Happiness pension plan – a pillared formula?

This article (below) discusses happiness as a direction, and the elements of that state of mind. And, yes, there’s a science of happiness. And a “happiness pension plan.”

Yet, in such direction, recall our mantra:

What’s the good news about habits? They’re hard to break.
What’s the bad news about habits? They’re hard to break.

There’s also a question of social engineering. Can “villains” (and their minions) be happy? – Tick off Brooks’ elements of happiness. Might autocrats exploit Brooks’ formula?

No yellow-brick-road, eh.

• Big Think > “There is a formula for happiness — but it’s highly misunderstood” by Arthur C. Brooks [note his Wiki bibliography] (7′ video with transcript) – “Happiness is NOT about feelings.”

In this interview, Brooks shares three primary elements of well-being, and explains how each one – enjoyment, satisfaction, and meaning – contributes to your own happiness factor.

Enjoyment … involves more than mere pleasure – it’s about shared experiences and lasting memories.

Satisfaction arises from overcoming challenges

Meaning comes from understanding life’s:


Brooks further breaks down the pursuits that genuinely contribute to happiness:

faith [broadly speaking, “to stand in awe of something bigger than you”]
family [core relationships]
friendship [“certainly more than (just) your spouse”]
meaningful work

He stresses that happiness is not a final destination but a continuous direction.

Key points

  • happiness < > feelings of happiness
  • emotion = information (negative / positive) about the outside world
  • enjoyment = pleasure + people + memory
  • satisfaction = the joy derived from struggle for something (without any cheats)
  • coherence = answering why things happen the way they do
  • significance = answering how one’s life matters
  • purpose = answering what direction and goals guide one’s life
  • pursuing happiness < > accumulating money, power, pleasure, and fame
  • meaningful work = earned success (merit) and service to others