Thursday, November 8, 2012

Credit to TED and commentors.

• Sam Corl o +1 o o 30 minutes ago: Constant availability of social media on mobile devices will ensure that people's minds are constantly wandering and are satisfied with their time wandering. How can real life compete with a much more interesting world on a mobile device, when that world is designed to satisfy the user's ego? Yes, the universe is about paying attention, metaphysically and realistically. Unfortunately, this natural need to process a variety of inputs predisposes our brains to become addicted to social media reinforcement, e.g. while we're at work, we receive notifications that people "liked" or "retweeted" our thoughts and feelings. These notifications arrive at any moment, and cause our minds to wander to a much more interesting place than work, errands, waiting in line, etc. Perhaps our challenge in the age of mobile Internet is to seek balance between the attention we pay to our digital life and our real life. Perhaps we're actually happier if FaceBook doesn't "notify" us all day. o Aneesa Siddique  0   Less than 5 minutes ago: Couldn't agree with you more Sam! Now, wish me luck, i'm off to write a uni essay...with NO distractions! :) • ezequiel figueroa o 0 o o Less than 5 minutes ago: i think that when we are focused that focus goes to one thing at a time -even when we r doing more than one thing because that focus and time split into each thing we are doing and that makes us think that we are in control (somehow we like being in control of things) [but only if we are focused because if i'm doing something and simultaneously thinking about something else then i'm mind-wandering] ... and having control of things simply makes us happy... =) saludos. • Michael Greenspan 10+ o +1 o o 5 hours ago: Whenever I find myself anxious or unhappy, I ask myself a simple question, "what in this moment is lacking"? The answer (unless something catastrophic is happening to you) is almost always "nothing". If we are honest with ourselves, we can realize that most of us live in an almost constant state of unease. Stop what you're doing right now, recognize the moment you are in and realize that there is nothing lacking. It's a nice feeling, isn't it. • Brien Washburn o +1 o o 6 hours ago: I think a big problem in this world is that the vast majority of people are problem thinkers, not problem solvers. They think about the things they aren't getting done, and why this is an issue, and then instead of doing it, they think about how it is foolish that they don't do it. What do they do next? Think about that some more while they try and distract themselves with Facebook while being behind on two projects at work while in a meeting. People lack problem solving skills, and once they acquire the skills to deduce a reasonable solution they lack the willpower to follow through on it. Still, there are those who are good at solving problems, but for some bizarre reason few people put these skills to work on their emotions. It is shocking how many people believe that you can't alter your emotional states and change the way you feel at any given moment. It is not easy to do at first, but it is a crucial skill if you are actively working towards real happiness. When you have control over your mind and your actions in basic ways you are capable of realizing how little control we each have in terms of our existence and environment. This is very freeing, and not something to be feared. In the end I think happiness is about having control over the things you care about, and realizing that so many of the perceived problems we face each day are based on opinion and fallacy. One of the main things I am thinking of when I say that is tradition, or customs. Preserving the past can be interesting and fun at times, but I would argue that we dont truly value or utilize our ability to acquire information to dispel useless superstition that only brings us down. Well, I was hoping to make a concise point so it is easier to absorb, but I am not very good at that I'm working on it.) It probably won't matter anyways, for the reasons cited above. After saying all this I should say that I am a realist, but if you truly understand reality then you are overwhelmingly optimistic. o carolyn mcauley  0   4 hours ago: well put,I feel you made a concise point.Everything matters here in this collective.Each one of us describes our observations and we validate our techniques for strategy,to remain plugged into our collective being,and our differences as thoughts to inventing everything,All these coordinate us to our positions on topics.....and now for a map to happiness... o Kyle Oswalt 10+  0   3 hours ago: I absolutely agree. This is very well put. I think I'll be paraphrasing that last sentence of yours for a long time to come. As a realist, if you truly understand reality then you are overwhelmingly optimistic. - Brien Washburn (Comment on "Matt Killingsworth: Want to be happier? Stay in the moment" talk, • Tobias Heemskerk 20+ o +1 o o 7 hours ago: This seems to confirm something I've learned over the last years. Enter social media (addictions) and things like insomnia and it makes sense to consider that worrying or seeking distractions is unfavourable over actually enjoying the moment and taking action on problems instead of worrying without doing. • carolyn mcauley o 0 o o 12 hours ago: It seems that we dont agree on the definitions of "mindwandering" and /or happiness. This makes it hard to set a goal if we cant feel eachothers truth. I will attempt a three dimensional metaphour for mind, happiness and wandering. Perhaps the word scientists will be kind and descibe in helpful ways what catagories they would prefer,so we can help eachother,and not abandon our goal...Lets describe the mind as a blank room. In it is a unorganized area of random thoughts,beside it is an organized memory box. Also there is a well lit desk with all the tools and a seat. At the desk the mind is focused,at the pile, the mind wanders,and at the memories it remebers.. These are different in how we experience them,some peoples piles are not informal,but actually grouped loosely...This is not a wandering pile,but an archeological digsite..To some this looks like wandering its a place for a sketch book or fusion...Now back to the real wandering pile,the mess of untagged data..this is the one He is referring to ...can you see it in your minds eye...Now look at the work desk,with its promise of a predictable focused outcome...everything is safe and is the place we know about in the soul,with name tags and labels and restrictions..and words...This thing called mind is uncharted and could be revolutionary,so lets not waste it with saying its not perfect. We arent even close to being able to describe it ,let alone say some one is wrong • Michael Greenspan 10+ o +2 o o 13 hours ago: Watch this, trust me: it is Alan Watts discussing nothingness and it is wonderful. Being "present" is a very difficult thing to do but it is essential to being happy. The moments in my life that stand out as the happiest are the ones where there is the most calm, the most stillness and the most presence. Remember when you were a kid and a day seemed like what a week does now? Summers lasted forever! Why has this changed? I think it's because everything is so new when you are a kid that you are forced to be in the present moment. There is far less of an internal dialog, less insecurities. Less remembrances or worry of the future. As adults, we can literally have a 2 hour drive pass by and when we get to our destination, not recall much of it because we were "zoned out" or driving by routine. This is why life fly's by when we are older. Feel the steering wheel, notice your surroundings, turn off the radio and focus on your breathing while you drive. Turn off the internal dialog. Live a little. And watch that link I provided. I think you'll like it. Great talk Mr. Killingsworth, way to bring up an important topic!! o Maija Grudule  0   10 hours ago: Thank you for sharing the link! It in a way provides the answer to Mr. Killingsworth’s last question quite beautifully. I just wonder how he will manage to put nothingness into a chart one day. • Youssef Naki o 0 o o 13 hours ago: Completly rubbish, when one is mind wandering he do not actually participate because when he answers the question he's cut off from his dream and back to his cold reality and then he is not happy. o Roland Hamel  0   4 hours ago: I don't think I would jump so nimbly to that conclusion. