I’m finished reading and listening to How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams. In the book he presents a five prong approach to happiness. Adams starts with the idea that we have a built in range of happiness we can choose to settle in. The happiness floor and ceiling are set, but there’s a ladder in that room you can climb up and down on.
Adams, like others, thinks in terms of manufacturing his happiness and frames the idea of manipulating the “like a moist robot” to produce more feel good feelings. His happiness factory looks like this.
“For starters, the single biggest trick for manipulating your happiness chemistry is being able to do what you want, when you want.”
This idea spoke to me, as he used parenting as an example and gave voice to an idea that I’ve not often spoken. Doing things with kids is hard because of the near constant interruptions. I don’t get things done because even though it seems like I have a lot of time, I don’t have it at my own choosing.
“If you can imagine the future being brighter, it lifts your energy and gooses the chemistry in your body that produces a sensation of happiness.”
Imagination is a new term for an optimistic attitude that is defined throughout the book. Think about your future with an imaginative angle and it will seem better.
Diet. Exercise. Sleep.
“At times when you’ve exercised earlier in the day, eaten well, hydrated, and had enough sleep, what percentage of those times have you found yourself in a good mood?”
Adams bunches these three things together because they are interrelated and one can affect the other. I noted that my energy level is affected by each of these and in the book Adams doesn’t suggest his best diet or exercise regimen so much as encourages the reader to experiment. Think about how your second cup of coffee or coffee cake makes you feel. I’ve been trying to dial back the bread at lunch and it seems like my early afternoon energy levels are higher.
A more complete review with longer quotes and ideas is coming, but the idea of happiness being something we can specifically choose for ourselves via five ways; a flexible schedule, imagination, diet, exercise, and sleep, epitomizes what the book was about. Test, try, and keep going.
Note: I briefly reviewed Amazon’s Whispersync technology, which I used to for the book.