Reflection versus being in the now

Daniel Kahneman speaking at University of Michigan winter 2010 Commencement.

People in California think they are happier than people in Ohio. People in Ohio think people in California are happier, too. Just think of the climate.

Actually, Californians are no more happy than Ohioans. The “Focusing Illusion” tricks us into thinking this way. Nothing in life is as important in life as when you are thinking about it.

People have two selves, the Remembering Self and the Experiencing Self. The Remembering Self comes to life when you think about life. It’s the storyteller. It keeps score on how well you’re doing. You certainly want it to tell the story of a good life.

The Experiencing Self lives in the now. It lives moment to moment. It doesn’t care about money. It’s happy when you’re interacting with other people. You want it to live a good life, too.

Well-being requires keeping both selves happy.

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