Happiness is a glass half empty | Oliver Burkeman

Notable highlights:

  • “Indeed, nothing outside your own mind can properly be described as negative or positive at all: what actually causes suffering are the beliefs you hold about those things.”
  • “It’s just that the failures don’t write books. You rarely see autobiographies of people who took risks that then didn’t work out.”
  • “Those with a ‘fixed theory’ assume that ability is innate; those with an ‘incremental theory’ believe that it evolves through challenge and hard work….Incremental-theory people are different. Because they think of abilities as emerging through tackling challenges, the experience of failure has a completely different meaning for them: it’s evidence that they are stretching themselves to their current limits. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t fail.”
  • “Psychologists have long agreed that one of the greatest enemies of human happiness is "hedonic adaptation” – the predictable and frustrating way in which any new source of pleasure we obtain, whether it’s as minor as a new electronic gadget or as major as a marriage, swiftly gets relegated to the backdrop of our lives: we grow accustomed to it, and it ceases to deliver so much joy.“
  • "The results are striking: spending time and energy focusing on how well things could go, it has emerged, actually reduces most people’s motivation to achieve them.”

Happiness is a glass half empty | Oliver Burkeman