Is making a decision on a whim or saying down the road that you will be happy with your life possible? According to the article, “The Futile Pursuit of Happiness” by Jon Gertner explains how psychologists Daniel Gilbert and George Lowenstein conduct numerous studies on predicting happiness. Upon reviewing the information presented in this article it is clear that predicting happiness is not possible. Although in the moment of purchasing a new hot item can put a huge smile on your face, knowing that same item will bring you happiness in the future is not likely.
Most people make rash decisions when they are in hot and cold states. When people are in cold states they are calm and collected, and when in a hot state they are in the heat of the moment or their anxiety levels are up. During my teenage years, a girl I knew snuck out of her home in the middle of the night to meet a boy she thought she loved. They ran away to another town called Spring to elope. After a few weeks of marriage, they became unhappy and realized they had made a huge mistake. Another example, in my case whenever I am on my way to Dollywood I am determined to ride the rollercoasters, but when I am halfway up the line I start panicking and exit the line as quick as possible. In the study of hot and cold decision making Gertner states, “Among other things, this line of inquiry has led Lowenstein to collaborate with health experts looking into why people engage in unprotected sex when they would never agree to do so in moment of cool calculation” (21). While in cold states it is apparent that people are able to make better choices they will not regret, whereas in a hot state people tend to make unwise choices that may have undesirable consequences.
People often say they would be happy forever if they had a certain material item, but when the new wears off they are again in search of something new. Kids are typically excited when they receive a new toy or game, but in a month or two the new is gone, they get bored, and want something new that is bigger and better. Adults are guilty of this as well. I am constantly on the hunt of a new purse, phone case, anything better than before. I get so pumped when I purchase or get new items and it puts me in a better mood. People feel that “new” things make them happy and feel good, but it is only temporary. It gives people a rush of excitement and adrenaline. People have unrealistic expectations which can guide them into making decisions that they believe will be gratifying (5). Individuals that make decisions based on the way something makes them feel, can later grow into never making wise decisions later in life.