward was silence or the job getting done. According to Duhigg, the Ã¢â¬Å"golden rule of habit change is only achievable if you use the same cue; provide the same reward, but modify the routine to successfully change the habitÃ¢â¬ (62). Her new habit to sing in the morning changed her previous routine of lashing out to sing her childÃ¢â¬â¢s or husbands complaint and make them laugh and have silence. The cue was still the complaining and the reward was still silence or getting the job done. Rubin describes Ã¢â¬Å" One morning Eliza whined Ã¢â¬Ëwhy do I have to go to class today? I donÃ¢â¬â¢t want to go to tae kwon do ,Ã¢â¬â¢ I wanted to snap back, Ã¢â¬Ë you always say you donÃ¢â¬â¢t want to go, but then you have fun,Ã¢â¬â¢ or Ã¢â¬ËI donÃ¢â¬â¢t like to hear all this grumbling. Ã¢â¬â¢ instead, even thou it wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t easy, I sang out Ã¢â¬Ë I onÃ¢â¬â¢t want to go tae kwon doÃ¢â¬â¢Ã¢â¬ (96). This type of mentality in dealing with kids or spouses increases happiness and helps marital and child relations. This habit change allowed Rubin to not only deal with problems in a positive way, but also allowed her to spread happiness in an easy, but effective manner. Moreover, another habit that Rub in changed was during the month of June; she always had a problem with gossiping. However, one of her resolutions for that month was to stop gossiping all together. To obtain long term happiness, you must give up something that brings short term happiness; such as gossiping (Rubin 155). This short term happiness of gossiping is increasingly fun for social functions, but it is not a nice thing to do and whenever you say critical things about other people the spontaneous trait transference occurs. The spontaneous trait transference is a psychological phenomenon where people unintentionally transfer traits to the people who ascribe them (Rubin 156). For instance, if I was to tell Josh that Bill is ignorant; Josh would believe I was also ignorant. As a result Rubin wished to stop. Furthermore, her cue before stopping was an urge or a juicy story, the routine was talking excessively about it and lastly the reward was the happiness and satisfaction she gossiped. Moreover, she stopped her gossiping by replacing the routine with either walking away or defending the person individuals were talking about. Rubin shares an experience Ã¢â¬Å"I was at a meeting when someone mentioned of mutual acquaintances, Ã¢â¬ËI heard that their marriage was in trouble. Ã¢â¬â¢ Ã¢â¬ËI hadnÃ¢â¬â¢t heard that,Ã¢â¬â¢ someone replied. So fill us in was the implication of her tone. Ã¢â¬ËOh I donÃ¢â¬â¢t think thatÃ¢â¬â¢s true,Ã¢â¬â¢ I said dismissively. LetÃ¢â¬â¢s not talk about that was the implication of my toneÃ¢â¬ (155). Furthermore, two scientists John Darley and Bibb Latane conducted an experiment to test whether or not human beings are driven by social imitation. To test this they brought in three college students; two as actors and one as a naive subject and told them to fill out a questionnaire on college life. A few minutes into the experiment, nonhazardous smoke began to flow out from vents and captivate the room. The two actors continued to fill out the form, but the naive subject was more interested in the heavy smoke pouring out like cream. Slater describes Ã¢â¬Å"The confederates were instructed to keep filling out their forms, to display no fear. They did. The smoke started pouring like cream, coming faster, heavier, smearing the air and blotting out figures, faces. The smoke was an irritant and caused one to cough. Each time, the naive subject looked alarmed, looked at the smoke going from wisp to waft, looked at the calm confederates, and then, clearly confused, went back to filling out the questionnaireÃ¢â¬ (104). The results were extraordinary; the naive subject imitated the actors in the room, doing nothing about the smoke. Slater described Ã¢â¬Å"we are driven by imitationÃ¢â¬ (IDK). This experiment shows that we are driven by social imitation; copying other people to please ourselves and feel comfortable rather than feeling out of place. However, can this be related to happiness? Rubin described Ã¢â¬Å"a phenomenon called Ã¢â¬Ëemotional contagionÃ¢â¬â¢ is unconsciously catching emotions from other peoplewhether good moods or bad ones (127). Thus, social imitation and emotional contagion are the same; For example, we all have that friend that has a Ã¢â¬Å"contagious laughterÃ¢â¬ . Why do you think that is? Well, because of that friendÃ¢â¬â¢s continuous laughter, everyone else in the group may start to inexplicably feel the same way, sometimes without even realizing what is causing their reaction. During May, one of RubinÃ¢â¬â¢s resolutions was to take time to be silly. Even though controlling her temper by singing complaints had done wonders, Rubin wanted even more happiness around her home. She wanted to create a happy atmosphere. One day while putting groceries away, Rubin used two clementineÃ¢â¬â¢s to make goggle eyes at her two daughters; not only making her laugh, but her whole family as well. Since, Eleanor and Eliza saw her mother laughing at her silly joke, they also joined in. This was exactly how the naive subject reacted when he saw the two confederates ignoring the smoke. Instead of reporting the smoke as an emergency, the naive subject also ignored the smoke. Moreover, social imitation or emotional contagion also played a role during the month of June when one of her resolutions was to make three new friends.