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The Corporate Human Ecosystem

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  • Writer's pictureHans J. Schmolke

The rules of happiness and well-being

Updated: Oct 3, 2023



Daniel Kahneman is an Israeli-American psychologist and economist who is widely regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of our time. Kahneman's groundbreaking research on cognitive biases and decision-making has earned him numerous accolades, including the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002.


Daniel Kahneman's research on well-being has led to several important findings, including:

  1. The Peak-End Rule: Kahneman and his colleague, psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, found that people judge their experiences based on the peak emotional moment and the end of the experience, rather than the overall experience. This means that even if an experience is mostly negative, a positive peak moment can leave a lasting positive impression.

  2. The "Focusing Illusion": Kahneman has shown that people tend to overestimate the impact that specific events, such as winning the lottery or getting a promotion, will have on their happiness. This is due to the "focusing illusion," which occurs when people focus too much on a single aspect of their lives.

  3. Adaptation and Hedonic Treadmill: Kahneman has found that people tend to adapt to changes in their circumstances, both positive and negative, and return to their baseline level of happiness relatively quickly. This phenomenon is known as the hedonic treadmill, which suggests that people's happiness is largely stable over time.

  4. The Importance of Social Relationships: Kahneman's research has highlighted the importance of social relationships for happiness and well-being. He has shown that social connections, such as spending time with friends and family, are more strongly related to happiness than income or material possessions.

  5. The Role of Autonomy and Control: Kahneman has found that people are happier when they feel a sense of autonomy and control over their lives. This suggests that people value having the ability to make choices and determine their own paths in life.

Kahneman's research on well-being has provided important insights into the factors that contribute to human flourishing. By understanding the psychological and social factors that influence our well-being, we can make more informed decisions about how to live our lives and create conditions that promote greater happiness and fulfillment.

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