Why we're unhappy -- the expectation gap | Nat Ware | TEDxKlagenfurt

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Published at : 04 Feb 2021
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This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Why are we getting richer but not happier? Why do lottery winners not have sustained happiness? Why are bronze medalists often happier than silver medalists? “The first step to being happy is to understand why we’re often unhappy,” says economist and entrepreneur Nat Ware. In an entertaining and enlightening talk, Nat shows that we’re bad predictors of happiness, and explains why this is. We make decisions based on actual outcomes, Nat says, but our happiness depends on relative outcomes. We’ve been seduced into a way of life that conspires against our contentment by making it near impossible for reality to live up to our expectations. It is this expectation gap – the gap between our expectations and reality – that Nat argues is a key reason we’re unhappy. Nat challenges us to not relegate happiness to the world of art and the realm of hippies, but to start taking happiness seriously. The answer is not to simply lower our expectations, but rather to change the very way in which we make decisions.

Nat Ware is an economist, entrepreneur, and international development specialist. He is a Rhodes Scholar based at Oxford University, whose research focuses on social impact, poverty alleviation, and the economics of happiness. He is the Founder and CEO of 180 Degrees Consulting, the world’s largest university-based consultancy, with operations in 24 countries and over 4000 consultants worldwide. 180 Degrees has provided over US$50M worth of consulting services to non-profits and social enterprises so they can operate more effectively (www.180dc.org). Nat has lectured on innovation, strategy and global business at The University of Sydney, and was awarded the Saïd Prize for Top MBA Student at Oxford. He is a frequent keynote speaker at international conferences and events, and has consulted for many of the world's largest foundations and non-profit organizations. His other TEDx talk “Free Charities from The Idea of Charity” can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zpzvnbsma2U.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
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