How dependent are you on outside forces for your happiness?
Are you happier when you achieve what you’ve been longing for, or when you simply have to just make do with what you’ve got? For example, the amount of happiness your experience as a result of you finally getting that promotion, compared to not getting it?
In this TED Talk, Stumbling On Happiness author Dan Gilbert explains that scientifically, we can be just as happy by manufacturing our own happiness (synthetic happiness) as we can if we get what we want. The reason for this is because we have a psychological immune system that slides into gear during circumstances that may initially make us feel pretty miserable.
One of the most interesting pieces of trivia he reveals is one case where the happiness levels of paraplegics and lottery winners were compared. Astoundingly, one year after both of their remarkably different life-altering experiences, they exhibited the same level of happiness.