Can happiness be solved like a math equation?

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you know that I’ve been listening to Solve for Happy by Mo Gawdat for the last couple of weeks. Let me start by saying that I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much by listening to an audiobook before.

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Solve for Happy came about from Mo’s own search to be happy when he found that all the things he’d accomplished and acquired so far during his life left him unfulfilled. He began to pursue his personal quest for happiness analytically like the engineer he is. Not as a psychiatrist, or a self-help guru spouting things that he has yet to experience, but as a scientist seeking his own answer. What he found led him to share his findings with his friends, who reported back with similar results. He started to feel that he was finding the answer and began to fine tune it.

A few days, less than a month before he started writing the book, his son told him to never stop working, that his mission wasn’t finished. Seventeen days before he started writing, his son went in for emergency surgery, a routine appendectomy, and did not survive.

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The lure of being perfect

Nothing is harder than anything else. Some things just take more time.
   — Jan Cicle (my first art teacher)

In my last post, I debunked the myth of perfectionism. But why do we struggle to be perfect? Why do we want is so badly?

Artists have a desire for their work to be validated, to have somone tell us they like it. I think everyone wants to know that they are on the correct path in their life. We hate regrets. So, when someone sees a piece of our work and says that it’s beautiful, or even better, wants to spend their hard earned money to own something we’ve done, we score the reward emotionally. Our body releases a chemical that makes us happy. We long for this!

Unfortunatelly, that is an evil that works against us. Our brain marks that moment. We forget about the journey that lead us up to that moment, about the tools we used to make that success, and about the new tools we gained along the way. All that matters now is that chemical moment of joyful satisfaction.

It’s time to remember that our work doesn’t need justification. Just do the work and get it out there. Not only is that the perfect formula for success, but it keeps us walking our path.