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I never feel a sense of malaise or unhappiness from being cut off from my daydreaming. It's all relative to the moment at hand. Fir instance, if I were on a sunny beach, I wouldn't consider engagement with the moment to be a "cold reality." • Roger Grant o 0 o o 15 hours ago: I've been a daydreamer as long as I can remember, this mostly happens when I am bored. In my profession, concentration is required for efficient, error free work. Mind wandering does happen at work, but is usually a minimum. I find that I am happiest when I am totally absorbed in whatever it is that I'm doing, at work or at home. Two of the activities I find most effective for total mind absorption are meditation or riding my motorcycles. Meditation is harder for me, I think, because I have not been doing it for long and the consequences for lapses are not life threatening. On my motorcycle, total concentration is required to ride properly and safely. The consequences for lapses can be life threatening, but the reward for a nice spirited ride is wonderful. • Jae Min Choi o 0 o o 18 hours ago: True, mind-wandering causes pain when you are inclined to think of something unpleasant. But I definitely cannot agree that mind-wandering always causes unhappiness. It is a way out of our tedious day to day lives, an exit that sometimes lets you regain your confidence. When you are doing something that you hate doing or that is boring, thinking about something else makes the time fly, at least for me. I think mind-wandering is a bliss, a special and unique ability that plays an important role of making our lives much happier. o Reese Kolar  0   17 hours ago: Hi Jae, this is true that it may seem to make things more enjoyable, but I think the problems with this short term solution to present moment boredom or non-enjoyable activity is that it is not reality. As this talk showed, mind-wandering is very likely a cause of unhappiness later, and I believe this is caused by the fact that the mind-wandering that we are doing is usually about something that we want to happen or something that happened in the past, both of which are outside of reality. Hence when we think of future events, our in-the-moment experience of this event does not compare with our illusory model of what we would have liked to happen. This often leads to more unhappiness when the event comes. On the other hand if we were to live that event in the moment without having a preconceived notion of whether it would be good or bad, we would be able to enjoy it has a unique experience with no false understanding of reality. • Tim Brogoitti o +1 o o 18 hours ago: The unhappy mind is a distracted mind, 'being in the moment' becomes challenging in a unhappy mind because the mind does not want to really be in reality, the causes of the unhappiness, when not dealt with properly, as in, the individual lies to themselves by denying reality (usually something they've done) begins to layer the perspective filter of the individual. The more layering the further the mind is from the moment the more unhappy the individual becomes. Therefore, it is not the mind wondering that is the problem, but rather the temperament of the individual and how many additional reality filters they have accumulated, for, the more filters there are, the less control the individual has over their focus. Focus = in control of yourself, therefore, when we are focused we are generally happy. The opposite being true as well. This is why meditation works, it trains focus in many ways, but mainly by making you face yourself. • Jasper Middendorp o 0 o o 20 hours ago: Isnt this the exact same concept Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explained in his book flow 20 years ago? Killingsworth even start with the exact same reference to Aristotle. Although I completely agree with this view I wonder where the field has grown over the past 20 years? What is the added value of this research (except from using an app which seems to be a rather limited way of measuring mind wandering as Sepehr Jamali already pointed out). o Reese Kolar  0   17 hours ago: and let's go back to 2000 years ago and read some transcriptions of the Buddha. • Beyond Lingo o 0 o o TED TRANSLATOR 22 hours ago: staying in the moment means that mind doesn't wander through sad memories of the past (cause of unhappiness) or doesn't worry for the future (cause of unhappiness) so you should feel happy. BUT the reality of the moment itself (environment, etc) might be unhappy so the mind wanders in order to escape this unhappiness! so maybe, the very act of willingly experiencing the moment, no matter how unpleasant it is, resolve the reason to escape. o Steven Guo  0   20 hours ago: Staying in the moment means that you focus on something. There is nothing interrupt you. Do you have the experience that you will be angry if somebody interrupt you when you are absorbed in something (such as reading a story, watching a TV and so on). the means of the author is that our humans like dealing with a simple thing rather than facing a lot of things must have to do at the same time. Just focus on the thing that you are doing now. You will be happier in the moment.  Beyond Lingo  0   TED TRANSLATOR 17 hours ago: what I meant was experiencing the reality of the moment and I think that is different from focusing on one single subject. yes, focusing the mind on what you are doing, can make you happier in the moment.  Reese Kolar  0   17 hours ago: I think that is where practice comes in. In buddhism you practice sitting and focusing on very simple things like your breath, but then over time you are able to expand your focus on more and more of the present moment reality. Just like when one learns a new task or learns a piece of music -- at first you must focus on every note, but then over time you are able to understand the complete composition and add accents and tempo changes while still hitting every step and every note. • Clavier You o +1 o o 23 hours ago: Undoubtedly, focus leads to happiness. However, this does not mean mind-wandering would lead to unhappiness. I believe people can also feel happy when they are wandering something happy, for example, for people who enjoying eating, they should feel great when they are wandering about what should eat for dinner. In reality, what really matters is the content of the wandering, people would mostly get unhappier if they wandering something negative or unhappy memory. All in all, I truly believe that happiness can be acquired by concentrating on doing something. People can always get happier when they pay attention to the details of anything. Focusing on detail is the actual pivotal factor why people could acquire happiness. By the way, human brain is really mysterious. • Sepehr Jamali o 0 o o 1 day ago: I disagree, for 2 reasons First they just gather information from people who only have iphone! that's not a good sampling at all, since most people with iphone specially in other countries than US or UK are from upper class of the society. ***Second and most important one is, when people are submitting this information on this App, they are mind wandering! no matter what they do, they are mind wandering to remember themselves to use this App, so it can't be accurate. o Reese Kolar  0   16 hours ago: You should suggest another method. For now this is a beautiful example of an ancient principle. The Buddha always considered his practice of present-moment awareness a science, not to be accepted until practiced, and experiments like this are just the kind of thing that gives further validity to this concept. • sachin kamat o +1 o o 1 day ago: Just a thought. Is Multi-tasking another form of mind wandering? I think it is. In that case all this technology and stuff that surround us (seemingly) helping us multi-task will actually take us away from immersing in a moment and therefore making us less and less happy That is a scary thought. And another. When I asked my teenage son a while ago why he and his generation stayed up so late and were perpetually operating on sleep deficit - his answer was: there's so much more to do that sleep seems like a waste of time. But I've always wondered how - groggy as they are they can enjoy any of the zillions of things they do and want to What do you think? • • • Lee Edwiin o +2 o o 1 day ago: I disagree with this talk. The issue is with the definition with 'mind-wandering', it is trying to contain the vast capabilities of our mind. Some might make 'Zero-MindWandering' their new Pursuit in their Pursuit to Happiness. This is in fact a Dangerous Ideal. It'll have ill effects for those who are easily influenced and take this as a whole truth. Conversely, I would suggest the promotion of mind wondering and exercise almost no control over it. Happiness is a state of awareness. If you are worried about something, mind-wander further, think beyond. Think about what if it happens 'this' way, what would it be like? What would you do? And if it happens 