Dr. Martin Seligman’s Authentic Happiness lays down a definitive formula for happiness: H = S + C + V. Also, he grounds it in research and it’s science-backed. So it’s reliable. Soon, you’ll know how the only authentic happiness formula works.
Hey, your problems are solvable. You control some factors of happiness. Thus, you can attain happiness in every major quadrant of life. Besides, you needn’t follow any strict guidelines. You only need to be flexible in the way you think. Then you need to find your strengths and virtues. Next, apply them in every aspect of life. Finally, express yourself; be grateful and be happy. Below, I summarize Authentic Happiness (minus the boring bits. Let me correct myself there: There are very few boring bits in Authentic Happiness.)
You feel down, don’t you? Have you felt the crushing force of the world on your shoulders? Does every action only aggravate the situation? If you can relate, you’re just human. Don’t worry. We live in an age where we understand many things. We have the knowledge to fix your problems. We now have a working happiness formula.
Micro Book Review: Should You Read Authentic Happiness?
You should. Martin Seligman’s gave away his great wisdom here. He crams the book with in-depth personal knowledge. Besides, you’ll get self-tests to indulge your curious mind. A clearer idea of yourself and happiness will materialize. So, I recommend this fantastic book to you. I’ve read every page with delight. And I’ve savored every second. It’s truly been an enlightening experience.
What is the happiness formula?
Dr. Martin Seligman’s Authentic Happiness lists the only science-backed happiness formula. Though it is a 2002 book, people still recommend it. The secret to happiness, according to Dr. Seligman, is to have a great flow and focus on your strengths. (Smiling helps, too.)
Here is his simple happiness formula: H = S + C + V. Here:
H is happiness. S is a genetically determined set range of happiness. C is the circumstances. V is the voluntary variable.
What is happiness (H)?
Happiness is a bubbly state. That’s all. In all honesty, fancy terms cannot describe happiness. Happiness is “the state of being happy” forever. So perhaps nobody cares: That’s not true. For instance: Aristotle’s “the good life” is all about attaining valuable tangible and intangible resources in the journey of life. Happiness, he says, is the ultimate end to all means. So, happiness is an enormous deal in philosophy. It’s the ultimate deal, you might say.
Is there a way to change your set range (S)?
No. Unfortunately, you can’t change your set range. We’ve long known that genes affect happiness.
Twins raised apart share the same happiness. This is enough to prove the power of genetics in happiness. Originally research halted here. Scientists did not know how to proceed. If the set range existed, then what was even the point! Now, things have taken a pleasant turn.
Recent research suggests that the set range is not final. The big revelation was the latest variable: V (voluntary). Your set range is personal and permanent. But you can evoke big oscillations by making voluntary changes.
How to deal with your circumstances (C):
C is the circumstances. Life thwarted you into an unchosen adventure. Now, you live this adventure every day. Your adventure is fresh from someone else’s. However, you must cope with this.
Data show that crime rates aren’t the highest in poor countries; rather, crime skyrockets in areas with billionaires and slum-poor. Why is this so? A mammoth wealth-gap is the culprit. Crime happens when the circumstances justify the means.
Again, consider this: Studies show that being rich or poor doesn’t affect happiness. Poor people are just as happy as the rich. The Halo Effect makes us think of the poor as broken, feeble, and miserable. But odds are, they are thriving in the good world.
My point is: don’t give up just yet. Hang on tight to the voluntary factor. It can rescue you from the darkest situations. Remember flow, virtues, and strength. These can overshadow your circumstances.
“V”: the part that’s up to you!
“V” is the most interesting part of the happiness equation. It includes 3 parts: 1. The six ubiquitous virtues; 2. Your signature strengths; 3. Flow and love.
1. The six ubiquitous virtues of infinite importance:
“Ubiquitous” = present everywhere; e.g. “Smartphones are ubiquitous.” Dr. Seligman says: Researchers found six ubiquitous virtues. Almost all cultures except a handful shared these. So these are universal.
The virtues are wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence.
In their simplest forms: Wisdom is insight. Courage is willpower. Humanity is empathy. Justice is the truth. Temperance is prudence. Finally, transcendence is spirituality.
He says that a virtuous person must gain these virtues. These virtues are No-fail ways to spotlight positivity in the world. We find these virtues in holy books and noble men’s character. We have to embody these six virtues. Thus, we can enlighten ourselves and inspire and uplift others.
2. Exercising your signature strengths:
Strengths are just those: things you excel at. But Dr. Seligman has a brilliant approach to strengths. According to him, finding your strengths is the most important part; this was weird, because: I always thought I had to build my strengths! Now, it makes perfect sense.
The book has an intricate questionnaire of your signature strengths. You can probably finish it within 25 minutes. But the result is eye-opening!
There are 24 strengths. These span over everything you can imagine: From curiosity to the love of learning; from judgment to humor; from zest to prudence, it’s all there. By the end, you will have a solid idea of who you are.
How will your strengths help you? Exercising your strengths every day is the key to happiness. For it helps you and others. You, because you feel a sense of detachment from reality (“flow!”). Them, because your ability helps them. This is the point. This is where the good life begins.
3. The undying concepts of flow and love:
Flow is emotional currency. I’m just kidding, but it’s a fitting analogy. Flow is a state of total immersion that results from exercising your strengths.
You brush your teeth. That’s a basic flow state. A mechanic feels flow fixing a car engine. A geek loves to watch Star Wars; and I love to write this content. We are all inflow. When the flow is in motion, wonderful things bless the world.
Flow is a state. It is better than all bodily pleasures. It’s a whole other world. Your strengths are your ID cards to enter the land of flow. Use them (Let them flourish) and all is well. Use them as much as you can. Flow is as important as ATP in biological processes. It transcends all other objectives. It is the ultimate satisfaction. A poor man with enough flow is the richest man. This poor man is you and every other. For we are nothing but machines pursuing flow.
Love is self-explanatory. Love is the greatest legal lethal weapon. Love doesn’t kill; it nourishes; it enriches. So love often., it’s free.
Learn to forgive. Love all your family, especially your children. Teach them virtues and strengths early on so they can succeed in life. Besides, love yourself.
The secrets Dr. Seligman revealed in Authentic Happiness are no surprise. Although, the data may shock you. Listen, you need not take a course on happiness. You needn’t dedicate much time to fruitless labor. All you need to do is follow “H = S + C + V.” scratch that. “H = V.” Because:
Happiness depends upon ourselves.– Aristotle.
Now, I don’t know what you will do right now. If I were you, I’d add “Read Authentic Happiness” to my to-do list.