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Saturday, October 07, 2017

The Magical Happiness Formula.

While in school, we studied numerous formula. Things were easier to analyse and control, when defined by a formula. Knowing a formula tells us what we need to change in one of the inputs to cause an impact on the output. 
Imagine how beautiful our life could be, if Happiness also had a defined formula and if we precisely knew the factors it depended upon.  It will all be so easy and logical if we knew what needs to be changed to increase the Happiness content of our lives. So, here we go. Let's learn the Magical Happiness Formula.

The derivation of the Magical Happiness Formula actually got triggered when one of my readers, Biswajit (name changed) interacted with us and expressed his unhappiness over having to stay away from his family because of the nature of his job. He was sad. Could he be happier? Is there anything good in staying away from one's family? Could he look at the given situation from a different perspective, or rather from the perspective of a formula?

Biswajit's ‘unhappy situation’ arises from his belief that Happiness lies somewhere within his family, or the belief that he will feel happy only when he is able to share things with his family and spends more time with them. While this belief may seem so natural to most people, the fact is that different people are impacted differently by the same situation. 


So, let me try and give you the Happiness formula and allow you to re-think over the entire situation.


Here we go with the Magical Happiness Formula:

Your Happiness = Your Internal Resilience / (divided by) External Pressure Situation

So, essentially, there are two factors controlling your happiness. Let us take them one by one. 
Let us take the second one first.


1/ External Pressure Situation
Your Happiness is inversely proportional to any External Pressure Situation. 
This means that more is the external pressure or worse is the external situation, lesser will be your Happiness. 


Now, let us understand a few things about this factor : 'External Pressure Situation':
1/ This factor always comes from outside you.
2/ It could be in the form of any unwanted situation. It could be seemingly big situations like work pressure, health issues, relationship challenge, death of a closed one, accident, low grades of your child, intense competition, worsening business environment, financial mismanagement - or even relatively smaller situations like missing the bus, reaching office late, stuck in a traffic jam, your favourite side losing the match, unexpected tax deduction, your child not obeying you, a scratch on your car etc. 
3/ You hardly have any control over this factor, especially in the short term. You can only react to it - mostly.

In Biswajit's case, this factor happened to be the lack of his family members being with him - an outside factor, where he hardly had any control. it was impossible for him to tag his family along wherever he travelled. The more was the time he spent away from his family, the worse was the situation, the more was the pressure created by this external factor, and lesser was his happiness content.

In the short term, there is no immediate influence we can exercise on this factor, but we can surely think, plan and strategise our life so as to reduce or even remove the influence of this factor in the long term. As of now, Biswajit cannot quit his job to stay with his family or suddenly change his job overnight to find a job where there are less of travelling assignments. But over the next few years, he can look out for the right job or even plan for his financial freedom - where he is not dependent on his job anymore - the way I did (Read the book : From the Rat Race to Financial Freedom). Yes, that's a long term strategy but that's the only thing which works on this factor. 

2/ Internal Resilience
Your Happiness is directly proportional to the resilience (or resistance) you offer to this external pressure. This resilience can be different for every person. The more resistance you offer to the external pressure situation, the more is your resilience and therefore, more is the happiness content of your life (being directly proportional).

The most important point about the Internal Resilience factor is that this factor is internal to you - which means that you can develop full control over it, and you can influence this factor to ultimately influence your Happiness. You can build your internal resilience with time, much like building your muscles.

Your internal resilience is defined by how you think and act, after knowing the fact that the current external situation is reducing your Happiness.

How can you influence or improve your Resilience:
Since Internal Resilience is all about thinking in a way to offer more resistance to the external pressure situation, let us continue with our dear friend Biswajit, and his situation. Here are a few thoughts which I recommended him - which would have helped him improve his internal resilience:

1) Think about what this job has given you and your family. Has this job given you money to feed your family - a privilege which not everyone has? or to pay your bills? Is your family not better placed today in the society because of your job and the money it brings in? What if you did not have this job?

2) Think how temporary distances can help us value each other in the long run. These distances will surely help you value the positives of each family member - resulting in better and stronger relationships.

3) Think about what gifts you would take for your wife and your children when you go back home.

4) Think about some other surprises that you would want to give them when you go back - like a new hairstyle or a fresh beard.

5) Take some pictures from the place you are in, send them across. Do more regular video chats with them.

6) Read some great books when alone. Become a better, wiser person before you go back and meet them.

7) You have time to get fitter. Work on your body. Surprise them with your fitness.

8) Try out some new places, new dishes around the area where you are staying, and write down your new experiences to your family.

9) Make a surprise visit to them or send them surprise tickets to come and meet you.

... and many more.

Do whatever it takes to improve your resilience. Our mind is very powerful. The more you think on these patterns, the more ideas it will generate to make you feel better - thereby ensuing a chain reaction and improving your resilience even further. This improved internal resilience, given the external pressure situation, is therefore going to increase your happiness content (being directly proportional). 

Why should you improve your Happiness Content?
One may argue with the basic fact that why at all should we work on ourselves and improve our Happiness content at the first place. Well, you ought to do that - not for anyone else, but for yourself. Your own Happiness is the end purpose of your life. There is no purpose bigger than this. All your goals, passions and dreams are linked to your ultimate desire to feel happy.  All your love and care for your family is linked to the fact that your family's happiness gives you happiness. All your social work and the zeal to elevate the world around you stems from the fact that these things make you feel happier. God has sent us on this planet to experience happiness at the maximum and enjoy this beautiful journey of life. Do not get hooked to your end goals. 
The end is the same for all - a happy journey is all that matters.

At the end of the day, Biswajit's happiness is his own responsibility. Having known the Magical Happiness Formula, it is up to Biswajit to see how he can influence both the factors to start improving the Happiness content of his life. It is up to him to change the long term situation as well as to make the best use of his stay away from his family.

Books like Happiness Unlimited go a long way in improving your internal resilience and changing your perspective to look at your life in a different way.

Cheers

Manoj Arora

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