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Monday Motivation: 3 TED Talks on Happiness

Happiness is a nearly universal pursuit that most of us strive to achieve, but what exactly is happiness, and how does a person find it? These TED presenters each have their own unique answers to these questions:

Matthieu Ricard- The Habits of Happiness

“It is a deep sense of serenity and fulfillment.”

Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist from France. In his TED talk, he shares quotes and viewpoints from French philosophers contrasted by traditional Buddhist philosophies. His talk is a great primer on the Buddhist theory of the mind and how it relates to happiness. His belief is that happiness comes about through habits that help increase our inner well-being, such as meditation and working on releasing negative feelings.

Dan Gilbert- The Surprising Science of Happiness

“We synthesize happiness, but we think happiness is a thing to be found.”

Dan Gilbert is a social psychologist and an author. In his TED talk he compares natural happiness to synthetic happiness. Natural happiness, he explains, comes from getting what we want, whereas synthetic happiness is created when things don’t go our way. When a person is able to be happy in unfortunate circumstances, that is an example of synthetic happiness. Gilbert believes that synthetic happiness is every bit as real and beneficial as natural happiness and is possible for us to achieve.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi- Flow, the Secret to Happiness

“In fact, you can find that the lack of basic resources, material resources, contributes to unhappiness, but the increase in material resources does not increase happiness.”

Csikszentmihalyi is also a psychologist and has studied happiness as his main point of focus. In his TED talk he discusses how he has found that once a person’s basic needs are met, material positions do not increase a person’s happiness. So, what does increase happiness? He believes flow states are the answer. Flow states happen when we are completely engrossed in the current moment so that creativity flows freely.


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