Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Theory of Happiness: Lessons from Kahneman

This applies to all types of human experience, relationships, vacations, your life.  The real time emotions of joy and sorrow are fleeting. They are 3 second blocks of time that evaporate into the void.  The only things that stick in your mind are changes, highlights, and the endings.  The real time experience of happiness only imprints when the magnitudes are high and the timing is correct.  Timing is not time.... since duration has little bearing on how good or bad something is remembered, but the Timing is key. You can have a terrible time, but if there are good peaks and a greatly satisfying ending, you will remember this as being better than something that was stably better.  We are derivative junkies with an enormous weight on the end timing. =)
The end state leaves the taste in your mouth good or bad.

My friend Ian had the idea is of taking small things away from employees the entire year, then giving it back to them at the end in one giant chunk. This is very clever at catbert like actually.  We think this would prove better than having a pleasant work time the entire year, then having a crappy ending.... this is why raises and bonuses timed at the end are so key, if you can move suckage anywhere, you are better putting suckage in the middle.

This is important because if you want to maximize your efficiency of effort, you can let everything suck daily but make sure the peaks and endings are epic.

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