MELBOURNE - September 07, 2019 | Duc
Loài người chúng ta vẫn luôn phải vật lộn với cuộc sống để đi tìm hạnh phúc cho bản thân. Vậy mà cuộc sống lại tồn tại một sự thật nghiệt ngã, đó chính là "Sự nghịch lý của hạnh phúc" - chúng ta thường cố tình không làm những việc mà chúng ta biết sẽ mang lại hạnh phúc. Ví dụ như các bạn trẻ thường dành hàng giờ lướt Internet, để rồi khi nghĩ đến chuyện tập thể dục thể thao hay đọc một cuốn sách hay thì: "Xin lỗi! mình không có thời gian!" Nguyên nhân nằm ở những thiên lệch trong não bộ chúng ta, chứ không phải do bạn lười đâu ;)
Tuy nhiên, bạn khoan hãy vội lo lắng, bởi vì cũng không phải là không có cách khắc phục điều này. Trước hết, bạn cần nhận ra vấn đề của bạn nằm ở đâu; rồi sau đó hãy sắp xếp thời gian của bạn hợp lý bằng phương pháp S.M.A.R.T (S.M.A.R.T Goal Tasks), để có thể tập trung làm những việc thật sự tốt cho bạn. Hãy cố gắng đọc hiểu bài này (mình viết bằng tiếng anh) để hiểu hơn về Hạnh Phúc nhé!
* "Flow activities" có nghĩa là những việc mà bạn làm gần như với 100% sự tập trung, thông thường là bởi vì bạn rất quan tâm, thích thú hoặc tò mò với chúng.
Today, seeking happiness is deemed to be the very purpose of human being’s existence. Indeed, people always want to be happy in life; however, not all of us know how to find real happiness. In the article “The paradox of happiness: Why are we not doing what we know makes us happy?”, Schiffer and Roberts (2018) mention a contradiction in people’s thinking of ways to achieve happiness. This article will analyze the paradox regarding its causes and effects in order to find the way out of this attitude.
There are many researchers who subscribe to the view that well-being can be increased by intentional activities. According to many studies, happiness is a combination of generic inclination, life situations, and elements under personal control. The first two factors are likely to be out of control of humans’ capability; they, hence, aim to manage the third factors so as to be happier. In other words, people’s choices in different actions will lead to very distinct results in term of well-being. In daily basis, the activities which put people in “flow” can be able to contribute more to happiness in the long run, as compared to the activities that people usually do in their leisure time.
In the research, the paradox of happiness is raised by Schiffer and Roberts. They state that people tend to do the passive activities such as watching TV and surfing the internet more often than “flow” activities, especially doing exercise and studying, albeit they are quite clear that which ones are more beneficial. The reasons for this predisposition are attributed to the individuals’ mistaken “affective forecasting” future happiness triggered by “impact bias” or “focal bias”. In relation to “impact bias”, the lasting happiness-value of pleasurable activities could be overestimated as people equate enjoyment and pleasure; therefore, they have spent almost all their time-fund on swiping the phone screen. In the meantime, “focal bias” brings about the procrastination in which people think that they can be happy later by doing the “flow” activities and enjoy leisure time firstly. To put it simply, the mistaken affective forecasting creates the thought that passive activities are more enjoyable, entailing less effort to start with, and less intimidating than “flow” activities, according to Schiffer and Roberts. It can be said that many people cannot achieve happiness mainly because they do not know how to rise above the barriers of the activation energy or transition costs entailed to strive for true enjoyment.
Source: Doraemon Vol. 27 - An example of the mistaken "affective forecasting"
Heightening the awareness of the paradox would be a good idea to reduce the impacts of the psychological issue and encourage the engagement of “flow” activities. Csikszentmihalyi (2003), a psychologist, suggests the concept of controlled consciousness, which can be able to direct our attention, with the purpose of getting over the psychological intimidation at the very beginning of doing “flow” activities. For example, meditation is regarded as a positive way to develop the level of consciousness. An alternative way to help to control the psychological momentum is the approach to S.M.A.R.T goal tasks to involve in the “flow” activities. In practice, people realize that “flow” requires more efforts than pleasure, and in order to do “flow” activities regularly, the level of skills must be improved; thus, the usefulness of the pre-planning and suitable arrangements by using S.M.A.R.T goal tasks will make the transition into “flow” activities easier.
As far as I am concerned, addressing the issue raised through the paradox of happiness plays an important role in not only promoting human well-being but also dealing with difficulties in our career, personal development, and relationships. In particular, to be more competent in work, people need to enhance various skills by practising those frequently, which requires a great deal of effort. The understanding of the psychological obstacles could bring more willingness to involve people in their long-term plans. Also, people will not hesitate to do whatever having good effects on their physical and mental life, such as healthy dieting, doing yoga, and learning new skills. Furthermore, good relationships can be well established by feeling optimistic thanks to more being in “flow”. 
Personally, I have been partially aware of the attitude so-called the paradox of happiness and come up with my own solution for my wasting time on social networks by bearing in mind the limited time of using those platforms, yet the awareness of the issue has not been paid due attention. However, with systematically analyzing the challenges from the article, the measures could be taken to find happiness in many aspects of my life. All in all, I am inclined to believe that having a deep comprehension of the paradox of happiness might be a magic bullet for ensuring human’s well-being.
[1] Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2003). Good business: Leadership, flow, and the making of meaning. London: Hodder & Stoughton.
[2] Schiffer, L., & Roberts, T. (2018). The paradox of happiness: Why are we not doing what we know makes us happy? The Journal of Positive Psychology, 13(3), 252-259.