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How to Be Happier

Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD | 8:26


I spent a significant portion of my teenage years playing squash, hitting the ball up and down the walls, running around the court and in the gym, competing in tournaments around the world. I was 18 years old when one of the most important squash events of the year was. I had been training extremely hard and decided to supplement my training with a special diet.

While my eating habits had always been quite helpful and necessary part of my training regimen, I had occasionally allowed myself the luxury of junk food. However, in the four weeks leading up to the tournaments I ate only the leanest fish and chicken, whole grain, carbohydrates, and fresh fruit and vegetables.

The reward for my abstinence, I. Would be a two day junk food binge. As soon as the tournament was over, I went straight to my favorite hamburger joint. I ordered four hamburgers, and as I walked away from the counter with my prize, I understood how Pavlov's dogs felt at the sound of the bell. I set myself down and hurriedly unwrap the first portion of my reward.

But as I brought the burger closer to my mouth, I stopped. For a whole month, I had looked forward to this meal, and now when it was right in front of me, presented to me on a plastic platter, I did not want it. I tried to figure out why, and it was then that I came up with a happiness model, otherwise known as the hamburger model.

I realized that in the month I'd been eating well, my body felt cleansed, and I was surging with. I knew that I would enjoy eating the four burgers, but that afterwards I would feel unpleasant and fatigued. Staring at my untouched meal, I thought of four kinds of hamburgers, each representing a distinct archetype with each archetype describing a distinct pattern of attitudes and behaviors.

The first type of hamburger is the one I just turned down, the tasty junk food burger. Eating this hamburger would yield present benefit in that I would enjoy it and future detriment in that I would subsequently not feel well. The experience of present benefit and future detriment defines the hedonism arche.

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