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Why So Many Smart People Aren't Happy

Tying happiness to outcomes

It is not good to tie your happiness to outcomes since that can affect your happiness.

Overcoming some obstacles might pose more obstacles, while other events that we thought would be bad for us might make us grow and learn.

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Why So Many Smart People Aren't Happy

Why So Many Smart People Aren't Happy

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/04/why-so-many-smart-people-arent-happy/479832/

theatlantic.com

5

Key Ideas

Things that make us happy

  • Having meaningful social relationships
  • Being very good at something you do
  • Having the freedom to make life decisions independently.

Three things that don't necessarily contribute to your happiness:

  • Being better educated
  • Being richer
  • Being more accomplished

Irrelevant criteria

We know what will make us happy, but we don't know how to measure it. We measure our success by using social comparisons, like a salary, or with awards.

Because people tend to use vague criteria, they are never satisfied when they reach it and always want more. This leads to an unsustainable source of happiness.

Do what you enjoy

If you do what you enjoy and are naturally good at, and if you focus on it long enough, you will probably advance toward mastery anyway, and fame and money will be a byproduct.

Scarcity vs abundance oriented

We view the world in one of two ways:

  • Scarcity-minded approach: My win will make someone else lose. The scarcity mindset plays an important role when we have to fight for our survival.
  • Abundance-oriented approach: There is room for everybody to grow. Doing something meaningful, instead of focussing on a goal, contributes to a happier life overall.

Tying happiness to outcomes

It is not good to tie your happiness to outcomes since that can affect your happiness.

Overcoming some obstacles might pose more obstacles, while other events that we thought would be bad for us might make us grow and learn.

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Benjamin Franklin
“Happiness consists more in small conveniences or pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortun..."
Benjamin Franklin
The happiest countries
Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden are ranked among the top happiest places in the world. 

Their population enjoys a healthy work-life balance, high standards of living with less pressure, less stress, and more time for everything they enjoy and love doing.

"Lagom"

It's part of the Swedish culture. It means “Not too little. Not too much. Just right.

The concept encourages an overarching balance across our lives: everything in moderation.

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Frugality

Frugality means resisting the temptation to spend more than you earn.

Discipline

Self-made millionaires choose moderation over extremes. They often buy used cars, don't live in the most expensive houses and don't try to time the investment market.

Hard Work

A defining characteristic of many millionaires are their willingness to work hard and stick it out in high-paying careers until they are financially independent.

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Turn Small Decisions Into Routines

Decision-making works like a muscle: as you use it over the course of the day, it gets too exhausted to function effectively.

One way to avoid this is to eliminate smaller decisions by t...

Make Big Decisions In The Morning

Save small decisions for after work (when decision fatigue kicks in) and to tackle complex decisions in the morning, when your mind is fresh

A similar strategy is to do some of the smaller things the night before to get a head start on the next day.

Pay Attention To Your Emotions

...and you'll able to look at decisions as objectively and rationally as possible.

Strong decision-makers know that a bad mood can make them lash out or stray from their moral compass just as easily as a good mood can make them overconfident and impulsive.

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