April 29, 2008 BY danariely

Not sure if this is worth a post but I am turning 41 today.

I did have one observation related to birthday practices. A few days ago I got a gift in the mail from Jim Levine and on it in big letters was a warning not to open it before today. I did not.

The interesting thing was that I was very happy to get the gift a few days ago and I was happy again today to open it and realize what a nice gift it is. In fact I expect that this approach almost doubled my overall happiness. In other words, if I would have followed the regular practice of opening a gift as soon as I got it, I might have gotten happiness of X from it. But this way I got a lot of happiness when I received it by mail (maybe X-e) and again today I got pleasure that was very high (maybe X-d). And since e and d are relatively small, I suspect that Jim’s approach almost doubled my happiness (2X-d-e).

I think I will try this approach more regularly from time to time—thanks Jim!


P.S. A year ago when I turned 40, at about midnight, I finished writing
Predictably Irrational and emailed it to my editor Claire Wachtel.
Overall it has been a very interesting year, I learned a lot and had
many new experiences. To more interesting times …