Research on Happiness and Bad Decisions…. from Dan Gilbert


Research shows that when we (humans) make decisions, we tend to focus on what we’re getting and forget about what we are forgoing.

I was just going to share this interesting article–Buried by bad decisions–by Dan Gilbert with you. But then I happened upon Dan Gilbert’s TED Talks:


You can access them all at Dan Gilbert’s Ted page.

Enjoy the article. Its really interesting. Enjoy the talks, I am yet to complete all three. But I’ve watched the first one some time ago.

Taking The Long View

From “Food for Thought” By Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo (Phra Suddhidhammaransi Gambhiramedhacariya) translated from the Thai byThanissaro Bhikkhu

August 4, 1957

Most of us tend to concern ourselves only with short, small, and narrow things. For instance, we think that there isn’t much to human life — we’re born and then we die — so we pay attention only to our stomachs and appetites. There’s hardly anyone who thinks further than that, who thinks out past death. This is why we’re short-sighted and don’t think of developing any goodness or virtues within ourselves, because we don’t see the truth and the extremely important benefits we’ll gain from these things in the future.


Actually, the affairs of each person are really long and drawn out, and not at all short. If they were short, we’d all know where we came from and how we got where we are. The same would hold true for the future: If our affairs were really a short story, we’d know where we’re going and what we’ll be after death.

You can read the rest of Taking the Long View at

How Do You Fare on the HappyPlanetIndex?

Today, I visited the to check it out because my father, creator of, asked me to. My country, Sri Lanka has achieved a happy place on the index. That makes us both happy!

According to the website, “the HPI is an innovative measure that shows the ecological efficiency with which human well-being is delivered around the world. It is the first ever index to combine environmental impact with well-being to measure the environmental efficiency with which country by country, people live long and happy lives.”

Now the second compilation of the global HPI (covering countries representing 99% of the global population) was published in July 2009. It shows that that we earth-citizens are still far from achieving sustainable well-being. It also puts forward a vision of what we need to do to get there.

As the report says, the nations that top the Index aren’t the happiest places in the world. But, those that score well on the HPI are proof that it is possible to achieve long, happy lives without over-stretching the planet’s resources.

I am committed to sustainable living. So I wanted to sign The Happy Planet Charter. This is what I found at the top of the page, and how true:

The future is not the result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created – created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination.
John Scharr

In order to create a happy planet, it is important to have some clear goals to work towards. The Happy Planet Charter provides clear targets for all nations, to help achieve sustainable well-being.

You should sign The Happy Planet Charter if you believe that:

  • A new narrative of progress is required for the twenty-first century.
  • It is possible to have a good life without costing the Earth.
  • Over-consumption in rich countries represents one of the key barriers to sustainable well-being worldwide and that governments should strive to identify economic models that do not rely on constantly growing consumption to achieve stability and prosperity.

And those of us who believe so, should call for:

  • Governments to measure people’s well-being and environmental impact in a consistent and regular way, and to develop a framework of national accounts that considers the interaction between the two so as to guide us towards sustainable well-being.
  • Developed nations to set an HPI target of 89 by 2050 – this means reducing per capita footprint to 1.7 gha (global hectares), increasing mean life satisfaction to eight (on a scale of 0 to 10) and continuing to increase mean life expectancy to reach 87 years.
  • Developed nations and the international community to support developing nations in achieving the same target by 2070.

Please sign up for the Charter here if you believe in achieving sustainable well-being for all of us around the globe.

Karma – Story 03 About the bird that died in the wildfire

Not in the air, nor in the middle of ocean,
nor in the caves of hills, nowhere in the whole world
could a man find a spot
where he might not be overcome by death.

A group of bhikkus on their way to see the Buddha, saw a bird that had perished in a wildfire. They asked the Buddha why this was so.

According to the Buddha, this happend because the bird, in a previous birth as a farmer had got so angry with an unmanageable bull and killed it by tying a load of hay onto its back and setting it alight. This is the karma that caused him to be burned in a wildfire even though he could fly.

Your deeds follow you like the wheels of the cart follow the oxen. There is no escaping that.

Visit to learn more about how to break this cycle of death and birth through mind culture.

Karma – Story 02 About the iguana in the anthill

A group of bhikkus who came to visit Buddha from far was resting in a rock cave, taking a break on their journey. There was a rock slide and the entrance to the cave was blocked. They were trapped inside without food and water for a week. They resolved to ask the Buddha what karma they had commited that caused this event.
The Buddha looked back (with his ability to see into the past events) at their past births and replied. When the seven bhukkus were shepherd boys in a past life, they had seen a huge iguana going into an anthill. They had covered all the holes in the anthill and trapped the lizard in there and released it only after seven days. This was the karma that caused them to starve for a week in this life.
Big or small, our thoughts, words and deeds have consequences. You cannot escape them hiding in caves.