1.8 Our Eternal Search for Happiness

The glass is always half full, if we believe otherwise then we are pessimists. This way of thinking comes from our belief that positive thoughts bring us positive outcomes. We need positive thoughts in order to achieve happiness. Unfortunately life is never so simple. A glass half full can make a bad situation worse.

Our need to be happy combined with our reluctantly hopeful attributes, can compound situations. The reason markets tumble when bubbles burst is because of how long we ignore the signs (selective hearing). A market bubble swells well above demand to create an unrealistic market. As soon as market runs out of buyers it collapses on itself.

Another term for this positive feeling is euphoria. When we perceive ourselves as being happy we become euphoric. We will search our entire lives for happiness. We experience times of euphoria followed by similar extremes of depression.

Expectations play a large role in where we are in our cycle of happiness and depression which we will discuss at length later.
Some individuals use artificial means to simulate this feeling with drugs and alcohol. When we combine our addictive nature with a need for happiness, abuse of these stimulants becomes common.

Many countries banned short selling in the recent financial crisis. A bank’s stock price plays a role in their leverage requirements by the FDIC. When their leverage goes below the required level, they are threatened with takeover by the FDIC. Since short sellers are hoping the value of a stock goes down, their activities can threaten a bank’s leverage requirements. Some referred to short sellers as unpatriotic. When investors buy bank stocks it gives banks more leverage to lend. The cause of the credit crisis was not a lack of credit, but an over extension of it. Short sellers did not cause the credit crisis, but interestingly they were the only ones reprimanded during this event.

If the short sellers win over the reluctant and make them hopeful, then they will be the new meaning of happiness and the buyers will be the pessimists.

Man has such a requirement for happiness that we hate those who threaten it. We all search for happiness and this is why it is an attribute of “Normal”.

1.9 The Select Few – The Abnormal

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