Saturday, July 18, 2015

Yes, People Change and Grow

Below, is a  TED talk, about how people change over decades. Studies show that apparently humans think they don't change, or better yet, can't imagine how they will change in the future, but in reality they do.

So when some pooh-bah "expert" on autism tells you that you have to accept that your child "can't do something" for the rest of their lives, you tell them to go "jump in the lake." (There is actually a Yiddish phrase that this is translated from) Well not literally of course, but in a more adult, respectful manner. In truth, one of the things I have learned over these decades is that you can no more predict who our children will be in ten years, then you can predict life's outcomes for neurotypical children. The point is to never give up dreaming for your child. Never let anyone tell you your child can't.

The trick is to find the way to get it done. There is always a way.

Why you should listen

Dan Gilbert believes that, in our ardent, lifelong pursuit of happiness, most of us have the wrong map. In the same way that optical illusions fool our eyes -- and fool everyone's eyes in the same way -- Gilbert argues that our brains systematically misjudge what will make us happy. And these quirks in our cognition make humans very poor predictors of our own bliss.

The premise of his current research -- that our assumptions about what will make us happy are often wrong -- is supported with clinical research drawn from psychology and neuroscience. But his delivery is what sets him apart. His engaging -- and often hilarious -- style pokes fun at typical human behavior and invokes pop-culture references everyone can relate to. This winning style translates also to Gilbert's writing, which is lucid, approachable and laugh-out-loud funny. The immensely readable Stumbling on Happiness, published in 2006, became a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into 20 languages.

In fact, the title of his book could be drawn from his own life. At 19, he was a high school dropout with dreams of writing science fiction. When a creative writing class at his community college was full, he enrolled in the only available course: psychology. He found his passion there, earned a doctorate in social psychology in 1985 at Princeton, and has since won a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Phi Beta Kappa teaching prize for his work at Harvard. He has written essays and articles for The New York Times, Time and even Starbucks, while continuing his research into happiness at his Hedonic Psychology Laboratory.