Monday, July 25, 2022

Rules for Living a Happy Life

Image source: Forbes

Harvard Business School Professor Arthur Brooks writes a terrific column for The Atlantic about achieving happiness in life. He also teaches a course on this subject to MBA students, as described in this recent Wall Street Journal article. To celebrate his 100th column this weekend, Brooks highlighted his "three biggest happiness rules."

Maxim 1: Mother Nature doesn’t care if you are happy.

Brooks argues that we are wired to desire and pursue worldly rewards such as power and wealth. However, these materialist pursuits rarely lead to enduring happiness.

Maxim 2: Lasting happiness comes from habits, not hacks.

Books, social media, and television all love to proclaim the value of various "hacks" for increasing our happiness.  While these may provide a short-term boost for us, they also don't tend to lead to substantial and enduring increases in our happiness.  Instead, Brooks argues we should focus on cultivating good habits, rather than chasing the latest popular hacks.  

Maxim 3:  Happiness is love.

Brooks writes, "Research on people who wind up happy (and healthy) as they grow old shows that the most important part of life to cultivate is a series of stable, long-term love relationships...Here’s a handy formula to go by: Happy people love people and use things; unhappy people use people and love things."

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