'that' way, what would you do? This mind-wandering or mind play keeps me prepared and calm , ultimately smiling and happy. When I'm drivng, eyes will be on the road of course, but you can't expect one's mind not to wander. The question is, what to wander/wonder about? Can you absolutely control every wonder? No. So, just leave it be. If sex is terrifc, would your mind wander? Would focusing on having sex make it better, or make it end faster so that you're simply happier that it ended? • Keith W Henline o 0 o o 1 day ago: “Sex, a game we lose to win”- Keith W Henline As Matt's research bears out, having sex is about the best thing we can do for our happiness (unless it is with our wife and then mind wandering is a good thing. OK I'm joking... no I'm not... stop wandering already! ) "Sleep is the best meditation"- Dalai Lama I agree with the authors observations and some other brilliant people tend to agree. "No one saves us but ourselves. We ourselves must walk the path"- Buddha The Buddha hints that we must actually do the work instead of waiting for someone else to do it for us. And Dalai Lama hints that the time to relax the mind is when we sleep instead of wasting our time while we are awake. "Man is a slave to his conscious mind, freedom only exists in the subconscious"- Keith W Henline And Keith W Henline, who in hell knows what he is thinking... I think he is slipping off the deep end! Good work Matt- Keep it up • Walter Wickenstein o 0 o o 1 day ago: isn't that the fundmental premise of meditation, tame ur monkey mind? I don't understand y an app is needed to reaffirm this. Seems one step above an app telling u to look for your tooth brush when u want to brush ur teeth, not ur pliers. • Antonio Di Gregorio o 0 o o 1 day ago: No, I didn't like this talk. There are too many variables undefined such as the definition of mind wandering. As a result the people surveyed have their own and varied interpretation which skews the data. I for one think mind wandering is a blissful experience, but I define this state of mind as a form of meditation and not induced by chronic stress. If the body is releasing stress hormones it is very difficult to transition into a mindful state of happiness. Ironically that is what great artists, atheletes and thinkers do. In this instance stress is used as a catylist to invoke a state of bliss. But here again, I am referring to a different kind of stress than that of one who commutes every day, is unhappy with the activity because they are forced to do it, and must focus on the road as to not get into an accident - or is worried about going bald. I don't consider this mind wandering, it seems more like chronic worry overtaking one's thoughts. No doubt one would be unhappy under those conditions! • Marco Lin o 0 o o 1 day ago: His conclusion regarding the causality of mind wandering & unhappiness is rash, to say the least. Here're my thoughts: There are some interesting observations. 1. Unhappiness and mind wandering is correlated, and probably have a very meaningful relation. 2. Consciously, the mind wandering is experienced before unhappiness. 3. How enjoyable the activity preceding/during mind wandering is, is not relevant to the occurrence mind wandering. Now what I think is that unhappiness at the very least stimulates mind wandering. It is very true that the momentary state of mind tells us a great deal of the subject's happiness. When unhappy, the conscious but even more the unconscious, will have this urge to find a way to get happier. This pursuit of happiness is - as I believe and will always defend - a never-ending passively executed process in our minds, and that 'mind wandering' is just one of the many things we do to support this function, so essential to our humanity. It can be compared to the parts of our cognition that keep track of our environment, so we are prepared for dealing optimally with as many possible situations as possible. As we have seen ever so consistently in history of mankind, and have confirmed in psychology, that knowledge is power. Mind wandering, shifting that precious attention, might be our minds reminding us that there's so much more in life than what you're doing right now, and how it might be a good idea to do something else. Having said this, I think Killingworth's data could indicate that mind wandering is a way of staying aware, conscious of the many aspects of life, reviewing possibilities and evaluating circumstances. For example, what kind of people probably never wander off with their mind? Zombies and sheep. What kind of people are the exact opposite, and frequently play entire dramas and adventures in their head? Dreamers and romantics, the creative and the lively. Just wanted to share my thoughts. What are yours? o Steven L. Jones 30+  0   1 day ago: "His conclusion regarding the causality of mind wandering & unhappiness is rash" This is his conclusion? Is that true? Can you absolutely know that that is true? People he polled could of easily answered that they were happier when they're mind wandered but they didn't. His conclusions are the result of his research. Try not thinking for 30 seconds. Impossible. So reality is, is that our minds are constantly wandering regardless of what we do. If you're involved in a dangerous occupation such as deactivating landmines do you think that your mind will wander? Do you think that you will do a better job of what your doing if your mind is wandering? My experience is that I can't will myself to be present. All I can do is watch my thoughts and perhaps question their validity if they are making me unhappy. At the end of the day we exist here and now, our thoughts happen now regardless of their wandering content. Now is reality.  Marco Lin  0   1 day ago: At the very least he implies that his data strongly indicated that the unhappiness led to mind wandering. This is what I'm disagreeing with so strongly, I apologize if I was unclear on the nature of my previous comment. As for the other questions you ask: I mentioned that I believe that mind wandering can be described as shifting your attention: It's a process that influences your attention. There are however, many more functions and processes that influence the distribution of your attention. The fundamental question is which functions are most influential regarding our attention? How relevant are they in certain situations, and to what extent can they outweigh competing function? Certainly bomb defusers are both consciously and unconsciously very aware of the importance of their job, and it would take something very extraordinary to distract them of defusing bombs, which is a matter of life and death. It is worth mentioning though, that indeed it might be wise to remind both bomb defusers and their superiors that attention is not a matter of pure discipline. If someone's extremely fatigued, struggling by any irrational or unconscious factor, or has lost the awareness of the gravity of his job, it might be a good idea to put him on pause. I do not feel that there is so much vagueness in this matter as I feel your comment is suggesting, to be very fair. In the end, the human mind is a definite system, with logical steps. At the end of the day we exist here and now, though we shouldn't forget that our existence lies both in the past and future, and are indispensable points of reference of which we need to reminded of consistently. Our thoughts are not untouchable, they're not beyond our influence. That's why we need to pursue knowledge of not only the external world, but also the internal, which is at least as fascinating, and ever so more profound in my opinion. I may have gone on a bit of a tangent, but it's mostly just to spark curiosity and discussion ^^ • April Peng o 0 o o 1 day ago: But how to stay focused on the moment? How to decrease mind wondering? HELP o Keith W Henline  0   1 day ago: Practice, practice, practice. The mind is a terrible thing to waste. If you do not entertain your mind, then it will entertain it's self and as we can see from the author's research that is not a good option. o Marco Lin  0   1 day ago: I'd like to add to Keith's advice: Be aware and conscious. I think curiosity is a very significant factor to mind wandering. When you know more, are more certain about concept and ideas, you satiate specific curiosities. This will have its consequences on a subconscious level too, probably making you less prone to return to certain questions and matters. The advice from me is that when you notice certain patterns in where your mind wanders off too, assume its because of curiosity: Your mind wants to think about those kind of things, so let it! Live your heart out, frolic in your mind! I'm sure it'll soothe your frantic mind. Also, find a passion, something that can lift