Revealing the secrets of happiness with Dr. Arthur Brooks2 min read

May 16, 2023 2 min read


Revealing the secrets of happiness with Dr. Arthur Brooks2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutesReading Time: 2 minutes

Dr. Arthur Brooks, a social scientist, best-selling author, and Harvard Business School professor, presents a happiness equation to assist us in pursuing happiness, a topic that has been debated for centuries. Brooks argues that happiness is not just about financial planning but also about utilizing our non-financial resources such as time, influence, energy, and relationships. He provided a happiness equation as a tool to help us in our quest for happiness: Happiness = Enjoyment + Satisfaction + Meaning

According to Brooks, enjoyment is not just about pleasure but includes communion and consciousness. It highlights the importance of deliberate connection with others and mindfulness in fully experiencing pleasurable moments: Enjoyment = Pleasure + Communion + Consciousness

Satisfaction is the joy of accomplishing a goal with effort, and it can be fleeting and prone to depreciation. Brooks recommends a “want less” strategy rather than a “have more” approach to achieve satisfaction: Satisfaction = Haves / Wants. Our pursuit of material possessions can lead to fleeting satisfaction due to the brain’s tendency to always want more. But Dr. Brooks even suggests making a list of things we don’t need to be happy, so we can focus on what’s really important.

The expert proposes that meaning in life comes from having coherence, purpose, and significance: Meaning = Coherence + Purpose + Significance. He believes that having faith or a guiding philosophy can give us the perspective we need to find peace in how life unfolds, while having a sense of purpose gives us a feeling that our life matters.

Happiness is often considered an emotional state arising from positive experiences and external circumstances. However, according to experts, including philosopher and psychologist William James, happiness is to a greater extent intellectual work. It requires a deep understanding of oneself and the ability to cultivate positive habits and behaviors. True happiness involves more than just pursuing pleasurable experiences; it requires deliberate effort, self-reflection, and an ongoing commitment to personal growth. By recognizing that happiness is intellectual work, we can approach it as a goal that requires consistent attention and effort, rather than something we stumble upon by chance.