For most of us, the ultimate goal is to find happiness in our lives, both on a grand scale and in our smaller day to day moments. While it might seem contradictory, recent studies
have found that the intense pursuit of happiness can actually make people more unhappy.
It's a shocking fact, but the more emphasis and pressure we place on finding happiness, the harder it is to find. So what can we do without giving up? According to author and University of Pennsylvania professor Adam Grant
, we need to look at happiness in a different light.
In the experiment conducted above, we interviewed two people. We asked one person to name three good things about her life, the other was asked to name 37. While naming 37 things quickly became overwhelming for the second subject, the first person interviewed had no trouble naming three things and instantly felt more optimistic about her life than the second person. The experiment works inversely as well. When a person is asked to name three bad things about their life versus a large number of bad things, the person with the larger number feels that their life must not be so bad because they struggle to name such a large number of negative things.
The takeaway, according to Grant, is that a simple practice of naming three good things about your life is a great way to feel more content. Watch above as he explains the surprising facts behind this experiment.
Adam Grant is Wharton’s top-rated professor and a
New York Times writer on work and psychology. He has been recognized as one of the world's 25 most influential management thinkers, the 100 most creative people in business, the 40 best business professors under 40, and Malcolm Gladwell’s favorite thinkers. Previously, he was a record-setting advertising director, a junior Olympic springboard diver, and a professional magician. Adam is the author of two
New York Times bestselling books: The Originals and Give and Take