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[TED Talks]

내일 (2016년 8월 27일) 일산 킨택스에서 열리는 내시경학회 세미나에서 '한국의 의료 질 현황과 개선 방향'이라는 제목으로 강의할 예정입니다 (Room E. 9:00-9:20). 아침 첫 시간, 구석 방 강의인지라 너무 한산할까 걱정입니다. 여러분의 많은 참여를 부탁드립니다. 강의 자료를 공개합니다.

PPT PDF 4.2 M

많은 강의를 해 왔지만 아직도 강단에 설 때마다 조마조마합니다. 청중에게 조금이라도 도움되는 시간이 되어야 할텐데... 늘 걱정합니다. 최근에는 강의가 있을 때마다 presentation에 대한 책의 한 chapter 정도를 읽어보는 것으로 위안을 삼고 있습니다. 오늘 집어든 책은 TED Talks (Chris Anderson 저)입니다. 작지만 유용한 tip이 많은 책이었습니다.

이런 부분이 있었습니다. "The secret of happiness is: find something more important than you are, and dedicate your like to it..... But life on the hedonic treadmill is ultimately dissatisfying. A beautiful remedy is to hop off it and instead begin pursuing an idea that's bigger than you are." 뭔가 의미있는 주제를 찾아서 헌신적으로 노력하면 훌륭한 presentation과 행복한 삶을 찾을 수 있다... 정도의 이야기입니다.

위 문장에서 'hedonic treadmill'이 무슨 뜻인지 찾아보다가 뜻밖에도 The Converstion의 흥미로운 글 Why you shouldn’t want to always be happy (저자: Frank T. McAndrew, Professor of Psychology, Knox College)을 만났습니다. 여러분에게도 소개하고 싶어 전문을 옮깁니다.

In the 1990s, a psychologist named Martin Seligman led the positive psychology movement, which placed the study of human happiness squarely at the center of psychology research and theory. It continued a trend that began in the 1960s with humanistic and existential psychology, which emphasized the importance of reaching one’s innate potential and creating meaning in one’s life, respectively. Since then, thousands of studies and hundreds of books have been published with the goal of increasing well-being and helping people lead more satisfying lives.

So why aren’t we happier? Why have self-reported measures of happiness stayed stagnant for over 40 years? Perversely, such efforts to improve happiness could be a futile attempt to swim against the tide, as we may actually be programmed to be dissatisfied most of the time.

You can’t have it all

Part of the problem is that happiness isn’t just one thing.

Jennifer Hecht is a philosopher who studies the history of happiness. In her book “The Happiness Myth,” Hecht proposes that we all experience different types of happiness, but these aren’t necessarily complementary. Some types of happiness may even conflict with one another. In other words, having too much of one type of happiness may undermine our ability to have enough of the others - so it’s impossible for us to simultaneously have all types of happiness in great quantities.

For example, a satisfying life built on a successful career and a good marriage is something that unfolds over a long period of time. It takes a lot of work, and it often requires avoiding hedonistic pleasures like partying or going on spur-of-the-moment trips. It also means you can’t while away too much of your time spending one pleasant lazy day after another in the company of good friends.

On the other hand, keeping your nose to the grindstone demands that you cut back on many of life’s pleasures. Relaxing days and friendships may fall by the wayside. As happiness in one area of life increases, it’ll often decline in another.

A rosy past, a future brimming with potential

This dilemma is further confounded by the way our brains process the experience of happiness. By way of illustration, consider the following examples.

We’ve all started a sentence with the phrase “Won’t it be great when…” (I go to college, fall in love, have kids, etc.). Similarly, we often hear older people start sentences with this phrase “Wasn’t it great when…” Think about how seldom you hear anyone say, “Isn’t this great, right now?”

Surely, our past and future aren’t always better than the present. Yet we continue to think that this is the case.

These are the bricks that wall off harsh reality from the part of our mind that thinks about past and future happiness. Entire religions have been constructed from them. Whether we’re talking about our ancestral Garden of Eden (when things were great!) or the promise of unfathomable future happiness in Heaven, Valhalla, Jannah or Vaikuntha, eternal happiness is always the carrot dangling from the end of the divine stick.

