“One of the most common ways we make sense of our lives is through stories. From the earliest cave paintings depicting spirits or symbols, to the fairy tales that offer moral messages to children, stories are a universal reference point helping to guide most people’s choices about how they live.
Professor Paul Dolan new book, The Happiness Myth, follows his bestselling Happiness by Design by looking at how the evidence challenges the narratives at the heart of our idea of wellbeing.”
“What really makes us happy? Is it a big house, lots of money, marriage and children? Not necessarily. Yet so many of us base what we do upon the ‘stories’ we tell ourselves of what we think should make us happy without paying attention to whether these things actually do make us happy day-to-day. Professor of behavioural science and guest on this week’s podcast, Professor Paul Dolan, believes that happiness is subjective in every way and if we free ourselves from the myth of the perfect life we might each find a life that is worth living.”
“On the face of it, it’s rather odd that there is an International Day of Happiness. Don’t we live every day trying to be happy?
Well, not really. As a professor of behavioural science at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), I spend a lot of my working life trying to work out what makes people happy. Often, that means looking beyond what they say makes them happy, and towards the evidence base provided by research, which paints a different picture.”
Whether it’s getting married, having kids or a high-paying job, society loves to tell us how to live our lives. Paul Dolan, professor of Behavioural Science at the LSE, explains why these preconceived narratives can be damaging to us as individuals, and how to find your own route to happiness, in his new book, Happy Ever After.
Did you miss the LSE book launch of Happy Ever After? Or perhaps you have a burning question that wasn’t answered? Professor Paul Dolan is going to continue the conversation and is holding a more intimate discussion and book signing session where there will be refreshments provided.
After a very short introduction from Paul, the event will be an extended Q&A where you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about escaping the myth of the perfect life.
If you do not already have a copy of the book they will be available for you to purchase at the session, where Paul will sign your book on the day.
“How much money do we need to make us happy? It is a much-debated question, but an answer I heard at a recent event in west London surprised me. To be truly content, it was said, people don’t need to be rich, they need “just enough”.”
The Calmer You Podcast: In ‘Happy Ever After: Escaping the Myth of the Perfect Life’ bestselling happiness expert Professor Paul Dolan draws on a variety of studies covering issues such as wellbeing, inequality and discrimination to bust the common myths about our sources of happiness. He shows that there can be many unexpected paths to lasting fulfilment. Some of these might involve not going into higher education, choosing not to marry, rewarding acts rooted in self-interest and caring a little less about living for ever.
By freeing ourselves from the myth of the perfect life, we might each find a life worth living.
“One of the most rigorous articulations of the new mood of acceptance is Happy Ever After: Escapingthe Myth of the Perfect Life by Paul Dolan, a professor of behavioural science at the LSE and, the publicity material explains, “an internationally renowned expert in human behaviour and happiness”. His book is a persuasive demolition of many of our cultural stories about how we ought to live, including the idea that there’s anything particularly desirable about being a senior academic or a renowned expert.”
In Happy Ever After, Paul Dolan dispels some of the most common myths about what makes us happy. Here are five things you should stop doing in order to escape the myth of perfection, and truly find lasting fulfilment.