your spirits, something to pour your energy in. That soothes too ^^ o eric rodgers  0   11 hours ago: excellent question and I was a bit surprised that the speaker didn't touch on it. some form of daily meditation. until you experience it you cannot know how beautiful a thing it is to be more consistently present throughout your days. meditation takes some work and is a journey as everything else is. but, if you commit and stick to it for a while you WILL experience wondrous results. you cannot use logic or tell yourself to be 'more present/aware' during the can't just tell yourself to be more conscious and aware or 'practice practice practice' without training your mind first. meditation, if done properly, can train your mind; it can provide space between your thoughts and judgmental nature, allowing you to become more non-reactive, perhaps responsive rather than reactive. o Ed Schulte 50+  0   6 hours ago: Just visit the Eckhart Tolle web site and sign up for the free meditation coming up next week end. his talk touches but doesn't carry the Presence level required to truly open to the stillness of Being. That is what being in the moment is about. • Carlos Gershenson 20+ o 0 o o 1 day ago: It would be good to look at his data more carefully. If most people NOT mind wandering were actually having sex, it is not a surprise that there is a correlation between NOT mind wandering and happiness... it is not always easy to disentangle correlation from causality. • Aaron Quinn o 0 o o 1 day ago: Fascinating, will a transcript be uploaded? • Serge Krstic o 0 o o 1 day ago: If all we did was live in the present, then how can we learn from the past or create the future. Perhaps mind-wandering, since it is so ubiquitous, is a means of passive learning by allowing the unfocused mind to "randomly" consolidate and integrate emotionally charged memories. • Glen Kirkby o 0 o o 1 day ago: But but but... How does one partake in any creative process without "mind wandering" ? If "mind wandering" itself were a legitimate cause for an emotional state one way or another, then how do you explain all of the exceptions to that rule ? vice versa for focusing on the current activity. I doubt that many people would feel particularly inspired when focusing on some dental work they are having for example. I know that I feel happy when I think about things which I have done or achieved which I was happy about doing. I think that all that this data actually shows is that we currently have a lot of unhappiness. People will tend to think about anything that has significance in their lives, hence the correlation between the two. • David Thompson o 0 o o 1 day ago: I wonder if people without i phones might have different experiences related to degrees of happiness and if there might be some way to incorporate their experiences in this study as in Dan Buettner's book "The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from people who lived the longest." • Ali Mohammed o 0 o o 1 day ago: I found this study to be genuinely brilliant because most people think that mind-wondering is an effective way to escape the harsh moment of reality they are living in. I thought about this subject as i was watching the video and a question came to my mind. I am a molecular biologist and I often mind-wonder (think) about the subjects im studying or solving problem and such, is THAT kind of mind-wondering (thinking) subjects the individual to the same negative outcome of the kind of mind-wondering was mentioned in this presentation? o mark enriquez  0   1 day ago: No, I don't believe so because that's a fundamentally different type of mine your case your thinking about problems and solutions in a field that you are genuinely interested in....I believe in the talk he was speaking more about the self-recrimination mind speak that we all seem to engage in too much, so it seems. I believe in your case, your actually entering a Flow state of mind when thinking of your beloved field, and while maybe your not at your happiest, your are in a good place. • Ali Mohammed o 0 o o 1 day ago: I found this study to be genuinely brilliant because most people think that mind-wondering is an effective way to escape the harsh moment of reality they are living in. I thought about this subject as i was watching the video and a question came to my mind. I am a molecular biologist and I often mind-wonder (think) about the subjects im studying or solving problem and such, is THAT kind of mind-wondering (thinking) subjects the individual to the same negative outcome of the kind of mind-wondering was mentioned in this presentation? o mark enriquez  0   1 day ago: No, I don't believe so because that's a fundamentally different type of mine your case your thinking about problems and solutions in a field that you are genuinely interested in....I believe in the talk he was speaking more about the self-recrimination mind speak that we all seem to engage in too much, so it seems. I believe in your case, your actually entering a Flow state of mind when thinking of your beloved field, and while maybe your not at your happiest, your are in a good place. • • Theodore A. Hoppe 100+ o +1 o o 1 day ago: Happiness has been talked about a great deal at TED. It is worth noting that Killingsworth is a student of Dan Gilbert's, who also has two TEDTalk on the topic. The fallacy of this talk is that it presents happiness is a state of being, and not is an occasional and temporary emotion. Saying that the mind "wanderings" is a poor figure of speak. Wandering is really your attention that focuses on other thoughts that are occurring simultaneously in the brain, and it does this all the time unless we concentrate our attention momentarily on a single thought or task. Sit down, close your eyes in a quiet room and allow your mind's attention to "wander." You will notice that there are many thoughts running in the background. The fact is that we would be better off understanding that the brain multi-tasks. We are always carrying around lots of thoughts that require some resolution. Providing some quiet time in our busy lives to just notice the thoughts in our mind can lead us to a more mindful existence, and this in turn may produce a few more "happy" moments for us. o Emmaline Maxwell  +1   1 day ago: Unfortunately this is a very dry, analytical way of understanding happiness, which is in its essence completely the opposite. There is benefit in being mindful in undertaking tasks, keeping with the breath, being self-disciplined and ultimately being in awe of life and feeling grateful, counting blessings, being kind and trying to help others.  Morton Bast 100+  +2   TED STAFFHOSTTED TRANSLATOR 1 day ago: I don't think that analytical = dry for everyone. Killingsworth, as a scientist, seems pretty excited about the data he's discovered. Just as different personality types require different things to be happy, I'm sure they also have different preferred ways of understanding it. o Daniel Binmore  0   1 day ago: The people who have spent the greatest amount of time investigating happiness are the Eastern traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. A common strand is the removal of these "wanderings" through the practice of meditation. Focusing on a single point, such as breathing, is an essential part of these practices. The reason why meditation practice has "practice" in it is because it takes time to master the skill of not multi-tasking, partly by noticing these thoughts and then stopping thinking about them. People who meditate are happier. These skills persist after meditation leading to such effects as mindfulness, compassion, shaving your head, sitting on mountains, etc..  Antonio Di Gregorio  +1   1 day ago: I think your reply sheds some light on our inability to define the difference between meditation and mind wandering. Theodore is essentially describing an act of meditation: by creating stillness in our environment in order to focus on one thought instead of many. Emmaline is not hearing that yet is describing characteristics of meditation, i.e. focused breathing and focused thought. Meditation is a very blissful experience. Examples of focused thought are yoga, playing an instrument, painting or drawing and believe it or not mind-wandering can also be meditative. Artists often describe this sensation as "wandering" or exploring but really it is a form of meditation. Eckhart Tolle presents this subject with a modern POV. Mind wandering due to stressful thought or being preoccupied with worry is not a form of meditation, that is just biological stress taking over one's conscious mind. No doubt one is not happy when preoccupied due to stress!  