Every once in awhile, I read an article about someone that resonates so deeply that I feel like it deserves its own post. This is one of those cases.
Mo Gawdat quit his executive job at Google earlier this year at age 51. He’s had a career filled with outward success. But, happiness was always eluding him:
I am the typical driven businessman engineer who solves problems with his left brain. And that got me to a corner early in my life where I was extremely successful — like scary successful — at age 28. But completely depressed.¹
Once you get your basic needs met more money doesn’t make you happier. There is nothing that you can do to achieve happiness by buying it.¹
I’ve shared my own story of lifestyle inflation, but Mo Gawdat experienced it on an exponentially larger level. He bought two vintage Rolls-Royce cars online just because he could! And, guess what? They didn’t do anything for him or his happiness.
So, how did he engineer happiness?
Mo Gawdat’s Happiness Equation
Happiness is very much like staying fit. You start with the decision that you are going to get fit, you find out how – but knowing that is not enough, you have to go to the gym to work out and eat healthily. To me the whole topic of happiness is exactly the same. First you understand that happiness is a choice, that you can actually achieve it and that there is a method to make it happen. Happiness is not a coincidence, it is not given to you by life, it’s entirely our responsibility.²
In his book, Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy, Mo Gawdat reveals a happiness equation:
He describes the equation this way:
The way we think about the events of our life and compare them to realistic expectations is what makes us happy or unhappy.¹
His own happiness equation was put to its biggest test when his 21-year-old son and “happiness idol,” Ali, passed away from a preventable surgical error.
Mo is now on a full-time mission “to help one billion people become happier.”³ You can join the movement by using the hashtag #onebillionhappy and by following these three steps:
- Make happiness your first priority
- Invest in developing your happiness skills
- Tell two people who will tell two people
Here’s a quick 7-minute video introduction to Mo Gawdat:
Find Happiness & Peace for Yourself
For the last few years, I’ve believed that a big part of happiness and peace is managing (and lowering) your own expectations of life. I believe that’s why Gawdat’s simple happiness equation resonated with me.
You don’t have to wait to be happy. You can choose happiness now.
We need to start by understanding that true happiness is not reflected in the modern world’s view of it being fun, elation or laughter. Happiness is finding peace and being OK with life exactly as it is.¹
- https://www.solveforhappy.com/ & https://www.onebillionhappy.org/
Also published on Medium.