Happiness Formula

August 6, 2010 at 10:02 am (By Randy)

:) = Health + Money + Social Life + Meaning


(As outlined by Dilbert creator Scott Adams)


  1. amba (Annie Gottlieb) said,

    Scott Adams says health, then money, are more important than social life and meaning.

    Those may be his priorities. But there are people who are sick and happy, poor(ish) and happy. Alone and happy? Even that.

    If you have meaning and love, health and money are gravy.

  2. amba12 said,

    I should amend: lack of money can certainly make you wretched, but its presence is no guarantee of happiness.

    Health is more complicated. Ill health seems to challenge some people to use all their heart and will to create happiness. Health, taken for granted, can make people insensitive. Illness humbles.

  3. wj said,

    Happiness and unhappiness seem, to me, to depend on what gives you energy and what requires energy from you. For example, some people (perhaps a substantial majority) gain energy from being around other people. But there are some of us who find that it takes energy being around people, and we gain energy by having time alone.

    As my father once put it, “I have often been alone, but I have never been lonely.” For those who gain energy from being around people, that is an almost totally incomprehensible world view.

    I suspect (although I have not thought it thru in detail) that much the same applies to the other fators in the equation. Some people prefer one kind of situation, some another. It might be an interesting exercise to take a poll….

  4. amba12 said,

    Hmmm, if only I knew how to set up a poll . . .

  5. Randy said,

    I imagine it is easier for someone to be happy if that person is healthy. At the same time, those who need not worry about how to pay the rent or put food on the table probably find it easier to be happy as well. I don’t think either idea is startling. While nothing is guaranteed, it seems to me that some things are more likely.

    At any rate, this piece in yesterday’s New York Times was interesting.

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