7 Life Secrets From “The Happiness Equation”

The Happiness Equation Summary

👇 The Happiness Equation video summary 👇

What’s the story of The Happiness Equation?

The Happiness Equation (2016) unlocks nine essential secrets to living a happy life. These are guidelines that can help anyone reap the rewards that come with having a positive outlook on life.

Happiness isn’t just about reducing stress and anxiety; it’s about paving the way to great work and success.

Who’s the author of The Happiness Equation?

Neil Pasricha, a New York Times best-selling author, is an entrepreneur, public speaker and advisor. He is also the creator of the popular blog 1,000 Awesome Things and its accompanying publication, The Book of Awesome.

Who’s The Happiness Equation summary for?

Anyone fascinated by the dynamics of mindfulness and happiness. 

And for those wishing to learn how to maximize their power to their greatest benefit.

Why read The Happiness Equation summary?

Discover the secrets to becoming a happier person. Take a moment to rate your current life satisfaction on a scale from one to ten. If you find yourself below a seven or eight, you’re in the right place.

Contrary to popular belief, happiness is not elusive; it’s an achievable state. And the good news is, it’s not as complicated as you might imagine.

You don’t need lavish yoga retreats, global travels, or a mountain of wealth to feel genuinely content. All it takes are the nine secrets we’re about to explore in this summary.

In this summary, you’ll learn:

– That you’re already a winner in life’s lottery
– The intriguing aspect of the human brain that actively seeks out problems
– Why retirement might not be the idyllic phase it’s often portrayed to be

The Happiness Equation Lessons

1️⃣ Be happy for being able to do things in the first placeCultivate gratitude for your abilities and accomplishments. Reflect on what you can do and appreciate the opportunities you have.
2️⃣ You’re already lucky to be aliveAcknowledge the privilege of life and focus on the positive aspects. Embrace the opportunities and experiences that come your way.
3️⃣ Don’t wait for retirement to be happyFind joy in the present moment. Pursue activities and interests that bring you happiness now, rather than deferring it to the future.
4️⃣ Your time is more important than your paycheckEvaluate how you spend your time. Prioritize activities that align with your values and bring you joy. Recognize the value of time over solely focusing on monetary gains.
5️⃣ Cut unnecessary choicesSimplify your life by minimizing non-essential decisions. Focus on what truly matters to reduce stress and save time for meaningful pursuits.
6️⃣ Do what you love even if you’re afraidOvercome fear by imagining positive outcomes. Take steps to pursue your passions, embracing the potential for personal growth and fulfillment.
7️⃣ Trust yourself (not others)Listen to your inner thoughts and feelings. Make decisions based on your values and desires rather than solely relying on external advice. Trust in your ability to navigate your own path to happiness.

1️⃣ Be happy for being able to do things in the first place

The road to happiness begins with starting from a place of joy and engaging in activities because you genuinely enjoy them.

Contrary to what many may have been taught, the idea that happiness follows significant achievements is a common misconception that often leads to unhappiness. The truth is that success and great work are outcomes of people who are already happy.

So, the first secret to happiness is recognizing that joy shouldn’t be a distant pursuit; it should be the starting point. Only 10 percent of personal happiness is influenced by external factors like a job promotion or salary increase.

The remaining 90 percent stems from an internal perspective and how you perceive the world around you.

A practical approach to identifying and appreciating everyday happiness is the “20-Minute Replay” before bedtime.

By keeping a daily journal and noting at least one thing that brought happiness during the day, you not only become more attuned to moments of joy but also get to relive and savor them at day’s end.

Moving on to the second secret of happiness: motivation. The key here is to do things because you love doing them, not merely for external goals, rewards, or others’ opinions.

When your motivation revolves around money or admiration, it sets off a never-ending cycle of dissatisfaction. Even if you achieve a goal, the happiness it brings is fleeting, leaving you compelled to set another goal.

Drawing from personal experience, the author initiated his blog, “1000 Awesome Things,” out of sheer joy in writing and the satisfaction of sharing one happy detail for a thousand workdays.

