A little thing called happiness

When you start a new business, you are making a serious commitment. You’ll be living, breathing, thinking and talking about it ad nauseum for years to come. So, be sure it’s a fit with what makes you happy.

Speaking of which, ever stop to think about what truly makes you happy? One person who has done a lot of thinking about happiness is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow. His last name may be rumplestilskinesque, but his ideas are clear as a bell.

For example, he argues that the way to be happy is to find things that make YOU happy while you are experiencing them, instead of measuring happiness based on societal metrics, like how much you earn or what kind of car you drive.

He also explains how you know when you are doing something that is intrinsically rewarding:

1)    You are challenged, but have a good chance of being successful because you have the right skill set

2)    You can concentrate on it completely. Your mind isn’t wandering; you are totally engrossed in what you are doing.

3)    You have clear goals – you know exactly what you need to do.

4)    There is immediate feedback – you can tell how well you’ve done.

5)    When you do it, you are deeply involved, but in an effortless way. You become unaware of the worries and frustration of everyday life

6)    You exercise control – that doesn’t mean you are in control, or that the outcome is obvious – it’s that the outcome is unclear, but you manage to make it happen. You use your skills to take the margin of error as close to zero as possible.

7)    You lose yourself in it. You don’t scrutinize yourself while you are doing it. You are not self-conscious.

8)    You lose track of time when you are doing it.

Find a startup that you find intrinsically rewarding and lucrative, and you’ve got a recipe for happiness.


2 Responses to A little thing called happiness

  1. David, I love Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and am a follower of his writings. One thing that struck home for me is that self-esteem is actually developed by using your skills and talents to create something in the world. The fantasy is that you have billions of dollars and don’t have to work, but the reality is that those people, especially the children of those people, might not actually be happy or have high self-esteem if they haven’t created something themselves.

    This is why I think entreprenuers are some of the happiest people I know…it is because they are using their skills and talents, challenging themselves, using their creativity and taking risks. They are living life!

    Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Laura. says:

    thanks so much for sharing this! as i sit here reading these different items in relation to the business i am starting, i feel incredibly encouraged because each one resonates with what i am pursuing. your blog/business looks like a great resource that i plan to explore more!
    (amanda from dailyworth sent me.)

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