The Beauty of Being Wretched

Growing up I had no contact with cancer. My first exposure to its grim realities was a movie in the early 80s. John Hurt played the role of a man who was often reduced to vomiting in his sink. It shook me up and I always felt deep sympathy for anyone diagnosed. Over the decades […]

Artificial Happiness and the Power of No Choice

We have a tendency to overestimate the impact that events will have in our life. Ask anyone whether they would be happier winning millions or losing a leg and you get the expected answer. Yet, Dan Gilbert’s research shows the peaks and troughs of both happiness and sadness flatten out after around three months. If we win millions, a […]

Wait Three Months and Things will be Better

There is no doubt life can batter you. However, those blows are transitory. Dan Gilbert’s research shows that we recover from most things after about three months. Don’t take my words for it, have a listen to Gilbert, a Harvard professor, who studies the science of happiness. He explains it so much better. No matter […]

The Loss of Wisdom is Such a Waste

A great conversation starter is: “What three people from history would you most like to have dinner with?” It sets minds racing on who was the most brilliant thinker, explorer, adventurer, leader, artist, singer, ruler or politician.  It is hard to weigh up the respective merits of science, medicine, philosophy, astronomy, art, culture or discovery. I’m fascinated to hear other […]

Synthetic Happiness – Win Millions or Lose a Leg?

In this video, Harvard Professor Dan Gilbert explains synthetic happiness. This odd-sounding concept is about the happiness we manufacture when we don’t get what we want from life. Given the way ‘crap happens’, that is a darn handy thing to know. So, please take a moment to wrap your thinking gear around this concept. Synthetic […]

Science of Happiness – Skip the Drugs, Give Me Happy Juice

Happiness is a state of mind. A way of life and, yes, perhaps even a choice we make. Happiness is not about what we own or who we are. Could it be true that we actually choose whether to be happy in life? Can we choose whether to be lonely and miserable or to feel connected, […]

Old Age is Not for Sissies

In my early 40s we were out with a large group of friends having dinner. The performers came on stage and suddenly there was a flurry of activity as everyone reached into pockets or bags to find their glasses. We were just that age. Few of us needed glasses all the time, but they did […]

A Memorable Death

Marvin is 55 years old and he has a brain tumour. He is getting physically weaker by the day and is now having difficulty in breathing. However, he is still mentally very alert. Although Marvin knows that death is imminent, he does not seem to fear death, at least not outwardly. As he is not […]

The Fallacy of Consumerism – Money Can’t Buy Me Love

Happiness knows no boundaries, social class, location or career. Yet, the lure of consumerism still holds us in its hypnotic sway. We all know that things don’t make us happy, but how deeply do we understand that reality? Science increasingly proves what most of us already knew – that happiness is a state of mind […]