The Happiness Equation | Neil Pasricha

Summary of: The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything
By: Neil Pasricha


In Neil Pasricha’s book, ‘The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything’, readers are urged to reassess their understanding of personal happiness. Contrary to the popular belief that success precedes happiness, Pasricha suggests that happiness is the true foundation for success. The book divulges nine secrets, including valuing internal satisfaction over external rewards and maintaining a sense of perspective, that will help readers unlock everyday happiness. By adopting these principles, you’ll be guided on a journey of self-discovery and self-improvement, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling life.

The Two Secrets of Happiness

Happiness shouldn’t be something you chase. Success and great work come from people who are already happy. Internal factors, such as motivation and positivity, account for the majority of personal happiness. One can recognize everyday happiness by journaling at least one thing that made them happy during the day. Doing things because you love them, not because of external goals, is the second secret of happiness. Chasing a happiness that doesn’t last results in an endless cycle of unhappiness. Resolving to only do things for the sheer joy of doing them is the key to lasting happiness.

The Battle of the Brain Hijack

It’s a fact that negative thoughts bombard us despite positive thinking. The cause is traced to a battle between two parts of our brains, the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. The ancient amygdala functions like an alarm, always on high alert, scanning every situation for potential problems and threats. The prefrontal cortex, the newer part of the brain, tries to counter worries with rational thought and logic. But, most times, the amygdala wins, leaving us anxious and miserable. In addition to this, there is another battle raging in our heads: feelings of self-worth versus doubt about how well we measure up to others. When you feel miserable about not owning a new car like your neighbor, focus on what matters: the gift of life. Being alive is like winning some wild cosmic lottery. Consider that out of the roughly 115 billion people born, only roughly seven billion of us are alive today. It’s needless to suffer from negative thoughts and feelings, keep things in perspective and enjoy life.

The Power of Purposeful Living

Retirement is no longer appropriate in today’s society where people can live many healthy and active years after age 65. Being productive and finding purpose, such as the concept of ikigai in Japan, is crucial for happiness and longevity. Studies show that people who have a reason to wake up in the morning report feeling healthier and less stressed, and are more likely to live longer. Therefore, don’t let retirement strip you of your purpose in life and stay productive to keep your ikigai alive.

The Value of Time

The dollar amount on your paycheck does not reflect the true value of your time. A Harvard graduate may earn $120,000 per year, but they work 85 hours per week, while an assistant manager at a retail store earns $70,000 per year but works an average of 50 hours per week, resulting in the same hourly wage. The key to happiness is overvaluing your time and spending it on things that bring you joy, meaning, and purpose. Divide your week into three categories; sleeping, work, and things you love doing. By setting up a structure, you can achieve a healthy work-life balance and make time for what is important.

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