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Choice as Happiness

Choice as Happiness

    Suppose a genie appeared and offered to give you regular access to all the things you desire. Let’s say that in your case it includes golfing, exotic traveling, eating ice cream, and having a great career. The genie’s only catch is that he gets to control your schedule.

    Your first reaction might be to take the deal, since all of the activities on the menu are better than the things you do now. And maybe having a genie do all of your scheduling would be convenient.

    But if you’re smart, you’ll decline the offer. No matter how fun or fulfilling are the activities on your list, you can only enjoy them if you have control over WHEN and HOW LONG you do each one. On day one of the genie’s deal, you might find that he has allocated nine hours for eating ice cream, and twelve minutes for golf. And your tee time is midnight, after you work twelve hours.

    I’m exaggerating the genie’s cruelty, but in general it’s true that doing the thing you want at the time when you are most in the mood for it makes a gigantic difference in your overall happiness. If you eat when you’re hungry, nap when you’re sleepy, and work when you’re feeling productive, life can be pretty great.

    So let’s test this concept. Tell me in the comments how much flexibility you have over your own schedule then rate your own happiness. Use a scale of 1-10, as in:

    Schedule Flexibility: 8

    Happiness: 7


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