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However, popularity led to goal-setting, from visitor targets to bestseller aspirations, creating a perpetual pursuit of happiness that proved elusive.

The crucial realization was to engage in activities purely for the joy they bring, breaking free from the cycle of chasing an ephemeral happiness.


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2️⃣ You’re already lucky to be alive

Achieving happiness involves overcoming two internal conflicts, but the simple fact of being alive grants you the ticket to happiness.

Negative thoughts are an inevitable part of life, regardless of how positive your outlook may be. These thoughts trigger a battle within your mind, a clash between two components: the ancient amygdala and the more recently developed prefrontal cortex.

The amygdala, a primal part of the brain, remains on high alert, scanning every situation for potential threats. Its origins lie in the survival instincts of our ancestors, who were constantly vigilant for dangers like saber-toothed tigers.

Although circumstances have changed, the amygdala continues its vigilance, sometimes setting off alarms for situations like a routine presentation.

In contrast, the prefrontal cortex, a more recent development, attempts to counter these worries with rational thought and logic. However, the amygdala often prevails, leaving us in a state of anxiety and unhappiness.

Adding to this internal struggle is the constant conflict between feelings of self-worth and doubts about how we measure up to others. A glance at your neighbor’s new car may suddenly lead to feelings of inadequacy about your own life.

While it may not always be possible to calm the amygdala, especially in high-pressure situations, there are effective ways to manage envy and discontent. This brings us to the third secret: putting things in the right perspective. Don’t forget the incredible luck of being alive in the first place.

Consider the astounding conditions that led to human life on Earth and the remarkable fact that you’re engaged with these lessons right now.

Reflect on the statistical rarity of being alive among the 108 billion people who have ever lived. It’s akin to winning a cosmic lottery, emphasizing the significance of the gift of life.


3️⃣ Don’t wait for retirement to be happy

Contrary to common beliefs, retirement doesn’t guarantee happiness; staying purposefully active is the key.

Are you eagerly anticipating retirement, envisioning a life of relaxation and reaping the rewards of your hard work? Well, if you want to ensure lasting happiness and health, the surprising answer is a resounding “No!”

The concept of retirement, first introduced by the Germans in 1889, aimed to open job opportunities for the younger generation while allowing those over 65 to enjoy their remaining years.

While noble in its origin, this notion is outdated. In 1889, the average lifespan was 67 years. Today, individuals at that age may still have decades of vibrant, active living ahead.

Research indicates that healthy individuals desire to remain productive. Mid-twentieth-century surveys revealed that 50 to 60 percent of people over 65 preferred postponing retirement to continue working.

This inclination towards productivity isn’t just about earning a living; it provides a sense of purpose, a reason to get out of bed every morning – a crucial factor for happiness.

Okinawans, known for having the highest life expectancy on Earth, exemplify this idea. Unlike the concept of retirement, they have “ikigai,” translating to “the reason you wake up in the morning.”

Recognizing its significance for longevity and quality of life, researchers at Tohoku University studied the impact of ikigai on 43,000 individuals over seven years.

The results were striking: those with a sense of purpose reported feeling healthier and less stressed. By the study’s end, 95 percent of those with ikigai were still alive, compared to 83 percent without.

So, resist the notion that retirement is the key to happiness. Instead, embrace the fourth secret: stay productive and keep your ikigai alive for a fulfilling and purposeful life.

4️⃣ Your time is important than your paycheck

How you spend your time holds more significance than the figure on your paycheck.

While a substantial paycheck is undoubtedly gratifying, it doesn’t tell the whole story of your overall well-being.

Consider this: a Harvard graduate may earn an impressive $120,000 annually, but working 85 hours per week with only two weeks of vacation translates to 4,250 hours of work each year. In reality, that amounts to just $28 per hour.

Now, let’s contrast this with an assistant manager of a retail store earning $70,000 yearly. Despite the same two weeks of vacation, her 50-hour workweek results in 2,500 hours annually, also equating to $28 per hour.

The question arises: What holds more value for you – the number on your paycheck or the time you sacrifice by working instead of engaging in activities that bring you joy?

Recognizing the precious nature of time, the fifth secret to happiness emphasizes overvaluing your time. This entails being mindful of how you spend your time and reconsidering its worth when not invested in activities that bring joy, meaning, and purpose.

If time management proves challenging, consider structuring your week into three distinct categories: “Sleeping,” “Work,” and “Things I Love Doing.” By evenly dividing the 168 hours in a week among these categories, you’ll allocate 56 hours for each, fostering a well-rested and balanced life.

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This stands in contrast to the demanding 85-hour workweeks experienced by some Harvard graduates, leaving little time for anything beyond work.

In the upcoming lesson, we’ll delve into how to create space in your day for the things that truly matter.

Moving on.

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5️⃣ Cut unnecessary choices

To alleviate stress and make room for what truly matters, simplify your choices and create space in your life.

The daily barrage of decisions can be overwhelming and stress-inducing. Even seemingly trivial choices, such as when to check the mailbox, contribute to decision fatigue. The author discovered that he made 285 decisions in a day, with many of them being inconsequential.

Every decision demands mental energy, resulting in a degree of stress. However, this stress can be reduced, and productivity increased by minimizing choices. Benjamin Lee, the author’s former colleague, embraced this concept.

He simplifies his life by shopping for clothes only once a year, purchasing 30 identical boxer shorts, 30 pairs of socks, 15 shirts, and five pairs of black pants. This deliberate choice not only streamlines his wardrobe but also reduces the mental load associated with deciding what to wear.

According to his calculations, this decision-making reduction saves him 15 minutes daily, accumulating to an entire week saved each year.

Creating space in your life involves focusing on what truly brings you joy, marking the essence of the sixth secret to happiness.

Additionally, you can reclaim time by reevaluating your deadlines creatively. Parkinson’s Law, proposed by C. Northcote Parkinson in 1955, suggests that work expands to fit the time allowed.

By setting artificial deadlines, like completing a writing assignment in one week instead of three, you eliminate procrastination and often maintain or improve the quality of your work.

Embracing simplicity, reducing choices, and creatively managing deadlines are valuable strategies to find more time for what truly matters in your life.


6️⃣ Do what you love even if you’re afraid

When was the last time you crossed something off your bucket list? If it’s been a while, consider what might be holding you back.

Surprisingly, it’s often not a lack of resources or money; we tend to construct our own barriers, tricking ourselves into avoiding activities that could bring us happiness.

Two common barriers that hinder our pursuit of happiness are the “Can’t Do” and “Don’t Want To” barriers.

The belief that you can’t do something is a powerful deterrent, preventing you from even attempting it. The author, for instance, thought he couldn’t swim due to a childhood bad experience. This negative belief had rooted in his mind, hindering any attempts to learn.

Another mental trick is convincing yourself that you don’t want to do something, creating a second barrier that often follows the first.

The author, initially averse to swimming, found himself concocting reasons to avoid it, labeling it as a waste of time or dismissing it in favor of alternative forms of exercise.

However, these self-imposed thoughts limit your experiences and hinder your path to joy. The good news is that you have the power to dismantle these barriers – the seventh secret to happiness.

Although it might be challenging to envision yourself doing something unfamiliar and intimidating, using your imagination to picture it is a crucial step in overcoming fear. By mentally rehearsing and visualizing yourself engaging in the activity, your brain begins to adapt to the idea.

The next crucial step is to take action. When the author met his wife, who loved swimming, he decided to confront his fear. Setting aside excuses, he enrolled in swimming lessons and never looked back.

Surprisingly, once he immersed himself in the water, his mindset shifted, and a new belief emerged: he could swim. In no time, he discovered that he actually wanted to swim, breaking through both the “Can’t Do” and “Don’t Want To” barriers.


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7️⃣ Trust yourself (not others)

Embrace authenticity and trust your own feelings, avoiding reliance on the advice of others.

If you’ve ever attempted to be amicable with someone displaying rudeness, you’ve likely experienced the discomfort that arises from not honoring your true emotions. This leads us to the eighth secret of happiness: be yourself!

The most crucial relationship in life is not with anyone else but with yourself. Unfortunately, many people overlook this relationship, conforming to societal expectations or pursuing actions inconsistent with their true selves to earn respect or advance their careers.

To enhance this relationship and embrace authenticity, consider the Saturday morning test. Ask yourself, “What would you like to do on a Saturday morning, free from obligations?”

Whether it’s going to the gym or engaging in creative pursuits like writing, align your activities with your true self. Embracing more Saturday-morning activities correlates with increased happiness.

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Finally, the ninth secret to happiness is to trust your own thoughts and feelings, steering clear of excessive reliance on the advice of others. Every day, various sources provide guidance on living and finding happiness, often with conflicting perspectives.

Even clichés can offer contradictory advice. When faced with differing opinions, particularly in challenging situations like marital infidelity, trust in your own understanding of your hopes and desires.

To find true happiness, it’s vital to avoid complete dependence on external advice, turning inward to discern what you genuinely want and trusting your feelings.

The Happiness Equation Review

True happiness is not found in the pursuit of external achievements or possessions but rather in adopting the right mindset and cultivating healthy habits.

The key to a fulfilling life lies in recognizing that you already possess everything you need. By engaging in activities you love, being authentic, and embracing your true self, you can unlock genuine happiness and live life to its fullest.

Take on a seven-day challenge. If you resonate with a particular practice mentioned in the book, commit to following it for seven consecutive days.

Keep a record of your progress on a calendar. The seven-day commitment not only allows you to experience the impact of the practice but also builds confidence that you can continue it for another week, forming a positive habit over time.

The Happiness Equation Quotes

Neil Pasricha Quotes
“Start doing something, you’ll continue… motivation doesn’t cause action. Action causes motivation.”
“Don’t take advice, The answers are all inside you, Think deep and decide what’s best, Go forth and be happy, And don’t take advice.”
“Greek philosopher Epictetus says, ‘Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.'”
“I am convinced that life is 10% what happens and 90% how I react to it.”
“A famous Persian proverb… ‘I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.'”
“There is nothing more satisfying than being loved for who you are and nothing more painful than being loved for who you’re not but pretending to be.”
“Thomas Jefferson said, ‘Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any.'”
“Dale Carnegie said, ‘Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours.'”
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
“Just keep learning, keep changing and keep growing and promise me that you will never retire.”
“Wherever you are, it is your own friends who make your world.”
“Teddy Roosevelt said, ‘The best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.'”
“Because motivation doesn’t cause action. Action causes motivation.”
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me…”
“It’s weird not to be weird.”
“The American Psychosomatic Society published a study showing how Michael Babyak and a team of doctors found that three thirty-minute brisk walks or jogs even improve recovery from clinical depression. Yes, clinical depression.”
“Rule #1: If Checking Account > $1,000, Move All $ over $1,000 into Investing Account. Rule #2: If Investing Account > $1,000, Move All $ over $1,000 into Investments. Rule #3: Never Break Rule #1 or Rule #2.”
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Do it now!

This phrase is the great self-starter, the reminder you need whenever you feel procrastination is creeping up on you. (And, if procrastination is moving fast enough to find you, you’re already at a standstill.)

There are always things that need doing. If you are in the grip of laziness, turn to the first thing you see and set to work.

It doesn’t matter what it is; what’s important is that you break the habit of doing nothing.

On the other hand, if you’re avoiding a specific chore, then that’s the one you need to start acting on right away.

Otherwise, that job will continue to grow in your mind as something that is too unpleasant to do.

If you make “Do it now!” a habit, you will have mastered the essence of personal initiative.

— Napoleon Hill
Napoleon Hill's Philosophy of Success
Napoleon Hill’s Philosophy of Success
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