Here is the full transcript of Marlena Brothers Frank’s talk titled “The Remarkable Simplicity of Happiness” at TEDxBrookdaleCommunityCollege conference.
Marlena Brothers Frank’s talk, “The Remarkable Simplicity of Happiness,” delves into the essence of true happiness, challenging the conventional pursuit tied to external achievements and circumstances. She underscores the importance of being present, expressing gratitude, and fostering meaningful connections, principles taught by her centenarian grandmother, Lucille.
Frank emphasizes that long-term happiness is largely unaffected by material gains, a notion supported by psychological research and studies on hedonic adaptation. Her narrative is enriched with personal anecdotes and the transformative lessons learned from her grandmother’s diverse and fulfilling life. Ultimately, Frank’s talk offers a compelling argument for reevaluating our paths to happiness, advocating for a simpler, more introspective approach centered around love, gratitude, and presence.
Listen to the audio version here:
The Pursuit of Happiness
“I will be happy when.” Take a second and complete that sentence. “I will be happy when.” Most likely, you’re completing it with a change in circumstance. “I will be happy when I retire. I will be happy when I get that dream job. I will be happy when I meet that special person, when I make a million dollars. I will be happy when I get that new car.” That really nice new car.
Ultimately, what we are saying is, “I will be happy when something is different.” It’s probably not surprising to you that we often get happiness wrong. That this pursuit of happiness can be endless, boundless.
We chase happiness until we are miserable. Studies have found that these external life circumstances, such as the car, the money, the job, generally have very little impact on our long-term happiness. Due to something referred to as hedonic adaption, no matter what changes occur in your environment, your happiness will always go back to your set point. This is your general level of happiness. You may receive a temporary boost from these events, but ultimately it does not last.
The Science of Happiness
As a professor of psychology, I found my passion and my purpose in the world of positive psychology, the study of what makes life most worth living. I have spent years teaching the techniques to become happier. Thanks to this field of study, we now have more research than ever on how to become happier, more optimistic, more joyful, more filled with gratitude, and even more resilient. There is science on how to thrive. Creating this long-lasting happiness is much simpler than you would think, yet we continue to complicate it.