Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sociopaths = primed for happiness?

I recently found out my death year is in the 2070s and thought, wow, that long? Better find some way to entertain myself... But I think a lot of people must be thinking the same thing. We no longer live hard and fast, struggling to meet the basic requirements of survival. With our survival all but assured, our minds are free to wonder, what else is there to life? For most people, it's not about the quest for meaning or heaven or anything else, but rather happiness that people seek most, reports the cover article in Psychology Today this month. What is the secret to happiness? Recent research suggests counterintuitive results -- people who engage in "activities that lead us to feel uncertainty, discomfort, and even a dash of guilt." Sound like anyone you know?

First, happy people seek stimulation:

Curiosity, it seems, is largely about exploration—often at the price of momentary happiness. Curious people generally accept the notion that while being uncomfortable and vulnerable is not an easy path, it is the most direct route to becoming stronger and wiser. In fact, a closer look at the study by Kashdan and Steger suggests that curious people invest in activities that cause them discomfort as a springboard to higher psychological peaks.

Reminds me of this recent post on doing things the hard way.

Second, happy people are unflaggingly optimistic, even delusionally so, even to the point of gullibility:

A standard criticism of happy people is that they're not realistic—they sail through life blissfully unaware of the world's ills and problems. Satisfied people are less likely to be analytical and detail-oriented. A study led by University of New South Wales psychologist Joseph Forgas found that dispositionally happy people—those who have a general leaning toward the positive—are less skeptical than others. They tend to be uncritically open toward strangers and thus can be particularly gullible to lies and deceit. Think of the happy granny who is overcharged at the car dealership by the smiling salesperson compared with more discerning, slightly less upbeat consumers.

Reminds me of this recent tweet.
Third, they tend to not care about brass rings, don't really run in the rat race:

Similarly, the happiest people possess a devil-may-care attitude about performance. In a review of the research literature by Oishi and his colleagues, the happiest people—those who scored a 9 or 10 out of 10 on measures of life satisfaction—tended to perform less well than moderately happy people in accomplishments such as grades, class attendance, or work salaries. In short, they were less conscientious about their performance; to them, sacrificing some degree of achievement seems to be a small price to pay for not having to sweat the small stuff.

People who have a more fluid sense of self (see also Buddhists):

The ability to shift mental states as circumstances demand turns out to be a fundamental aspect of well-being.

Other counterintuitive tidbits that don't necessarily fit sociopaths (but should!) include giving to and serving others makes you happy, being happy for other people makes you happy, accepting your negative emotions and what that means about you, etc. Of course sense of purpose also matters, but it seems to be more a sense of forward progression:

If you want to envision a happy person's stance, imagine one foot rooted in the present with mindful appreciation of what one has—and the other foot reaching toward the future for yet-to-be-uncovered sources of meaning.


  1. i do smile a lot
    specialy when i'm 1st

  2. Being high on life is a lot of pleasant work...

  3. What I take away from this is that fear/shame/need and happiness are inversely related. If you are afraid of doing new things, what people think of you, not achieving "success" on society's terms, and changing habits/patterns that your social network has come to associate with you, you are a person who is trapped by fear/shame/need.

    Happiness comes when you decide who you want to be, and focus your life's energies in that direction. Even if you fail, it's a lot more interesting than sitting around waiting for life to "happen" to you as you kowtow to those you believe control your happiness. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was to remove the word "should" from my vocabulary. "Should" is a verbal marker of living under fear based expectations that you must please certain agencies.

    People are unhappy because they never live out what they truly believe to be important because they are afraid of incurring disapproval from powerful other who say "you should do this". In saying this, I am not suggesting that to be happy you must never submit to any person or ideal. (A person who lives by impulse and only for in the moment satisfaction is usually bored and often self sabotaging, which is the sociopathic personality's biggest drawback, IMO.)

    Rather, I am including the crucial element of choice in the equation of submission. Happy people submit their need for short term gratification to the long term discipline of acting in accordance with principles that are self chosen, not dictated by an authority that compels conformity via fear/shame.

    Ultimately, happy people are happy not because they are myopic in their self absorption, but because their actions are driven by an internal locus of control that is based on self chosen principles. Living in a state of fear/shame/need and continually seeking approval from the powers that be is living under an external locus of control, which is slavery.

    In the words of William Shakespeare, "To thine own self be true."