carolyn mcauley  0   13 hours ago: Im definitely interested in a happy mind...your comment made me laugh as i picture my future on a mountain top with my shaved head...but happy,,,,thanks for your comment  Theodore A. Hoppe 100+  0   5 hours ago: Hmmm.....actually, I am referring to something unlike meditation. The difference is that in meditation one tries to clear the mind of thought. What I am describing is noticing to the amount of thoughts in one's mind when we place our attention inward instead of outward. I read about this in the book, "Now You See It" by Cathy Davidson. In it, she describes how Howard Rheingold start off his classes each semester at Sanford by having his students do this. o Marco Lin  +1   1 day ago: Might I ask why you're so adamant that viewing happiness as a "state of being" is a fallacy? In my opinion happiness can quite accurately be described as an absence of negative thought patterns, which mostly are nothing more than certain drives/appetites being insufficiently satiated. Happiness, as I see it, is a non-momentary feeling of general satisfaction on a very fundamental level. Even if you disagree with my view on happiness, let us assume this is the happiness Killingsworth is referring to. I totally agree with you that 'wanderings of the mind' is nothing more than shifting attention, but I disagree that it's a poor figure of speech. These wanderings as he calls it, is an extremely interesting and typical phenomenon to the human mind. It's a brilliant example of how the subconscious can have such an overwhelming influence on a vital part of cognition: Attention. At the very least, I find it a good figure of speech, elegantly referring to how your frickle mind... has a mind of his own. (My sincerest apologies for this horrible pun.) I do agree that he is being very ambiguous in both defining happiness, and the role of 'mind wandering' herein. I wish to stress however, that even though his conclusions and analysis aren't ideal, his data is most interesting. Mind wandering, or day dreaming as it often results to, is one of the many quirks of the ever fascinating human mind. For gathering the raw data to portray this quirkiness, I thank him.  Theodore A. Hoppe 100+  0   5 hours ago: Interesting that you should avoided the idea of happiness as being, "an occasional and temporary emotion. What is the root of the word "happy?" Hap implies luck or good fortune, fortunate. We have come to define the word in many more ways, to a point where happen and happy seem unrelated. Have you heard this TEDTalk by Daniel Kahneman? Kahneman says that there are several cognitive traps regarding happiness. " It turns out that the word "happiness" is just not a useful word anymore, because we apply it to too many different things. I think there is one particular meaning to which we might restrict it, but by and large, this is something that we'll have to give up and we'll have to adopt the more complicated view of what well-being is. The second trap is a confusion between experience and memory; basically, it's between being happy in your life, and being happy about your life or happy with your life. And those are two very different concepts, and they're both lumped in the notion of happiness. And the third is the focusing illusion, and it's the unfortunate fact that we can't think about any circumstance that affects well-being without distorting its importance. I mean, this is a real cognitive trap. There's just no way of getting it right." There is the mythos of happiness, as in "happily ever after", and the logos, the science of the mind. • Robbie Crane o 0 o o 1 day ago: A great start but I believe this is overly generalized and simplified. I think its important to look at why we mind-wander and that perhaps that state of "unhappiness" is because we're in a deeper state of emotion with ourselves. It could be argued that this exploration of our own mind is used as a self focus and motivation for to make our present lives better, increasing happiness when we come out of the mind-wandering. However, i do agree with the premise that staying present increases happiness o Morton Bast 100+  0   TED STAFFHOSTTED TRANSLATOR 1 day ago: I'm not sure it's overly simplified so much as early stages of research. He's presented some data, and there's a lot left to explore about happiness and mind-wandering. • faizan Saeed o 0 o o 1 day ago: I apologize for inserting this view at this time. Aware of and caring about us All.don't agree that mind wandering. necessarily means thinking about unpleasant things. I often find people asking why I'm smiling to my self and on occasion I've even been known to laugh out loud simply because my mind wandering has taken me to some pleasant place. If I am am generally happy but every so often spend about ten minutes in an unhappy, mind wandering state, and Killingsworth's samples my state every two minutes, the majority of the samples revealing mind wandering will be followed by samples revealing unhappiness. I apologize for inserting this view at this time. Aware of and caring about us All. all of these arise from body cues and "thoughts". We have at least 3 levels of "self" proto, core and autobiographical. The proto self governs direct monitor/adjustment of teh body state. o Morton Bast 100+  0   TED STAFFHOSTTED TRANSLATOR 1 day ago: I wonder if a brief flashback to something funny is fully blown mind-wandering. Because I can see how thinking about your nice vacation while stuck in traffic will make you unhappy that you're stuck in traffic, and thinking about bills while on vacation will detract from your vacation, but it does seem like those brief flashes of something nice or funny can only do good. Makes me wonder if mind-wandering has a necessary duration. • • Andreas Haren o +1 o o 1 day ago: "A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind." I don't think so. It's the longing mind that is an unhappy mind. • Zihang Huang o 0 o o 1 day ago: Okay when I watch the video I was thinking about methodological things (I am psych majored). First since this is only a survey instead of experiment, there is not causal relationship between mind-wandering and happiness. Second it is very difficult to define terms like happiness. Different people have different thoughts. So at least I think it's better to sub-group the data. Third, this experiment does not imply that mind-wandering does not have benefits. Personally I think mind-wandering is good preparation for the future. o Morton Bast 100+  0   TED STAFFHOSTTED TRANSLATOR 1 day ago: Matt also says indicates that mind-wandering is connected to planning for the future, but I don't see why planning for the future isn't its own activity! For me, thoughts that drift to long-term planning when I ought to be doing something else only stress me out, whereas long-term planning when I've set aside time to plan can be very productive. • Taivo Pungas o 0 o o 1 day ago: It's amazing how happiness - something hard to even define- can be quantified, measured and correlated with the right methods. This is one of the most insightful pieces of research I've seen in a while. o Chung Truong Thanh 50+  +1   TED TRANSLATOR 1 day ago: You win lottery two hours ago? Yes. Are you happy now? Yes. Conclusion: strong correlation between winning lottery and happiness in short time. I have trouble understanding the significance of this kind of research.  Morton Bast 100+  0   TED STAFFHOSTTED TRANSLATOR 1 day ago: I think the significance is that these major events and factors (like winning the lottery or overall wealth) have less of an effect than our day-to-day activities. Even if winning the lottery makes you happy for a few hours or even a few days, it happens very seldom, to very few people, and doesn't even make them happy for very long. The significance of this research is that it explores much more widespread and repeated causes. • Steve C o 0 o o 1 day ago: Exactly "how" did he decide which way the arrow of time was moving? I know he SAID that mind-wandering came before unhappiness; he SAID he studied it, but not HOW he came to know this. And how would he know this so certainly if, as he said, mind-wandering was so ubiquitous? Our mind wanders: but which PART of the mind is in the driver's seat - the subconscious mind? Then the iphone snaps us back to conscious reality; of course it's the conscious mind that's going to answer the questions. But how do we know that's what was really going on? I think there are big monkey wrenches here. • Jon Dalrymple o +3 o o 2 days ago: As a designer, mind wandering is very much part of what I do for a living. Does this mean I'm destined to be unhappy? Also, where do you make the distinction between mind wandering and mental planning like thinking about and remembering to get things done like paying your bills or putting more money in the parking meter? I can assure you that