How to be happy

version of this essay was published as part of my monthly newsletter several weeks back. Find other archives and join here to get updates like this first.

I spent a lot of time living in Tokyo 15 years ago on my bicycle, riding to this park or that garden with one or another book on Eastern philosophy or Asian history. Two concepts I learned about happiness have endured.

One is from a famous passage attributed to ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. He’s translated as writing: “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

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The Happiness Equation

Develop your internal motivation. Focus. Be kind. Ignore the rest.

I read Neil Pasricha’s 2016 book The Happiness Equation as part of a pandemic-fatigue powered period of self-discovery. It certainly has its gimmicks and many of the concepts felt familiar to me. Still, I did appreciate the book and came away refocused on returning to being a happier person during such a tumultuous time.

Below I share a few of my notes from reading the book, though I recommend you buy a copy yourself.

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