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How do you find what makes you happy?

 
 
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 08:23 pm
So, I read The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss a few months ago, which I enjoyed and have been trying to incorporate into my life.

In this book he mentions that a person's source of income should mainly be used to finance whatever it is that makes the person happy. Makes sense right?

Here's my problem, I am really having a hard time finding what really makes me happy. I've been trying to ask myself, "If money were no object, what would I do with my time?" and questions like that, but I can't think of anything that I 'know' I'd enjoy doing.

The closest I've come is that I enjoy trying out new things and going on new adventures, but I'm not sure if that's going to be enough to keep me motivated to succeed.

I'm worried about getting stuck in a rut, and feeling that I've achieved enough, and losing my drive.


I don't know, just thinking out loud I guess.
 
hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 08:32 pm
humans are horrible at predicting what will make us happy. Also, the vast majority are not in touch with themselves enough to know when they are happy or what has caused the happiness. The first step is to work on yourself, this normally being a spiritual journey where you learn who and what you are. Once that is done you experiment, you do more of the stuff that seems to make you happy and less of the stuff that does not.....at some point you will figure out the answer.

0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 08:40 pm
@maporsche,
maporsche wrote:
In this book he mentions that a person's source of income should mainly be used to finance whatever it is that makes the person happy. Makes sense right?


It makes sense if you're a "work to live" person. If you're a "live to work" person it makes no sense.

Some people love what they do for their income more than they love anything outside of work. I've got a friend like that. She would rather be at work than anywhere else.

Gotta be careful with the guidebooks/self-help books. They're not one-size-fits-all. They fit the author perfectly, and some other people to some degree.

I was on a Barbara Sher bender some years ago. Decided she was the be-all and end-all of gurus helping people figure out what "they really wanted to do". Went to a seminar through a work gig. Ended up making a totally crazy life decision as a result of a slight misunderstanding her Wishcraft approach and way too much enthusiasm for her system.
kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 11:48 pm
you follow your bliss.

Quote:
"Follow Your Bliss!" Those three little words by the great mythologist Joseph Campbell teach a profound lesson in tapping the energy that makes you tick. But how to begin? Start using the Follow Your Bliss Compass to put yourself on the right track. You'll soon start becoming mindful of the blissful energy within you and will begin using it to make empowering changes in your life. Following your bliss is always a real adventure"a journey into the uncharted center of yourself.


http://www.oneletterwords.com/bliss/

0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 01:41 am
@maporsche,
Quote:
....In this book he mentions that a person's source of income should mainly be used to finance whatever it is that makes the person happy. Makes sense right?

Here's my problem, I am really having a hard time finding what really makes me happy. I've been trying to ask myself, "If money were no object, what would I do with my time?" and questions like that, but I can't think of anything that I 'know' I'd enjoy doing.


Sometimes what makes a person "happy" has absolutely nothing to do with spending money. Mostly, I'd say, but everyone is different. It depends, too, on what you mean when you talk about you feeling happy. To me, "happiness" means a feeling of peace within myself, or an absence of angst, if you like. Some days I just wake up feeling that way, for absolutely no good reason! I've learned to treasure those days, as transitory as they are.
saab
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 04:44 am
@maporsche,
My first question would be if you are in a period of your life where you feel pessimistic or slightly depressed?
First I would say write a list with things which don´t make you unhappy.
You will find a lot of things.
Then write down things which neither make you happy nor unhappy.
Write down things which you are content with.
What could make you happy? What can you and what can´t you change in your life? Forget about the unchangeable things and concentrate on the rest.
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 05:10 am
@saab,
This is an interesting question. I used to think that money would make us happy...if we just had enough, then we would be great. But even when we started making more, it seemed we missed the point, things didn't really change. I finally figured that my passion is my children and my husband. They make me happy. Taking care of my house - going out with girlfriends, taking my elderly friend to the Dr., there is a sense of true accomplishment in each one of these things. I believe even if we made less money than we do now that these things would still make me happy, on a tighter budget. Wink

But with the things I love also comes a heavy sense of responsibility. But I think one doesn't come without the other...I have to think about that. Can I find something that makes me happy that does not also carry with it a responsibility?

In a few years when my boys are grown, these things may all shift. A different pattern of living may emerge and I will have to find contentment and happiness with that.

I agree with Beth that it is different for all people. Finding your philosophy in life - what gives it true meaning, is the hard part. Once you have found it, you just have to stick with it and make it your priority. Once you have done that - it seems the rest falls in to place. This may be too simplistic. I am going to mull it over a bit.
saab
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 05:56 am
@mismi,
Money does not make us happy - no money makes us unhappy. Enough and a plus at the end of the month makes us content.
It should be natural to be happy with the family - but no one is always happy with the family - you have quarrels with parents, husband and children, that is part of life and sometimes even makes living with these people better.
Taking care of my house does not make me happy - mostly I am very relieved when I have finished a good job. But I am very content with our house and the life we lead.
There are a lot of things I love to do which carry no responsibility at all.
I love when I can read and nobody disturbs me.
I love to wake up early in the morning all rested and just be able to hang around reading the paper and having breakfast.
I am very happy I was born with a "forgetable natur". As a rule I forget the bad things and remember the good sides of life and accept what I can´t change and just go ahead with the next project.
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 06:38 am
@saab,
That is good Saab...I see what you are saying.

It is different for everybody. I guess there is no concrete equation to what makes one happy. It is a matter of trial and error. It does seem the things that make me happiest do carry a bit of responsibility though.

