An interesting insight on happiness

I recently had a brief coffee chat session with a fairly successful man. It was an opportunity to learn more about his thoughts on life, the mental models that have worked for him, and the topic of this post, Happiness.

To my surprise, he had a pretty clear insight about being happy in life. He said, and I quote him, “Happiness in life is attainable, if you are content with the status quo.”

This makes sense to a great extent. Basically, if you are fine with the way you are, you don’t even need to think about this question.

You might be traveling places around the world, or no, and you don’t care. You might have a house to live in, or no, and you don’t care. You might have a Ferrari parked in front of your house, or no, and you don’t care.

It is this attitude shift that accounts for being content in life. You can regard them as states you would want to achieve, or not. Naval puts this very cleverly by saying, “Desire is the contract you sign with yourself to stay unhappy until you receive the thing that you want.”

Another interesting finding that came out of the conversation was understanding demographics from the happiness and work perspective.

There are two kinds of people in this world. The ones who accept the world in its form, and are fine with it. Well, this is where majority of the population resides, about 80%. The other kind of people are the ones who don’t accept the world in its form, and want to do something about it. They want to bring a change to the system. Out of this 20% minority, about 99.99% of that fraction are idiots. Their attempts don’t count for much, because although they are high with ambition, they lack action. The remaining 0.01% are the ones who bring a real difference. They are a rare breed who makes dents in the universe, but they will never be happy.

This is such an incredible perspective. One thing I would like you to notice is, this relation is not invertible. Staying unhappy doesn’t mean you are changing the world.

So yeah, those were some tidbits from a conversation from which I learned a lot.