The Equation for Happiness

strategy day2

Posted on Nov 10

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Mo Gawdat
chief business officer, Google X
author, Solve for Happy


Entrepreneur, remarkable thinker and chief business officer of Google’s elite team of engineers, Gawdat used his training and background to create the equation for happiness.


Mo Gawdat, Chief Business Officer at Google X, is urging us to rethink and rebuild our core values. Happiness is the default setting. Children are born happy. But as we move through life, we grow out of that happy state. As we strive for more, flashes of unhappiness appear every time life misses our expectations. The key to happiness, I concluded, lay in controlling the way we compare the events of our life with our expectations. It lay in being content with what we have in the present moment, rather than striving for the intangible more.

The magic formula is the following: H ≥ e – E.
In other words - happiness is greater than or equal to the events of life, minus the expectations of life.

The model states that there are six illusions that blur our view of the real world:
  • Thought: believing you are your thoughts
  • Self: believing you are your body, emotions, beliefs, name, achievements, family or possessions
  • Knowledge
  • Time: thinking too much about the past or future
  • Control: trying to control
  • Fear
Next, there are the 7 blind spots that make us not see reality clearly: filtering, assuming, hunting, memories, labels, emotion and exaggerating.

Gawdat believes that if we address the above, we remove the reasons for one’s unhappiness. “When you do that long enough, you start to realize it is simply because life mostly meets our expectations.” We are all born happy and free to become whomever we want to be.

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