if I don't mind wander and come up with and remember to buy a present for my wife's birthday I really will be unhappy and it will not come from me! I don't agree that mind wandering. necessarily means thinking about unpleasant things. I often find people asking why I'm smiling to my self and on ocassion I've even been known to laugh out loud simply because my mind wandering has taken me to some pleasant place. Before going, I want to agree with the comment further down the list that suggests that the process of interrupting a persons thoughts to ask questions about those thoughts probably taints the very data it is trying to collect. A bit like asking someone if they are thinking about the colour red. Well duh! o Kato Thompson  0   1 day ago: Perhaps mind wandering helps us choose what to focus on (like your wife's birthday) so a certain amount of it is always necessary to keep us on the right track. This would fit Matt Killingsworth's observation that unhappiness follows mind wandering. If we are mind wandering, we are not committed to a focused, happy state. If I am am generally happy but every so often spend about ten minutes in an unhappy, mind wandering state, and Killingsworth's samples my state every two minutes, the majority of the samples revealing mind wandering will be followed by samples revealing unhappiness.  Jon Dalrymple  0   1 day ago: My dear Kato, sounds like you may be spending too much time thinkIng about thinking. Live life - don't spend all your time analysing it. • Anam Jabbar o 0 o o 2 days ago: Can anyone tell me how to make our mind focus on work? How can we stop mind wandering? o Steve C  +1   2 days ago: I've heard that practicing mediation helps. (I say "practicing," bc I think it'll take awhile to get good at it.) One philosophy book says that to meditate, one must "just sit."  Daniel Binmore  0   1 day ago: The basis of zen meditation is called zazen. This means "sitting meditation." Basically it is practicing just sitting and doing nothing else. Basically practicing not mind wandering. Simple in concept, very hard to master. o Dylan Huddle  0   2 days ago: The simplest and most direct way that I've experienced is to do things that you find engaging and exciting. However, it is possible to be focused or "present" in periods of unpleasant circumstance through a great deal of introspection and mental conditioning. If you'd like I could suggest some reading that I have found to be very insightful. o Piotr Misiuna  0   1 day ago: It is very simple. Forget that you are a human, focus on scenes leading to the reward, just the instincts, no analyse, no communication, dig, dig, dig like a dog or chicken. We are not animals. If you want to keep the human part of you and still be happy, it requires a lot of technology around, intellectual stimulation and better reward. Maybe some kind of religious device but that is not very stable. My advice is, if you start to be good in doing something, change your job immediately! Others are not, there is a space for a new challenge. • • Piotr Misiuna o 0 o o 2 days ago: To be a happy human been one need to be happy in the present, past and in the predictable future. Most of my past is under the bottom line. I am sorry, politicians, parents, relatives, God, whoever could change that fact, I already got little fact up :). • Don Wesley 50+ o 0 o o 2 days ago: Matt Killingsworth, is doing excellent work, re-focusing our attention on the study of Happiness. Happiness is the way to social goodness and peace - As one lonely man, I propagandise this quiet idea. On my own, with passion, I give a few tiny legs to the ‘Art of Virtue vs. Unruly Vice’ a perceptual view. When the word [Happiness] catches my eyes, my perception delivers me to “Way to Happiness, An Inspiring Guide to Peace, Hope and Contentment,” a book written by Fulton J. Sheen and originally published in 1953. I have had this book ever since. I was very unhappy at the time in 1952-53. I was 19 and very sad, due head injury. He Sheen, said, “When enough men have found this way to happiness, they will find one another in brotherhood. Social peace will then ensue . . . Revolution starts with Man.” After a few years I found myself searching for goodness. I became a very tiny magnet of goodness; and when coupled with my work of applying science to material matters in organizations, my happiness seemed never ending; and yes with brief intervals of depression. I pushed hard, to find the ultimate virtue of Contentment. He Sheen, said “It is acquired through great resolution and diligence in conquering unruly desires; hence is an Art which few study.” From where I sit now, Happiness without Contentment, is the “Wandering Mind with Brain.” In 2008 on the eve of Xmas, my soul-mate left me and I was soon to feel the [torture] of being shifted into a state of Homelessness. Little lies, bundled together, delivered into the power of State-Justice, unleashed the de-humanizing work of torture. Again, I quote Sheen: “We are right to want the ecstasy of [real] love; but if we expect to enjoy it through the flesh, which is merely on a pilgrimage to [Home], we prepare ourselves for disappointment.” I apologize for inserting this view at this time. Aware of and caring about us All. Don [From The Silent Generation - 1930's] • Michael Evans o 0 o o 2 days ago: If mind wandering causes unhappiness is there any correlation between ADD (or ADHD) and depression? o Morton Bast 100+  0   TED STAFFHOSTTED TRANSLATOR 1 day ago: I don't think happiness, as he's attempting to track here, is about not being depressed. His research didn't seem to focus much on what makes some people happier than other people, but more on what causes an individual's happiness to fluctuate. Just my impression. • Chung Truong Thanh 50+ o 0 o o TED TRANSLATOR 2 days ago: How can people be "present focused" while they answering this poll? Isn't it already "mind-wandering"? o o Qab Dqab  0   1 day ago: Because they are answering the poll. That is what they are doing in the present. As long as whilst they are answering the poll they are thinking about the questions asked (at this moment) and not about what they want for dinner they will be present focussed. In fact, this poll is probably a good way to improve ones present focus (which already has a name - mindfulness). Having frequent reminders sent to you to focus your mind on what is happening for you in the present moment is good training for this. What i am intrigued by is who is replying to his texts to let him know that they are currently making love? • Bill Bruehl o +2 o o 2 days ago: This talk is all about the thinking of inexperienced and callow youth. Csikszentmihalhyi has found the secret of happiness in flow. Right. Centuries ago the Zen masters found the secret of happiness in immersion in NOW: Chop wood, carry water. Be here now. There is nothing but NOW. Why get attached -ATTACHED- to anything else? To be attached to memories or to future fears and desires takes one out of the singular reality of NOW. This talk is science sucking on the nipple of adolescence. o • Ed Schulte 50+ o 0 o o 2 days ago: Well well TED talk is making one small step towards what has been identified by past wisdom but not accepted by by the Western mind but for the few hearing/feeling the power behind the pointer of Eckhart Tolle and The Power of Now where " our mind wanders," is simply and accurately identified as "feeding the Ego" o • Cheryl Soteros o 0 o o 2 days ago: Balance is also a truth. • Nupur Deshpande o +1 o o 2 days ago: Killingsworth talks about an age-old concept of 'being in the present moment' to be happy. He backs it up with qualitative real-time data collected from a varied demographic to determine the direction of the relationship between 'mind-wandering' and 'unhappiness'. He further demonstrates that mind-wandering is pervasive as man is a thinking animal. Creative thinking has its foundations in mind-wandering. I therefore think that the solution is not so much denying our mind of its wandering pursuits but of somehow achieving an optimal balance that allows us to grab relevant content from the 'vacation we had last week' to this project right in front of us - thereby truly taming our mind to be productive and therefore happier. • Comment deleted o Mitch SMith 50+  +1   2 days ago: Hi Paul, Yes, science is bumbling, but it helps. we see a lot of symptomatic evidence that gets attached to varous degrees of conjecture and hypothesis. My own quest is guided by the Hindu and Zen observations. Using these guides plus a regard for the scientific method, one gets a sharper understanding of the dynamics at work. It also helps to identify flaws in the assumptions that subliminally control our perceptions. For instance - happiness is usually placed at the opposite