“I used to think I knew everything. I was a “smart person” who “got things done,” and because of that, the higher I climbed, the more I could look down and scoff at what seemed silly or simple, even religion.

But I realized something as I drove home that night: that I am neither better nor smarter, only luckier. And I should be ashamed of thinking I knew everything, because you can know the whole world and still feel lost in it. So many people are in pain-no matter how smart or accomplished-they cry, they yearn, they hurt. But instead of looking down on things, they look up, which is where I should have been looking, too. Because when the world quiets to the sound of your own breathing, we all want the same things: comfort, love, and a peaceful heart.”

― Mitch Albom, Have a Little Faith: a True Story


Algorithm for Finding Happiness

I’ve read this article earlier and I just want to share my thoughts on one of the points raised by the author and something I’d like to call my algorithm for finding happiness.

The author writes:

Decide what you want from life

To increase your satisfaction in life, you have to decide what you want from it. We often compare ourselves with others and think we want what they have, but everybody is different and just because something makes somebody else happy it doesn’t mean that it is right for you. Stop comparing yourself with others and feeling pressured to strive for goals that aren’t on your personal to-do list (such as starting a family, earning more money or buying your own home). Think about what you want and what would make you happy.

So apparently, to survive a quarter-life crisis, one must decide what it is that makes him/her happy. But this question has been boggling me for years – long enough for me to believe that I can’t really tell for certain unless I try to explore and experience different things, even those beyond my comfort zone. (Note that the operative word here is try.)

This is where my algorithm comes in.

If you know me, you’ll get a clear picture of my trial and error method in finding happiness. I made a code snippet just now to show you my algorithm. (Oops! Did I mention that I’m a programmer? But let’s not argue on, nor discuss technicalities here. Save it for later.)

Algorithm for Finding Happiness
Figure 1. Algorithm for Finding Happiness

If you’re not into programming (and can’t make sense of the above image), basically, it means that I try do things which I feel can bring me happiness (has potential happiness value, that is) and see for myself whether or not it actually does.

For instance, mountaineering has caught my interest long before and I finally decided to give it a go just recently. And because I loved and enjoyed the experience so much, I’m going to another climb this Sunday!

Needless to say, there are a lot of ways to find happiness out there. If you have a better algorithm or a different approach, let me know! We can discuss it over a cup of coffee or two. 😀



First Posted: June 5, 2012