Happiness vs Satisfaction


Kahneman contends that happiness and satisfaction are distinct. Happiness is a momentary experience that arises spontaneously and is fleeting. Meanwhile, satisfaction is a long-term feeling, built over time and based on achieving goals and building the kind of life you admire. … Kahneman explains that working toward one goal may undermine our ability to experience the other.

via QZ

Okay… so… an example? Sure:

For example, in Kahneman’s research measuring everyday happiness—the experiences that leave people feeling good—he found that spending time with friends was highly effective.

Yet those focused on long-term goals that yield satisfaction don’t necessarily prioritize socializing, as they’re busy with the bigger picture.

Now that’s very, very true.

As we all know, the difficulty of “balancing” all of the things in life is challenging enough! Adding in this psychological layer of trying to understand if this action is supporting long-term satisfaction… or not… feels like a lot of work.

I want to be happy. I want to be satisfied with where I am on happiness. I want to… … … right?

Go on:

Such choices led Kahneman to conclude that we’re not as interested in happiness as we may claim. “Altogether, I don’t think that people maximize happiness in that sense…this doesn’t seem to be what people want to do. They actually want to maximize their satisfaction with themselves and with their lives. And that leads in completely different directions than the maximization of happiness,” he says.

In an October interview with Ha’aretz, Kahneman argues that satisfaction is based mostly on comparisons. “Life satisfaction is connected to a large degree to social yardsticks–achieving goals, meeting expectations.” He notes that money has a significant influence on life satisfaction, whereas happiness is affected by money only when funds are lacking.

Poverty creates suffering, but above a certain level of income that satisfies our basic needs, wealth doesn’t increase happiness. “The graph is surprisingly flat,” the psychologist says.

In other words, if you aren’t hungry, and if clothing, shelter, and your other basics are covered, you’re capable of being at least as happy as the world’s wealthiest people. The fleeting feelings of happiness, though, don’t add up to life satisfaction.

Looking back, a person who has had many happy moments may not feel pleased on the whole.


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