of sadness. This is a false assumption - the avoidance of sadness does not move us to happiness. The most likely vector lies on the cortizol/DHCA ballance with active/passive modes on the adrenalin/ACH vector. These can be modulated by other neropeptides/hormones such as dopamine, seratonin, oxytocin etc etc , However, all of these arise from body cues and "thoughts". We have at least 3 levels of "self" proto, core and autobiographical. The proto self governs direct monitor/adjustment of teh body state. The link between monitor and active response in the proto self is governed by the core self - which also integrates external sense information. The autobiographical self is dedicated to communication and complex causality. It tells stories and plays movies. Essentially it does predictions in order to construct and refine long-period causality maps. We have, potentially, thousands of these autobiographical selves - every one of which is connected to the core self and has access to body responses. In this way, running a predictive movie will actually induce stress or comfort reactions in our body that get re-detected by the proto self and interpreted as happy confident / depressed angry. Autobiographical selves are created as models of the core self PLUS a causal map we call "self image". What is not generally recognised is that we also create auto-selves to represent others (the basis of empathy). These "other selves" also begin as a copy of core self plus the causal map of "other". • Comment deleted o • Lyman Zhang o 0 o o TED TRANSLATOR 2 days ago: People who stuck in traffic open their radio not because radio is boring. IE A 'good' kind wandering is in search of 'happiness' And like in Matt's talk, another kind is 'worrying if anything goes wrong' We don't know what kind wandering people are having, and this data does not show the difference...because data from iphone completely mixed up both kinds. (mix white and black, you get something grey, which is neither) • Aaron Hughes o +1 o o 2 days ago: This study seems to be only looking at mind wandering in its relation to happiness in the present moment. Maybe mind wandering will lead to happiness in the future. It might lead me to the idea of having a picnic tomorrow, avoiding a certain person that would make me unhappy after work, or give me a creative idea that will bring happiness when i execute it. What I'm often doing while mind wandering is simulating what many different experiences might be like, motivating my behavior later on. o Daniel Binmore  0   1 day ago: I don't think the thing to take from this is that you should make sure your mind doesn't wander. I think the point is that when you wish to be happier you should try to have your mind wander less. I don't ever want to go to the dentist but I do to avoid further unpleasantness. However, if I have free time it makes me happier not to think about other things. It also leads me to believe that we over-value doing things and under-value free time. • Ajay Doctor o 0 o o 2 days ago: Makes my mind wander about "TED" quality content and the path which made me more happy.....Matt did his best "X" factor • Khon Lieu 30+ o 0 o o 2 days ago: don't mean to be such a stickler, but in his talk he said he came up with a way to study peoples happiness from a moment to moment basis as they go about their daily lives on a massive scale.. if i remember correctly, it was Mihály Csíkszentmihályi who came up with the idea/way to study peoples happiness from the moment to moments basis as they go about their daily lives. except, i believe, he did it with pagers. but i guess Matt was probably talking more about the massive part. • • Mic Wong o +1 o o 2 days ago: Did the experiments made the effort to differentiate between "mind-wandering" and "thinking"? Think about it, all "serious thinking", be it scientific, designing or artistic, they all involve a bit of imagination which inherently is "mind-wandering". And such a process, while enlightening and fun, often uses quite a bit of brain juice and requires quite a bit of concentration, which can be tiring. Very unlikely will someone say they are "happy" in the moment of serious thinking, in fact at most times in the middle of thought processes ususally the state of emotion is inclided to "frustrating", because you are looking for an answer, sometimes the thinking process is even painful. but it is only after you finish the thought with your new intellectual discovery, then you feel relieved, enlightened, and happy that you thought it through, and at the point you start doing/executing your thoughts that you become happy. Hence, if this experiement never differentiated between thinking and mind-wandering, this is a very dangerous notion. Literally we are encouraging people "not to think", and this tends to be a trait of ignorance. This is the path to hedonism, the poison to intellectual progress. Here is my hypothesis: what if the reason why pleasant mind wandering is the least in research, is simply becasue it reflects that too few people in the sample enjoys thinking and doesn't often engage in the process of thinking and get the positive enlightment from thinking? o Steve C  0   1 day ago: One quote that I've remembered (nearly) for many years is that "the danger of popular thinking is that it requires no thought at all;" (or something like that.) • Mathura Sundaram o 0 o o 2 days ago: If there is a brain, it is probably bound to wander... I am certain there is a reason why it exists... besides, no one can be 100% focused on every single thing every time... I don't buy this argument... I would love it if we find a way to have eternal happiness...of course, I have nothing against it... but maybe we are wandering around too much on something else... o Morton Bast 100+  0   TED STAFFHOSTTED TRANSLATOR 1 day ago: I agree that no one can be 100% focused, but I also don't think he's asking us to be, or saying there should be a way to be happy 100% of the time. I think most people would agree that's impossible, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to understand more about what happiness means. • Stacey Kaze o 0 o o 2 days ago: Be engaged, there is satisfaction for all in embracing the moment. Even if you are being asked an annoying question, maybe that is a chance for a little laughter on the inside. • Shasha Zhang o +2 o o 2 days ago: I am wondering if Matt considered the difference between people who use iphone and who do not. If income is a significant factor, in other words, iphone user tended to be richer, this result may only represent the richer group. Another interesting thing is, in the final bar chart, there is a bar about mind-wandering level when people were having sex. Did he considered what kind of people use iphone app to report their mood when they are having sex? Maybe a lot of people who are happier and mind-wandering but they do not like to use iphone during the sex. The relationship between mind-wandering and unhappiness has three possibilities. The first is mind-wandering caused unhappiness; The second is unhappy people tend to have something worrying in their mind; The third is that it is just a correlation rather than a casual relationship. • Sebastian Tor o 0 o o 2 days ago: I wholeheartedly agree with much of Matt's assessment - 'mind wandering' as he calls it is often the way in which our anxieties and insecurities assert themselves. Although I'm sure this is breakthrough research in the scientific domain, it is a basic tenet of meditative practice. I practice secular mindfullness meditation which has been proven to increase our capacity to cope with stress, ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression and as well as allow individuals to be calm and focused. Mindfulness encourages participants to focus on the present moment and develops their ability to maintain awareness of their surroundings, themselves and not get carried away in the stream of thought. My real qualm with Matt's assessment is that what we are defining as 'happiness'. The questions that follow are legion: is this always a desirable state? Can we really in any way accurately quantify happiness using an app? Richard Schoch speaks on exactly this point in the video 'The Myth of Being Happy'. I think that the chasing of happiness, or the image of happiness that we project can often be the cause of severe discomfort and pain. • Jan-Willem van der Male o 0 o o 2 days ago: Maybe... happiness has nothing to do with our feelings? • Comment deleted o o Comment deleted  • Clinton Robinson 50+ o +1 o o 2 days ago: Ironic that my mind wandering at lunch time led me to this TED talk? Does that mean that TED brings me down? I don't think so. I am so much happier now having "wandered" through TED. • Greg Miernicki o 0 o o 2 