Watch the video.
If you don’t have the 21 minutes to watch the video, here’s the important parts:
Two kinds of happiness – There are two kinds of happiness: natural happiness and synthetic happiness. Natural happiness is happiness we get when get what we want. Synthetic happiness is synthesized happiness. It’s happiness we make when we don’t get what we want.
Natural happiness is not better – Synthetic happiness produces a measurable, testable change. People are not just making it up when they say they’re happy despite not getting what they want. The video talks about an experiment that was done to prove this.
Before choosing, choices promote natural happiness – When you don’t have to choose, having a lot of choices makes you naturally happy.
After choosing, choices inhibit the creation of synthetic happiness – When we have the ability to change our minds, we become less happy because we aren’t sure if we made the right decision. The video talks about a Harvard psychological experiment that demonstrates this.
How this applies to INFPs
INFPs have problems making decisions for two reasons:
- We want to make the right choice, the perfect choice. We end up wasting a lot of time trying to gather up enough data for us to choose. This could be anything from which career to pursue to where to eat today.
- After we make the choice and as soon as the first sign of adversity hits us, we start thinking that if we had made the perfect choice then we wouldn’t have all these problems. So we start second guessing that choice. Should we have chosen something else?
It’s this second guessing that inhibits our ability to find happiness in the choice we made. This is synthetic happiness and I believe synthetic happiness is real. I believe it’s real because INFPs create synthetic happiness all the time.
Every time on a forum thread where I see an INFP saying that the world wasn’t created for INFPs to successful that’s an INFP creating synthetic happiness. I see the creation of synthetic happiness in every excuse INFPs use to blame our unhappiness on things we believe are outside their control (I’m shy and can’t meet people, the world doesn’t understand me). We make ourselves better by saying that our lot in life isn’t really our choice.
Second guessing kills happiness and success
Could we have made a better choice? Maybe. Here’s the real question. How much time are we going to waste wondering if we made the right decision instead of fully committing to the decision we did make?
Success and self-esteem go hand-in-hand. When we succeed at something we feel better about ourselves. Success and happiness aren’t directly related because we can succeed at something unimportant which won’t make us happy. There’s a saying. When climbing the ladder of success, make sure it’s leaning against the right wall.
I’m talking about all types of success. Success at making friends. Success at becoming financially stable. Success at becoming our Ideal Self. However, success requires dedication and full commitment. INFPs never make that full commitment because think we can go back and make a better choice.
Success doesn’t lead to happiness, but the self-confidence we gain will keep us going until we finally succeed at something that does bring natural happiness. So if natural happiness comes from getting what we want? Does this mean we’re unhappy getting to what we want? Of course, people can be happy in the journey, but it’s the happiness we find in the journey. It’s the happiness we make. It’s synthetic happiness.
Burning bridges leads to happiness
When we have no choice but to succeed, we will do everything we can possibly do not to fail. We will work our asses off to not fail because failing means dire consequences.
When I was 19, I moved out my parent’s house. I just couldn’t live with them and their rules any longer. So with no job, one month’s rent and telling my parents I’m never speaking to them again, I moved in with some friends. I had to find a job fast, anything. I couldn’t fail because I had nowhere else to go. I ended up finding a job serving popcorn at a movie theater.
I didn’t waste anytime second-guessing my decision because I couldn’t unmake my decision. It was do or die. So instead of that energy focused behind me. All my energy was focused on succeeding. I was never happier.
Committing to choices means risk especially if we can’t go back. INFPs rarely regret the choices we made that didn’t turn out well because it makes us into the people we are. INFPs regret the choices we didn’t make because it’s another lost opportunity to discover more about ourselves. It’s another chance to become our Ideal Self that we didn’t take.
The best thing about making choices we can’t back out of, we are happier. As that Harvard experiment in the video demonstrates, we come to decide that we like the decision we made because we don’t have a choice.