ifindkarma. elegance is refusal.

June 23, 2010

Eleven Essential Reflections On Happiness…



That may have been the sweetest ending of a World Cup game I have ever watched.

You can watch the highlights on your favorite Interweb site, but they won’t really give you the feeling of 90 minutes of tense, do-or-die buildup , culminating in a super charged score in the final minute that propelled Team USA from elimination into first place in their group!

****** I am “Snoopy Dance happy” !!! ******

But I realize this is a temporary happiness that comes from adrenaline and other juices pumping through my headmeats. Soon that rush will subside, and I will go back to reflecting my baseline happiness.

Simply put, happiness is the way.

And happiness comes from within.

Which brings us back to one of the main characteristics that defines being and becoming and the gap in between them: HAPPINESS.

Note that we are not talking about absence of pain; we’re talking presence of happiness.

A hundred days ago I created this ifindkarma posterous because bakadesuyo inspired me with his. I love to read what he writes, and in particular I love when he reflects about subjects such as happiness.

If I had to distill all of bakadesuyo’s happiness musings into essential reflections, here are the key takeaways I’ve internalized… so far

10. Happiness is increased by how much you make and lowered by how much you want.
9. Happiness is a feedback loop, not just internally but also through others.
8. So be careful who you choose as spouse, friends, and neighbors.
7. Relative wealth is more important than actual wealth when it comes to how happy you are.
6. Giving makes us happier than receiving. Outcomes trump incomes in making us happy.
5. Happy people tend to love their jobs; jobs do not, by themselves, make people happy.
4. We’re bad at realizing how good we are at adapting to circumstances.
3. When distilled to its essence, happiness is a simple process.
2. To be happy, focus on what you have, and not on what you don’t.
1. There are still many unanswered questions when it comes to happiness.

Which brings me back to me. If I had to distill all of my happiness musings into eleven essential reflections, here are the key takeaways I’ve externalized… so far

11. Read these musings, especially the one you’re reading right now. Reflect! Repeat!!! 🙂
10. There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.
9. People are very bad at predicting what will make them happy.
8. Our attitudes produce our luck.
7. Most success comes from being present.
6. Reflection helps us be here now.
5. There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.
4. There are shortcuts to happiness, and breathing is one of them.
3. Happiness is interconnected to all things.
2. Happiness comes from what we want to include, not from what we want to avoid.
1. When it comes to happiness, lessons are repeated until they are learned.

And if all else fails, take a step back, breathe, think about a kitten wearing a tiny hat eating a tiny ice cream cone, and regroup. For tomorrow is another day, and we cannot waste today’s time cluttering up tomorrow’s opportunities with yesterday’s troubles.

Kitten. Tiny hat. Tiny ice cream cone. NOW!!!

Raindrops on roses and tiny hats on kittens aside, I want to take a moment or two to thank Jennifer Aaker and Gretchen Rubin and Tony Hsieh and Niki Leondakis and Caterina Fake for driving me to keep reflecting on happiness as I walk the earth. The tension between being and becoming has become more than an avocation for me… it’s something I’d love to work into my vocation, someday, someway. It is love incarnate.

Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

To empower other people to find their own happiness, to me, is tantamount to enabling the childhood dreams of others.

There is no greater job than enabling the childhood dreams of others.

Read. Reflect. Repeat.

We conclude this tapestry with a trinity of TED talks that reflect on happiness: Tony Robbins on why we do what we do (emotion!) and how we can do it better (focus!); Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice; and Dan Gilbert on why we are or are not happy:

(Cc: @Bakadesuyo @Aaker @GretchenRubin @Zappos @Niki_Leondakis @Caterina) 🙂 🙂 🙂


  1. I have found in my 43 years that number 9 is quite true. I am not often good at predicting what will make me happy. I thought I wanted a certain job and I wanted my marriage to last forever. Neither of those things happened, yet I am happier than ever. Check out my post on this called "Happiness is an Inside Job." http://www.postcardsfromapeacefuldivorce.com/?p=186

    Comment by Anonymous — July 2, 2010 @ 2:20 am

  2. Molly, I love your post! Thank you for sharing.

    Comment by Anonymous — July 11, 2010 @ 10:12 pm

  3. About >2. To be happy, focus on what you have, and not on what you don’t.The linked article seemed to indicate the reverse or did I get it wrong…

    Comment by amitc — September 3, 2010 @ 10:06 pm

  4. You got it right.Focus on something positive you have had, not something positive you have. I should reword to reflect that.Bonus: here are five lessons on how to treat people… http://itstimtime.tumblr.com/post/1331369369/five-lessons-on-how-to-treat-people

    Comment by Anonymous — October 17, 2010 @ 9:08 pm

  5. Great summary, Adam (love bakadesuyo too). If you want to take the red pill, I recommend PJ Eby, e.g. http://dirtsimple.org/2005/12/island-within.html

    Comment by royrod — February 13, 2011 @ 2:15 am

  6. Thanks Royrod, I like.See also: 10 Tips for Happiness:http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2008/11/tips-ten-tips-f.html

    Comment by Anonymous — February 22, 2011 @ 8:52 pm

  7. This used to be a top ten list but now it goes to 11.http://ifindkarma.posterous.com/it-goes-to-11

    Comment by Anonymous — August 12, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

  8. This is an excellent presentation on happiness by Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman. In it, he draws an insightful distinction: there may be two very different types of happiness.The first is being happy in your life. It is happiness that we experience immediately and in the moment.The second is being happy about your life. It is the happiness that exists in memory when we talk about the past and the big picture.We can enjoy nine-tenths of something blissfully in the moment, yet a lousy ending can bias us and ruin the memory forever.http://www.bakadesuyo.com/are-there-two-types-of-happiness

    Comment by Anonymous — August 12, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

  9. 10 things you need to know to be happier:http://www.bakadesuyo.com/10-things-you-need-to-know-to-be-happier

    Comment by Anonymous — September 12, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

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