Monday, April 23, 2007

Falling, losing, and tearing

This comes to us from Janet:
Humans can adjust to almost any amount of bad news, according to Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert. In his book "Stumbling on Happiness," he shows that we think losing a limb will be terrible, but in fact we adjust to it pretty well. In fact, in the long run it generally doesn't affect our level of happiness.
Thankfully, I haven't lost any major limbs (or minor limbs for that matter), so I can't personally attest to this, but it is an interesting idea. I've always said that it isn't what happens to you, but how you react to it that determines your happiness.

Think about those people who are always miserable and bad things seem to happen to them. Now think about your life and the worst things that have happened to you. You've got some pretty comparable stories from your past, don't you?

I tore my ACL a few years ago. After surgery, I remember thinking: "Wow, this really puts things in perspective. There's no WAY I am going to take walking for granted". Perhaps predictably, it didn't take long for me to lose that mindset altogether.

My friend who fell 110 feet already seems to have that perspective. Take a look at the article and slideshow.

If neither losing a limb nor cheating death doesn't affect our overall level of happiness, what on earth does?

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