The Ted Talk above was really interesting, the message was simple. Happiness when is not connected how great our lives is, it’s how great our life is in a relation to our expectation. You can see that it is difficult for people in the West that already got everything to be Positively Surprised, while someone that grow up with nothing, can only get it better. The developing world is getting better all the time, and it must be exciting living in a place like that where things are getting better all the time.
Imagine you are Person A, you grew up in a developed country and you’re told you that you can become anything. Your parents would probably be tired and overworked because they tried to give you everything. From an early age, you learned that you get things for free.
Compare that to Person B growing up in a developing country, you probably didn’t have much at all and instead, of dreaming about being the next rock star living in a mansion, you dreamed about one day have your own house with a garden with plenty of food.
Person A and B grow up, they move away from home and get their own job. Imagine Person B that had nothing, they can only be positively surprised and things will just get better. While person A that had everything from the start, it’s really difficult seeing how you could be anything but disappointed with your life unless you one of the lucky ones becoming a superstar.
The problem with our happiness is our expectation, in the West, we are born into the world where you already have everything. What we need to do is simple, stop paying attention to what we don’t have and pay attention to what we do have.