There’s evidence for why our brains operate this way; most of us possess something called the optimistic bias, which is the tendency to think that our future will be better than our present. To demonstrate this phenomenon to my classes, at the beginning of a new term I’ll tell my students the average grade received by all students in my class over the past three years. I then ask them to anonymously report the grade that they expect to receive. The demonstration works like a charm: Without fail, the expected grades are far higher than one would reasonably expect, given the evidence at hand. And yet, we believe.

Cognitive psychologists have also identified something called the Pollyanna Principle. (엘리노 포터의 소설 주인공. 가난한 목사의 딸 폴리애나는 양친을 잃고 숙모의 집에서 살게 되는데 낙천적인 성격으로 집안을 푸근하게 만든다) It means that we process, rehearse and remember pleasant information from the past more than unpleasant information. (An exception to this occurs in depressed individuals who often fixate on past failures and disappointments.)

For most of us, however, the reason that the good old days seem so good is that we focus on the pleasant stuff and tend to forget the day-to-day unpleasantness.

Self-delusion as an evolutionary advantage?

These delusions about the past and the future could be an adaptive part of the human psyche, with innocent self-deceptions actually enabling us to keep striving. If our past is great and our future can be even better, then we can work our way out of the unpleasant - or at least, mundane - present.

All of this tells us something about the fleeting nature of happiness. Emotion researchers have long known about something called the hedonic treadmill. We work very hard to reach a goal, anticipating the happiness it will bring. Unfortunately, after a brief fix we quickly slide back to our baseline, ordinary way-of-being and start chasing the next thing we believe will almost certainly - and finally - make us happy.

My students absolutely hate hearing about this; they get bummed out when I imply that however happy they are right now - it’s probably about how happy they will be 20 years from now. (Next time, perhaps I will reassure them that in the future they’ll remember being very happy in college!)

Nevertheless, studies of lottery winners and other individuals at the top of their game - those who seem to have it all - regularly throw cold water on the dream that getting what we really want will change our lives and make us happier. These studies found that positive events like winning a million bucks and unfortunate events such as being paralyzed in an accident do not significantly affect an individual’s long-term level of happiness.

Assistant professors who dream of attaining tenure and lawyers who dream of making partner often find themselves wondering why they were in such a hurry. After finally publishing a book, it was depressing for me to realize how quickly my attitude went from “I’m a guy who wrote a book!” to “I’m a guy who’s only written one book.”

But this is how it should be, at least from an evolutionary perspective. Dissatisfaction with the present and dreams of the future are what keep us motivated, while warm fuzzy memories of the past reassure us that the feelings we seek can be had. In fact, perpetual bliss would completely undermine our will to accomplish anything at all; among our earliest ancestors, those who were perfectly content may have been left in the dust.

This shouldn’t be depressing; quite the contrary. Recognizing that happiness exists - and that it’s a delightful visitor that never overstays its welcome - may help us appreciate it more when it arrives.

Furthermore, understanding that it’s impossible to have happiness in all aspects of life can help you enjoy the happiness that has touched you.

Recognizing that no one “has it all” can cut down on the one thing psychologists know impedes happiness: envy.

맨 마지막 문장이 조금 어렵습니다. 모든 것을 다 가지고 있는 사람은 없는 법이니 누군가를 질투하지는 말라는 의미입니다. 행복감을 느끼고 살아가는 사람은 많지 않은 것 같습니다. 과거는 행복했고, 미래도 행복할 것이라는 착한 bias를 가지고 사는 수 밖에 없겠습니다. 현재에는 스스로의 상황에 만족하고, 남을 질투하지 말고, 뭔가 의미있는 일에 헌신하는 것이 행복해지는 비결이라고 하네요...

© 일원내시경교실 바른내시경연구소 이준행. EndoTODAY Endoscopy Learning Center. Lee Jun Haeng.