The Secret To Happiness: Concrete Goals
Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that you’d like to be happy. How you gonna do that? Researchers at Stanford University have some advice, garnered from experiments with 543 people: When choosing goals, choose concrete, specific goals of benevolence – like making someone smile or increasing recycling – instead of more abstract goals – like making someone happy or saving the environment. A Stanford news release reports that the researchers found, for example, that an experiment involving bone marrow transplants focused on the whether giving those who need bone marrow transplants “greater hope” – the abstract goal – or giving those who need bone marrow transplants a “better chance of finding a donor” – the concrete goal – made a giver more happy. The answer: Helping someone find a donor resulted in more happiness for the giver. Why? Because, the researchers believe, happiness was driven by givers’ perceptions that their actual acts better met their expectations of accomplishing their goal of helping another person. The researchers also found, unsurprisingly, that the more abstract goals are often more unrealistic, and less likely to make anyone happy. Aren’t you happy to have learned that? Read more from Stanford.