The Happiness Hypothesis
Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom
Researchers know that our brains have two systems: a rational system and an emotional system. Jonathan David Haidt, an American social psychologist and author, developed a clever analogy. Think of your brain as a human riding on top of an elephant. In this case, the rider represents the rational system that solves problems. While the rider might do some analysis and decide he wants to proceed this way, it is the elephant that provides the power for the journey. Whether the rider leads the elephant or drags it, who would you bet on if they ever disagree? It’s precisely the elephant’s 6-ton weight advantage that makes adopting new behaviours so difficult.
The path represents the external environment and should be considered if you want this duo to move forward in a new direction. The duo is more likely to reach their destination if the distance is shortened and obstacles are removed. To lead change, you must do three things:
- Make sure that the rider knows where the destination is, and how to get there.
- Getting the elephant motivated requires tapping into his emotions.
- To make progress easier, you need to shape the path.
It’s a good read and I recommend it. The book reflects modern thinking, modern science, and a modern approach to understanding people, groups, and personalities. Here are some other books to help you better understand the human mind:
- Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
- Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dr. Dan Ariely
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
Books: The Happiness Hypothesis | The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure | The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
Podcasts: The Tim Ferriss Show: #644: Jonathan Haidt — The Coddling of the American Mind, How to Become Intellectually Antifragile, and How to Lose Anger by Studying Morality | Lex Fridman Podcast: #291 – Jonathan Haidt: The Case Against Social Media | The Jordan B Peterson Podcast: 198. Enlightenment and the Righteous Mind | Steven Pinker and Jonathan Haidt