This is the world’s most expensive hotel
for 81,000 dollars a night.
You get to stay at the president hotel suite in Geneva.
On the other hand, here’s the world’s most expensive restaurant.
Sublimation, the restaurant only seats 12 people at a time,
and utilizes molecular gastronomy in their cooking.
The price, 2000 dollars a meal.
Perhaps these are all things you do if you won the lottery,
but in reality, winning the lottery isn’t as funny as you think.
Now I could try to convince you of this with multiple studies.
A classic study found that a year after winning,
lottery winners weren’t any happier than normal people.
Another survey found that about half of lottery winners
though winning had no effect on the happiness.
But something doesn’t feel right.
I mean it’s becoming an instant millionaire
really gonna have no impact on our happiness.
At the very least, not having to worry about money
must have some lasting effect, right?
Well, this highlights an important cognitive bias,
one which makes us terrible at predicting our future happiness.
It’s called the focusing illusion.
The focusing illusion is when people
place too much importance on one aspect of an event.
How does it work?
Well, when I ask you to focus on a subject by its very definition,
you’re now only looking at a narrow portion of that subject.
Therefore, you’re failing to consider other factors.
This causes you to overestimste the impact of that one aspect,
so let’s go back to winning the lottery.
When you imagine youself winning, you are only thinking about
how happier you’ll be with all that extra money,
what you’re not thinking about
is all the other factors that influence happiness.
Consider the many stories of lottery winners
who end up bankrupt, commiting suicide, or addicted to drugs.
For example, Jeffery Dampler won 20 million dollars in 1996.
He was later kidnapped and murderd by his own sister-in-law.
Billie Harrell won 31 million dollars in 1997.
Unfortunately, 2 years later, he commited suicide
after unrelenting requests of money from family and friends.
Even small things bring trouble when you have that much money.
One lottery winner offered this community 10,000 dollars
to help improve their handicap facilities.
Funnily enough, the locals started complaining that it wasn’t enough,
saying that he was spending more money at the strip clubs.
These are just not the things we think about
when we imagine winning the lottery.
Now this doesn’t just apply to money.
For example, people also ever estimate
how much happiness romantic relationships will bring them.
If I firstly ask,
how many dates did you have last month?
And then measure your happiness,
there’s a strong correlation of 0.66.
This means that the more dates you went on,
the happier you reported yourself being.
Now this correlation seems pretty robust,
but it can easily be changed.
If I firstly measure your happiness,
and then ask about your dating life as an afterthought.
The correlation drops to 0.12.
This is because here
the participants were no longer focusing on
relationships as they assess the happiness.
Hence, normally, dating only plays a small part
in determining our happiness.
It’s only when you focus on it that it seems big.
Now that’s not to say that relationships aren’t important.
They are, but just not as much as we think.
the effect of education on income inequality is also exaggerated.
When asked about education,
you think it’d be the key to reducing income inequality, right?
However, the research paints a less certain picture.
Some show a moderate effect,
some show that education doesn’t help at all,
and some even show that education can worsen income equality.
为什么呢 嗯 我们没考虑到
Why? well, we don’t consider that
education is only really going to help the lower class,
and it’s only by a bit.
On the other hand, the absurdly wealthy people
are still going to be absurdly wealthy,
and so there’s still that huge inequality.
Now education still matters,
it just doesn’t matter as much as we think,
and this applies for most things in our life.
Things matter but just not as much as we think
when we’re focusing on.
When we imagine a big event
whether it’s winning the lottery or finding a new girlfriend,
we only focus on that big event.
What we forget is that time goes on,
other things will happen and other factors will come into play.
So next time you’re analyzing something,
be extremely careful of the focusing illusion.
Instead, try to think of what other factors might be at work.