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Running Head: A REPORT: STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS

AReport:StumblingonHappiness
AndreaRamos
SaltLakeCommunityCollege

A REPORT: STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS

AReport:StumblingonHappiness
StumblingonhappinessbyDanielGilbertisthebookIdecidedtoreporton.Thisbookhad
beenrecommendedtobeonmorethanoneoccasion.Atthecompletionofspringsemester
classes,thistitlewasincludedinalistofbooksthatmyprofessorforPositivePsychologyhad
presentedtous.Hisintentionsforthelistwerenotonlyforustohaveareferenceforbookswe
couldallenjoyandlearnfrombutalsotocontinueforwardwithgrowthandpositivityinmind.
Fromtheoptionsavailabletochoosefrom,therewereplentyofotherbooksthatseemedvery
interestingbutIwouldhavetosayanotherreasonwhyIpickedthisbookwasbecausehappiness
issomethingweallchaseandasafuturepsychologistIthoughtitwouldbeinterestingtolook
deeperintothedifferentaspectsofitall.
DanielGilbertsplitthebookupinto6parts.ThesixpartsareSubjectivity,Realism,
Presentism,RationalizationandCorrigibility.Ineachofthesections,hefocusesondifferentthe
psychologicalfactorsandhowtheycaneachaffectourhappiness.Healsoexamineshowour
ownperspectivesofourexperiences(ourownpersonalrealties)canalsoimpactourhappiness.
Therewerethreedifferentideasfromthisbookthathighlightedmyinterest.Thefirstideawas
thefactthatwethinkaboutthefutureintwoseparateways;nextingwhichconsistsofsimple
predictionsinregardstotheimmediate,localandpersonal,andthenthereisimagingthefuture
withplanning.Thisideawasinterestingtomebecausewethinkaboutthefuturebecauseitcan
eitherbeasimplereflexofwhatiscomingnext(suchaswithnexting)orbecauseitisgratifying
andpleasantforustodoso.Wefindpleasurefromthisbecauseashumansweliketobein

A REPORT: STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS

controlandplanningforthefuturegivesusthatperceivedcontrolthatwecanactuallychange
our,oftensetfuture.
Thesecondideathatwasintriguingmewasthathappinessisasubjectivefeeling,
meaningthateachofourpastexperienceshelpshapeourhappiness.Hegoesontoexplainthatit
isnearlyimpossibletocomparethelevelofhappinessoftwodifferentpeopleintheworld.Each
person,whohasexperiencedandhasperceivedtheirownsituationsfromtheirperspective,
cannottrulybegintocomparetheirowndefinitionofhappinesswithsomeoneelses.Itisalso
inaccuratetocomparedifferentkindsofhappinessexperiencedbythesamepersonbecausewe
oftencompareourpresentsituationtosomethingthathasalreadyhappened.Thisisthecase
becauseoftentimes,ourmemoriesarenotaspreciseaswethinktheyare,wecanactuallybe
comparingacurrentsituationwithafaultymemory.Thiscantaintourjudgmentandhappiness
ofourcurrentexperiences.
Thefinalideathatappealedtomewasthatweoftenhavefalseviewsofhappinessand
whatactuallygivesusthathappiness.HowGilbertstates,Ifhumanityisalivinglibraryof
informationaboutwhatitfeelsliketodojustaboutanythingthatcanbedone,thenwhydo
peoplemakesomanybaddecisions.(p.235)Isitbecausewearereceivingbadadviceor
rejectingthegoodadvicewereceive?Thesolutionstatedistostopattemptingtomake
predictionsofthefuturealone,butinsteadtohavethegroundworkofyourpredictionscome
fromotherpeople'sactualexperience.Weareabletocommunicateforareason,soexamineand
askthosewhohavegonethroughasimilarexperience.Askfortheiradvice,howtheyfeltabout
theirdecisions/actionsandthenplanaccordingly.Weneedtotryourbesttounderstandthateven
thoughweareallunique,wewillprobablyhavesimilarfeelingsorreactionstothosewecan

A REPORT: STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS

confidein.
Withthiscoursetakingplaceduringthesummer,asastudentmostofuslookforwardto
summer,especiallyifyouhavebeengoingnonestopthroughfallandspring.Therewasaquote
atthebeginningofthebookWhatwecansayisthatallclaimsofhappinessareclaimsfrom
someonespointofview.(Gilbert,p.57)Thisreallystoodouttomebecauseinmygroupof
friendsIamoneofthefewthatarepursuingacollegedegree.TherehavebeentimeswhenI
havetoleaveorpullmyselfasidefromthefunandadventuringbecauseIhavetotendto
homework.Forthemostpart,thisisntsomethingthatisnecessarilystrangebutitissomething
thattheydontquiteunderstand.OfcourseIwouldratherbeoutsidebutwhattheydontseeis
thatitmakesmefeelaccomplishedandhappytobegettingthatmuchclosertomygoal.Itismy
happinessfrommypointofview.Ithinkthatwasimportantformetoreadbecauseitmademe
realizethatweeachconnectwithourfriendsorfamilythroughexperiencesbutintheend,our
goalsandperspectivesarewhatmakeushappy.Wecannotsacrificeourhappinessifsomeone
doesntunderstandyourpointofview.ThiswassomethingthatIhavecarriedwithmethrough
thecourseasareminder.
ThisbookalsohelpedmeanalyzethetrueexperiencethatIwantedtogetfromthiscourse.If
youarenttrulyexperiencingorpayingattentiontoyourcurrentsituationthenyoureallyarent
absorbingallthatisthere.Whilewearenotcompletelyunawareoftheblatantchangesthat
occur(newclasstime,newprofessor,differentbuilding),youcanbecomeunawareofthetrue
meaningofthecontentbeingpresented.Themonotonyoftheendlessamountofhoursfocused
onhomeworkandstudyingcancausethesubjectstobegintomeshtogether.Webegintodothe
worktoavoidthediscomfortoffallingbehind/failingandforgettoexperienceandactuallysoak

A REPORT: STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS

inalltheimportantcontentgiventous.Thisbookhashelpedmerealizethatexperiencingthe
momentcanbecrucialtomytruehappiness.Inthiscase,allofthesubjectspresentedwerent
justmereinformationtoobtainuntilanexambutmoresoforanopportunitytoabsorbthetrue
qualityofthecontent.
Thisbookhastouchedmanyofthepsychologicaltopicsthatwehavecoveredthroughout
thecoursesuchasperception,memoryandmotivationandemotion,tonameafew.With
Psychologybeingasyoungasitis,Ibelievethisbookisagreatcontributiontomanyofthe
otherbooksouttheretryingtoexplainhappinessandhowtoobtainit.Thisbookattemptstogive
abetterunderstandingastowhyhappinessoccursincertainwaysandtomethatisagreat
characteristic.

A REPORT: STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS

References
Daniel,G.(2006).Stumblingonhappiness.NewYork:RandomHouse.