Hedonic Engineering, or Life as Optimization Problem
July 2, 2012 1:24 PM Subscribe
As a recent graduate, how can I engineer my life to maximize happiness, financial security, and independence (in that order)? What choices did you make that led to suboptimal outcomes in these areas, and what would you do differently given another chance?
posted by ecmendenhall to Grab Bag (58 answers total) 108 users marked this as a favorite
I am a recent college graduate who has yet to start a serious career (I just returned from a year of research abroad and a lot of introspection). I graduated without debt, thanks to a generous merit scholarship. This has bought me the brief opportunity to stop and think for a moment.
All lives are path-dependent (past decisions limit future choices), and I would like to glimpse as much of my own decision tree as possible as I embark on the next few years of potentially momentous decisions.
I realize this is a big question (maybe the
big question), but here are a few formulations:
- How can I engineer my life to maximize happiness, financial security, and independence?
- What choices did you make that locked you into a suboptimal outcome in these areas, and how could you have avoided them?
- In your experience, what small things offer the greatest returns on these categories?
Advice and anecdotes are welcome, but answers backed by legitimate research get double bonus points. I'd love to hear answers on all scales, from, e.g., "buy the best noise canceling headphones you can afford" to "ride a bike everywhere" to "don't have children."