The logical mind loves to deduce everything down to the simplicity of an equation. And in fact, the more simplistic and elegant an equation has, the beauty it has. In this blog post, I'll be sharing the Happiness Equation according to Engineer Mo Gawdat, the former Chief Business Officer of Google [X]. I will also discuss why it may not work for you, and the solution to help you make it work.
Who is Mo Gawdat?
Mo Gawdat is an Engineer and the former Chief Business Officer of Google [X]. As you can imagine, he is a highly driven, and highly successful man who when he puts his mind to task, is able to achieve it. He quickly worked his way up the ranks of Google and found himself leading their Google [X] team.
Google [X] is Google's "moonshot laboratory". This is their department where all sorts of innovative and wild ideas are allowed to be explored, with no limits. As the name suggests, to create a "moonshot idea".
As you'd expect, he had wealth beyond his wildest expectations and at his disposal, the power to acquire anything he wanted. Typically speaking, this is far and wide "the dream" for many people. But, was he truly happy?
He is also an author of a variety of books, of which we'll be addressing "Solve for Happy". On his website, it states:
"In 2001 Mo Gawdat realized that despite his incredible success, he was desperately unhappy. A lifelong learner, he attacked the problem as an engineer would: examining all the provable facts and scrupulously applying logic. Eventually, his countless hours of research and science proved successful, and he discovered the equation for permanent happiness."
It goes on to say that this formula he had derived was put to the ultimate test when he son pased away at a tragically young age from a very simple procedure - appendectomy (the removal of the appendix). This is where he truly put his theory to the test and his life was never the same.
The Equation for Happiness is....?
Very simple! It's a 3 step process, and Mo is adamant that choice for happiness lies within our mind. A mind of nothingness does not inherently have happiness, it's our own response that illicits the happiness.
The problem here is the mind is like a robot that has been programmed from the life we have lived and by our ancestors (subconscious mind) and our body. And in our western society in particular, we have identified with our thoughts thinking they are "me".
Descartes "I think, therefore I am" was the propelling idea for modern philosophy, but is thoroughly wrong as it does not address the source of the thought, and thus we have become obsessed with and over identified with our own thoughts.
Let's address the 3 steps. All of them require the skill of self reflection.
1) Is there any truth to the thought?
When the thought comes up, is it true of the current situation, or is it a reflection of a self similar situation of the past? Are you playing the victim because you prefer to stay in misery? Meditate and reflect to locate the source of the thoughts and whether it's even true at thaat particular moment.
2) Can I do anything about it?
Can you change your situation or your environment or your way of thinking about the situation? How quickly you can do this will determine how quickly you'll let negative thoughts and feelings saturate and pollute your being.
3) Can I learn to accept it and move forward with life, despite it's presence?
When Mo lost his son, he realized there was only 2 ways he could go about it - he could accept it and move on and do something in his son's honour, or he could dwell in the sorrow. When someone passes away, there is nothing you can do but change your own mind about it.
Even now, if your mind will be questioning the validity of this, then you suffered from the same problems as me.... Read on.
Is There a Happiness Hack?
There are entire industries built around this notion, but how come it only seems to work for some and no for others?
If Mo can overcome the death of his own son with this process, perhaps it can even help you. However, I'm not going to lie and say I could have ever hacked my brain into this type of thinking. I wasn't a successful, positive thinking person. I was an unsucessful, negative thinking person who loved being the victim, and I was totally trapped in that way of being.
The weight of negativity could never override my thinking to change it. My logical brain had too much "evidence" for why I was unhappy. So I had to work my arse off to undo a lot of that bullshit "evidence".
So for me, there are 2 hacks.
HAPPINESS HACK #1
Meditate and clear your mind. Self reflection, letting go, and reptition, will gradually transform your mind. In a way, it is a form of NLP.
HAPPINESS HACK #2
Gratitude! Even Mo attests to this idea as being 1 of the single most powerful tools for transforming your consciousness. And this is something I'm still working on despite my 100 day challenge, but I can certainly see the power of it.
I hope you found this helpful and can understand how the mind works and what kind of tools you need to actually become happy. Meditation and gratitude are going to be your biggest hacks for achieving happiness, and once you take better control of your mind, you can really apply this 3 steps process for the formula for happiness.
If you'd like to go in more depth, I recommend checking out this podcast where he introduces these ideas and have a good listen to it. There are many golden nuggets within it.