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The Path to Happiness: Do What You Love, Not What You Like

Optimizing for happiness

A route to greater happiness, for both day-to-day enjoyment and long-term fulfillment with who you are and where you are in life means: doing more of the things you love and cutting back on the things you merely like.

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The Path to Happiness: Do What You Love, Not What You Like

The Path to Happiness: Do What You Love, Not What You Like

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2018/11/28/happiness-love-not-like/

scotthyoung.com

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Key Ideas

Optimizing for happiness

A route to greater happiness, for both day-to-day enjoyment and long-term fulfillment with who you are and where you are in life means: doing more of the things you love and cutting back on the things you merely like.

Doing what you love is largely a choice

And it's almost completely under your control. You can't fully avoid the things you have to do. But you can make adjustments to the things you slightly like or reduce guilt from the things you feel you should do.

To do what you love, you have to have:

  • Courage: the shoulds and socially-acceptable activities you merely like, often are the default, and doing what you love automatically makes you a little weird.
  • Discipline: our society is full of addictive behavioral loops that hijack our impulses, without providing deep satisfaction. 

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Happiness can’t be a goal in itself. Therefore, it’s not something that’s achievable.

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” - Ralph Waldo Emerso...

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happiness is merely a byproduct of usefulness. You don’t have to change the world or anything. Just make it a little bit better than you were born. When you do little useful things every day, it adds ...

Happiness is merely a byproduct of usefulness. You don’t have to change the world or anything. Just make it a little bit better than you were born. When you do little useful things every day, it adds up to a life that is well lived. A life that mattered.

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Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

"Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking."

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt

"Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give."

How to brighten your day
  1. Reflect on what you appreciate and love about your partner, friend, or family member.
  2. Express your appreciation to them.
  3. Take the time to see how you can help someone out.
  4. Slow down for 3 minutes. Let your thoughts and body also slow down while you pay attention to life around you.
  5. Smile towards the people you meet.
  6. Make someone else happy. Give him or her a gift of some kind.
  7. Take fewer things for granted, like your food, the weather, or small gestures. It will inspire and motivate you.
  8. Take action and create the day you wish to have.
  9. Say yes to something new.
  10. Say no to a should that isn't that important.
  11. Take a 2-minute laugh-break.
  12. Do what you deep down think is the right thing.
  13. Stand still for a minute, close your eyes and just enjoy the sun.
Doing what you love is complicated

As kids, playing was described as fun while work was pretty much defined as not-fun. In school, it was implied that work was monotonous because it was in preparation for grownup work. Grownups a...

Bounds

Keep in mind this question: How much are you supposed to enjoy what you do? If you underestimate your answer, you'll tend to stop searching too early.

Liking your work does not mean doing what makes you happiest in this second, but what will make you most satisfied over a more extended period, like a week or a month. Your work should be your favorite thing to do. It should be something you admire.

What you should not do
  • Don't worry about the opinion of anyone beyond your friends.
  • Don't worry about prestige. Prestige is the opinion of the rest of the world. If you do anything well enough, you'll make it prestigious.
  • Don't be led astray by money, especially when money is combined with prestige.

A test of whether you love what you do is if you would do it even if you weren't paid for it. (Even if you had to work at another job to make a living.)

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