I think I need things to mean something. To count for more than just right now. Still thinking it through.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 06:55 am
@ehBeth,
Yep, so agree with Beth re: self-help books.

I've been very interested in the study of happiness -- Daniel Gilbert is a major person in the field, he wrote "Stumbling on Happiness," which I recommend not so much as self-help, more just a good read (with some interesting insights).

My own impressions from all the stuff I've read is that some of the ways to achieve happiness (with all of the one-size-does-not-fit-all caveats) are:

- Exercise regularly.
- Have a robust social network (good friends and friendly acquaintances) whom you see often.
- Have enough money for the necessities (food, shelter, clothing, medicine) -- not having enough causes unhappiness, but beyond that money doesn't make a huge difference (millionaires aren't more happy than people who make $100,000/ year).
- Do things that garner thanks. One of the more striking things I remember reading is that one of the single best ways to achieve happiness is to be told "thank you" by someone who means it. Altruism seems to be hardwired, and we get rewards when we do it.
- Engage in "flow" experiences. More about flow here:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-19970701-000042.html
- Don't expect that something that makes you happy once will make you happy forever. Novelty is something else that seems to be hardwired. An interesting recent study -- people actually think that TV shows with ads are better (the TV show itself) than TV shows that they watch continuously, with no ads. The theory was that the pause in enjoyment made it more enjoyable once the TV show resumed.
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 06:57 am
@sozobe,
These make great sense to me Soz...think I will be looking up that book. Needing a new read right now!
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 07:05 am
@mismi,
Of course I do not avoid responsibilities - otherwise I would lead a very selfish and egocentric life.
I just see them as part of life and often just as plain fun. Often when I plan something for teaching I find it just plain fun and forget it is a responsibility that I have.
saab
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 07:19 am
@saab,

That book would not fit me at all.

Exercise regularly.
I don´t like exercise like fitness studios or jogging - I am always moving around doing things - I prefer to go down to the ocean, watch it and listen to the sound the ocean makes or sit in the garden and listen to the birds and watch what is going on.
- Have a robust social network
I do, but I know several people who prefer to be on their own.

- Do things that garner thanks.
I do things because I like to - even if I don´t get thanks.
- Engage in "flow" experiences.
Sounds a bit too weird for me.
- Don't expect that something that makes you happy once will make you happy forever.
That everybody should know.
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 07:27 am
@saab,
That's not all from the book btw, it's from various sources.

It sounds like you DO exercise regularly. "Exercise" doesn't only mean "go to the gym." It means moving around doing things, or going down to the ocean...

A robust social network is really one of the more universal ones. There are exceptions, of course. But it's pretty reliable. One example -- many people think that moving to the suburbs or exurbs and living in a big giant house on a lot of land and with big fences will make them happy. However, the social isolation in those houses turned out to be a major problem.

Oh, and a long commute is one of the more reliable ways to be UNhappy.

When you get thanks, do you like that? Even if it's not the reason you did something, do you not feel happy when someone DOES thank you? (I do.)

Flow isn't actually that weird. It's basically just about finding something that is sufficiently challenging -- not so easy as to be boring, not so hard as to be frustrating.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 07:50 am
@maporsche,
maporsche wrote:

So, I read The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss a few months ago, which I enjoyed and have been trying to incorporate into my life.

In this book he mentions that a person's source of income should mainly be used to finance whatever it is that makes the person happy. Makes sense right?

Here's my problem, I am really having a hard time finding what really makes me happy. I've been trying to ask myself, "If money were no object, what would I do with my time?" and questions like that, but I can't think of anything that I 'know' I'd enjoy doing.

The closest I've come is that I enjoy trying out new things and going on new adventures, but I'm not sure if that's going to be enough to keep me motivated to succeed.

I'm worried about getting stuck in a rut, and feeling that I've achieved enough, and losing my drive.


I don't know, just thinking out loud I guess.

R u anhedonic ?
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 07:53 am
@sozobe,
Interesting Soz.

Happiness studies have lots of interesting nuggets, don't they?
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 07:57 am
@dlowan,
They so do. I'm interested in how brains work (weird, weird, fascinating thingies) overall, and happiness studies are an interesting subset of that.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 08:06 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
Quote:
They so do. I'm interested in how brains work
(weird, weird, fascinating thingies) overall,

Dr. Miles Storfer is forever holding forth on that subject
at conventions of Mensa; perhaps u 'd be interested in his works.
However, he is a pure materialist.
I am somewhat skeptical that the mind is necessarily confined to the brain
and nervous system.



Quote:
and happiness studies are an interesting subset of that.

Have u encountered any more of them,
in addition to "The Futile Pursuit of Happiness" By JON GERTNER ?
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 08:09 am
@OmSigDAVID,
No, I've been happy before, and I'm not really un-happy now. I just have this feeling that I need to do/experience more. I'm in sort of a malaise and I feel direction-less.

It's probably because I'm turning 30 this year.


I'll read/respond to other posts later; thanks guys.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 08:11 am
@OmSigDAVID,
I'm finding 'em all the time... I don't think I'd be able to link to all of them. I can probably find the TV study if you'd like.

Meanwhile, hadn't gotten to the Tuesday "Science Times" (NYT) until now, just opened it et voila:

What Are Friends For? A Longer Life

Quote:
“In general, the role of friendship in our lives isn’t terribly well appreciated,” said Rebecca G. Adams, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. “There is just scads of stuff on families and marriage, but very little on friendship. It baffles me. Friendship has a bigger impact on our psychological well-being than family relationships.”
 

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