  4. Another highly lucid and sensible comment, kudos! 'Should' really IS a dirty word, I agree! I'll admit to having the shortcoming you describe; long-term planning is somehow so DULL, that I cannot focus upon it for long. Nonetheless, I've made modest preparations for my dotage :D However, I'm always aware that the best-laid plans can go awry. One can't control everything, and nothing is more pitiable to me than the people who live in fear because of that very fact.

    The thought of losing things and starting over is not frightening to me, but stimulating. It's as if I see myself as a character in a book or movie at times: when I find myself in a jam, I'm not upset, but actually excited to see how I'll get out of this one! I know it isn't sensible in the least, but it stirs me when I think of starting over, yet again.

    I feel rather boxed-in by long-term plans and commitments, actually. I can't help but be true to myself, it's being true to others that brings difficulty, I'm afraid. But I think you're right that this can be seen as a plus. Living for the approval of others is slavery indeed. It's a balance, I suppose.

  5. Do sociopaths like drama in a relationship??

    1. someone claiming socio said their very bones require it.

    2. and that someone would be .. .


  6. Happiness is a Choice

  7. I am a sociopath and just like a bag of M&M's, we are different in our makeups, though common underneath.
    Happiness, for me, is self fulfillment. I keep goals on a yearly, monthly and bi-weekly basis.
    Due to the fact that paying bills (not due to cash flow) is a bother to me, I met and stayed with someone who was financially stable and who had a good credit history that provided a nice house, etc. When my car was being driven into the ground by me, she provided another one. My payments are almost over, thank God.
    I save a great deal because of her. Money does buy me happiness. I have everything that I want in my home. Plenty of clothes, food, books, whatever.
    A recent novel came out that talked about how people would be more satisfied if they have experiences over things and a greater proclivity to be happy if they pay now and enjoy later.
    We are such a bs country.
    People are actually going to drink from this well and go and do hot yoga, jump off cliffs, take up riding planes and wrestling alligators because they have no friggin clue who they are and are desperate looking for the golden ring.
    I know who I am. Just like with M.E. book, I make a nice salary close to three figures, my house will be paid off when I am 46, so I am going to jump on my partners insurance, cash out the retirement and do whatever suits me for a while.
    That is my own happiness.
    I am happy being solo. I work in educations as an administrator and being a socio allows for you to be so caring,,,God when I look at the 11 letters of recc that I have, I realize that I am such a good actress that I could probably beat out Jodi Foster for a role. I travel around the world alone-awesome
    I have friends, but thank God for texting. I have colleague and I can please people with a three minute meeting and ask how their mother or family is. It buys allegiance,
    I don't like groups, not since I was a kid-doesn't make me happy.
    But I digress.
    America is a place that while people are trying to make themselves happy and look for it everywhere, they won't sit down and not judge themselves while looking for the truth in themselves.
    Maybe happiness is doing your laundry every Friday night butt naked, but it would be frowned upon in your family.
    Happiness is saying f*** it and being selfish by looking at who you are...
    BTW, if you love family, etc...great. I have many friends who have hit 50 and realize that they have nothing left because they never took care of themselves-and I don't mean getting a haircut.

    1. I hate it when people give me advice on the way they think i would be happier. You know when someone gives you advice abt what they think you need, and say "'s your life" and they have the look that says: i will be the one who told you so?

      I doubt you'd beat out jodi foster for a role. You sound too cocky/braggy for the people to want to work with you. That is more important than talent. Sandra Bullock gets all her work (though very talented) bec no problems on set, she is genuinely nice -- to all the extras on set. There is peace. It is impoortant.

      Thats one reason Monica has survived here. She may be calculated, but she sends the nice message very effectively. Where has she been? Did she go on a fast and too weak to post? Is she on a yoga retreat with no computers? Is she having continuous colonic ?

    2. I thank you for your concerns anon!

      I have taken a hiatus from sw, for I am outgrowing the type of healing I got here. But i will be back haha!

      I love you all, every one !

    3. "People are actually going to drink from this well and go and do hot yoga, jump off cliffs, take up riding planes and wrestling alligators because they have no friggin clue who they are and are desperate looking for the golden ring."

      Not neccesarily, maybe they just enjoy doing these things. Does a sociopath even know or feel what joy is ?

  8. If sociopaths can't feel joy, how would they be "primed for happiness" ?

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