The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything by Neil Pasricha
I encouraged a friend to read this book with me (if you’ve read my previous post Self-Help Doesn’t Help.. Or Does It you know how that conversation went) since I haven’t read it since 2014. I figured it would be a good refresher to re-evaluate my life and see what thoughts would come to mind as I re-read it.
It sounded like my friend had some struggles with knowing what to take away from the book so I emailed questions based on what I was taking away from each chapter. Sort of like a study guide or book discussion guide to answer the questions honestly on her own and take more than 5min to reflect with a self-assessment… since she just read a book about self-assessments and self-help.
The book gave me new insight in 2014 on what drives happiness and led to my reflection of how I could re-balance my life to be happy with what I valued most. Re-reading the book made me realize how many positive differences I made in my life in the past 5 years after implementing a few changes; I have come a long way in certain areas but of course still have some growth in others.
Questions I emailed my friend are below- questions that maybe didn’t come to mind since different pieces always stick out to different readers. Even if you don’t read this book they may be a helpful aid along other self-help books or even on their own. Especially if you’re still making 2019 resolutions or dedicated to working on them!
1. What areas in your life are lacking, disappointing, making you complain often?
Slowly go through all different areas (work, money, personal life, marriage, family, extended family, exercise/health, hobbies/interests, etc)
2. Have you recently reviewed those areas to fully implement changes/improvements? Or do you complain about it but keep going through the same cycles? Did you really put your best all-out effort into making a change?
1. With the triangle of balanced happiness for sales, self, or social- is there a specific area you’re not happy with? Or currently not correctly balancing with the other two? Which area did you choose to focus most on in life and how are you doing with that one?
2. “You do you” – are you actually going after your goals or implementing changes in life? Are you putting effort in to try to be happy in different ways or areas? Are you too concerned with other people or people’s opinions/drama in your life?
Chapter 3 & 4:
1. Remind yourself you are blessed for what you DO have in life or the pieces of the balanced happiness you already have. Actually write down a list of things (don’t just think it) touching on all the areas from the chapter 1 questions that you’re grateful for or give you joy. Visually see how much you have worked for in life to achieve or have currently.
After reviewing the list – go back to the chapter 1 question of things you’re not as happy about and compare with the blessed list. Do you see connections? Are there things that spark new ideas for how to fix the negative things?
2. Spend a day doing “simple blessings” and see if it affects your mood. Walk around the house, touch your things, drive to work, think of an imaginary unfortunate person that desperately dreams of all you have but don’t even notice each day. See if it improves your outlook after a few days of this gratefulness.
3. Enjoy the present by being present and not missing out on your life. Take time each day to do what you day dream about or sit and actually focus on what you’re doing. Don’t run through to-do lists, alternative activities, stresses, nonsense in your mind – practice mindfulness to actually empty your mind.
Focus only on the moment- if you’re visiting your parents close off your mind. Think about things from their perspective at that moment or things you’ve always wanted to ask them, enjoy just sitting in the room with them and hearing their voice or tiny details.
4. What actually motivates you? What makes you get out of bed? Makes you do a good job instead of slacking off in the different areas of life or relationships?
5. What is your 3rd bucket? There is one for sleeping hours, work hours, then “you” hours. Calculate the hours in your 3rd bucket – are you wasting too much times doing cleaning, chores, exercise versus hobbies?
1. Review the buckets- how much can you actually automate or regulate in decision making or everyday chores? Change up your routine somehow to test it. Count how many decisions you make even within two hours like the author did to realize how tired your brain gets and what decisions don’t matter much…but actually physically do the exercise and identify what could be cut out.
1. What regrets do you have (if they haven’t come to mind reading the book already)? Or is there a reason you don’t relax to let yourself be happy? Are you already at what other people define as “happy” and you’re just misnaming it or feeling overly perfectionist?
Admit any regrets to yourself and then imagine if you had made a different decision at the time. Think through everything that would then change – possibly for better or worse as a domino effect. Would changing those regrets affect what you have on your blessings list and other areas of your life??