Two Words Can Increase Your Happiness

Happiness: How to increase your contentment with life

In our North American culture, going for “the best”, whatever it may be, may actually compromise one’s degree of satisfaction and happiness.

Happiness is good enough

Research has shown that choice-overload in today’s society, makes us less happy, not more. Today’s modern world’s plethora of options, from ‘Coke Zero or Diet?’ to professional choices and studies, create too many choices. Choice overload makes us question our decisions, setting our expectations too high, and blaming ourselves for our mistakes.

Furthermore, social media, has only heightened the agony of decision-making through a phenomena like FOMO (fear of missing out).

“Good Enough” is the Key to Happiness

So what do you do about it? Well, this really is about making a fundamental shift in one’s attitude. Try adopting a ‘less-is-more’ attitude and embracing a ‘good-enough’ posture  It can improve your level of satisfaction and contentment. Research clearly shows that people who do this are consistently happier and satisfied. Those who tend to look for the the very best possible option tend to earn more, but they’re also less satisfied with their jobs.  In fact, generally they are more likely to be depressed. Go figure! This is lines up with the saying: ‘money can’t buy happiness’. Indeed, it may be even suggest that money buys you less happiness and satisfaction.

The reason this happens, is that as life circumstances improve, expectations rise. People begin comparing their experiences to peers who are doing better, or to past experiences they’ve personally had that were better.

As you seek out higher quality items or experiences in your life, you can suffer the “curse of discernment.” The lower quality items that used to be perfectly acceptable to you are no longer good enough. The tolerance-point keeps rising, and expectations rise with it and you find yourself just  running in place. As long as expectations keep pace with realizations, you may have more possessions, but you won’t feel better about how you live.

Creating Happiness:  Lower the Number of Choices

The solution is to simply settle for something that’s acceptable—even if you know there’s likely something “better” out there.  You can generalize this concept by arbitrarily limiting the number of choices you consider. For example, if you are looking at colleges, look at five colleges, not 25.  If you are looking to plan a vacation, consider 3 options, not 9.  Say to yourself, “this destination is good enough” and leave it at that.

It can be hard to force yourself to settle for “good enough.” But when it comes to happiness and satisfaction, “good enough” isn’t just good—it’s perfect.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash