The Key to Happiness is Engineering

One key skill in life is learning how to be happy. The first (and, for many, the hardest) lesson is that: things and people don’t make you happy. Or at least not for long. If you want happiness that lasts you need to learn to manufacture it yourself.

If you’re shrugging that last statement off, then I feel bad for you. You have a lot to learn. We all have a lot to learn about how to create, and maintain, an upbeat state of mind. There are lots of ways to learn this.

  • Religion (pervasive, but organized religions are mostly bureaucratic)
  • Therapy (Often works, but expensive, and hard to find the right person to help)
  • Self-help books (probably too many choices, but if you find the right one and stick with it this can help)

I think that the trick to learning to creating your own happiness isn’t so much finding the right system, as much as it is practicing the moment to moment mindfulness that’s needed to shed the common tendency we all have to quickly find fault with life.

If you need a quick guide to help you get started, though, I think this short blog post by Scott Adams is pretty pithy. After you read Adam’s excellent prescription you still need to practice the regular mindfulness, which really means seeing the positive in life as opposed to the negative. For that I recommend you check out the blog called 1000 Awesome Things.

  • Phil R

    From a little book I keep on my desk with something for each day:

    The present moment is changing so fast that we often do not notice its existence at all. Every moment of mind is like a series of pictures passing though a projector. Some of the pictures come from sense impressions. Others come from memories of past experiences or from fantasies of the future. Mindfulness helps us freeze the frame so that we can become aware of our sensations and experiences as they are, without the distorting coloration of socially conditioned responses or habitual reactions.

    Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, "Eight Mindful Steps To Happiness"