days ago: +1 • Autar Kaw o +1 o o 2 days ago: Staying in the moment has been shown not to be possible for us human beings. Staying in the zone is different from staying in the moment. o Steven L. Jones 30+  0   2 days ago: Mind wandering or not you exist now, not in the future or the past. Your thoughts of the past happen now, your thoughts of the future happen now. Now is all that exists. Physically this is it. People are afraid if they give up daydreaming they will loose something. Daydreaming is what, a false cushion against all your difficulties? You daydream searching for something better than the present. Either that or your preoccupied with problems of relationships and survival regarding some point in the future. Otherwise why do it? Real meditation isn't something you can do, Meditation happens and has nothing to do with your efforts. If it didn't make one Europhic I would imagine it would of vanished as a practice a long time ago. All you can do is watch the mind. Meditation is a result of awareness. Read the literature on the subject or if your interested go and find someone who has some experience with it. • Eric Fortier o +2 o o 2 days ago: The research in this field of science is very naive. Receiving random annoying questions throughout the day is bound to make me think of something else but the present moment. On top of that, this survey puts everything up for interpretation. In a moment, a big part of me is used to the experience and can take charge with no effort. Like commuting, many people drive somewhere and forget they were actually driving. Like an auto-pilot mode. This appears in processes of your brain every second of every day. To be doing nothing else but auto-pilot would be sad and this research makes it seem okay to ignore something that may be bothering you, and basically informs people to ignore that which interferes, rather than deal with it. Mind wandering is a useful tool and it's more prevalent now likely because of the insane amount of bs circling our advertized lives. There are so many things to think about. I think a more useful answer here it to choose what you wander about. More and more, eastern religious practices are showing to be useful to psychologists. Many teachings are proving to be miraculously useful. Meditation alone can help you simplify your life and make you see that which you want most. I have seen this "living in the moment" claim endless times but it does not point to any answers. The research is not new, and avoids the real problem. It tells us we should be happy 100% of the time. This is sadly impossible. Do not live your life on autopilot or else you subject yourself to being taken advantage of. Take moments and choose when to wander, and wander until it lets go. • Mukesh Adenwala o 0 o o 2 days ago: Since he shared only part of his research, the response can only be that good. Still a few points: First, of late, psychology has started thinking functionally and not structurally. There are some good attributes and some not good attributes and it makes sense if one has more of good attributes, so the argument goes. What this argument misses is that for every attribute that any of us may have, there would be millions of other attributes we would not have. Part of happiness must come from feeling OK or satisfied with what one has - not in comparison with others, but because one has something that one values (or vice-a-versa). Think of President of USA, the most powerful person on earth. He may not be a good sportsman or a musician or a poet or painter or a scientist and so on. If he regrets even one of the things that he may not be, he cannot be happy. So happiness also comes from the ability to be satisfied. In our pursuit of happiness, our materialist culture may be missing this point. In fact, to be satisfied is considered, if not regressive than at least not progressive. It is something that should not be encouraged. If psychology also thinks in terms of mental structure and maturation thereof, we may be able to find better solution to psychological problems or challenges. Second, in his lecture here Prof. Dan Gilbert had shown that if we have choice, we become unhappy. Since our musings (thinking about something else than what we are presently busy with) can only be about other possibilities, it follows that the research shared with us has nothing new to claim. Finally, the concepts of frustration tolerance, fixation and trauma that were mooted in Freudian era may be worth a second look. If we have injury in oral cavity, our tongue reverts to the site of injury. Our musings may not be very different than this physiological phenomena. • Arno Hayes 30+ o 0 o o 2 days ago: They used to call it daydreaming and not negatively. If it is a causal effect of unhappiness at all then it may be due to a lot of negativity weighting down on the subconscious. Maybe... It' due to all the nonsense advertisers stuff in there. Just saying - Humanity is complicated. • Alexander Bergström o 0 o o 2 days ago: Interesting and thought provoking TED-Talk. I have never really considered or even thought about a relationship between mind-wandering and happiness before... Also, a bit remarkable way to gather research data (through an iPhone App). Wonder how Matt managed to get so many people to sign up for that! • pat gilbert 50+ o 0 o o 2 days ago: Not everyone is the same. Some are better at focus than others. I saw an interview on the one thing that made you successful asked to a bunch of very successful people Warren Buffet and Bill Gates answered with the same answer the ability to concentrate. I agree that staying in the moment is a big part of it. Which is a kin to saying see things as they are, "it is what it is" But where I disagree is that the overall key to happiness is working toward goals and this factor is infinitely more important than the other factors. Look at successful people and how they are ALWAYS working towards a goal. • Chung Truong Thanh 50+ o +2 o o TED TRANSLATOR 2 days ago: 1. How to achieve happiness should be a complicated problem, trying to squeeze to a single factor doesn't make a strong case. 2. I don't think the mood swing of happiness is important, so measurement of happiness minute-to-minute doesn't make much sense. o Kitiara de Solace  0   2 days ago: I agree with both. Also, a) I think we use one word -happiness- for two concepts: overall happiness (you look back to your life and you feel satisfied with the path you chose) instant happiness (how I am feeling right now) I have observed myself and others and I believe that if you focus on the instant one too much, it is equivalent to not exercising willpower. Moments later, you feel bad for not doing what you wanted to do (something boring, etc). b) The charts: ther is only a 18% (more or less) of difference between the happiness Not Wandering and the Wandering one. And 0% difference between the happiness Not Wandering and Wandering with Pleasure Thoughs... So I think the summary of the Talk written up this page is missleading.  Morton Bast 100+  0   TED STAFFHOSTTED TRANSLATOR 1 day ago: But I think in-the-instant happiness is very, very important as well. If I was upset, then comforted, and an hour later can't remember why on Earth I was so upset, both of those perspectives are significant and have an effect. How you're feeling at any given instant (even if you feel differently upon reflection) affects what you say and do, which in turn have ripple effects. • Manish Patil o 0 o o 2 days ago: is video incomplete ? • Nicola Jones o 0 o o 2 days ago: One of the hardest- easy choices to make. So much distraction and so little of it of value, thanks for the insight!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

DVORAK Day 3 [How to improve!]

Didn't touch the typing tutorial today.Awesome as it is, I think I've grown tired of that.

I find it better to use the tutorial solely for remembering the keystrokes (by touch typing and using the home row), and after you know where each key is, you start typing REAL text that interests you (like a story). Doing so will ensure that you remember common letter groupings like 'ou' and 'th' in a fun way, unlike the tutorial reviews, which, through it's repetitiveness,forces your brain to know where each key is.

I'm still typing at about 12 wpm, but I feel like I've got the feeling of typing a QWERTY Keyboard. Sure, replacing the QWERTY muscle memory was, truthfully, hard as hell, but getting this new memory is like telepathically knowing your next move. Great feeling. This feeling is enhanced when you didn't know how to touch type before. :P

To be honest though, if you're still typing stuff wrongly, (like me. I'm still mistaking 'o' for 'e', and typing 'f' with my left hand.) you should go back to the tutorial.