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5 ways being contented can improve our lives and make us happier

    1. The happiness curve

    Being happy is a habit. Like any habit, it takes time to develop it.
    Happiness Curve
    But what happens when you are happy? You get used to it and your happiness level starts to go back down. This is called the “hedonic treadmill”.

    So if you want to be consistently happy, then you have to constantly work on being happy (like with the habits below). But you can’t do this all at once or else you will burn out. So…

    2. Small Surprises = Big Happiness

    I don't know why but small surprises always make me happier than big ones. Maybe because I'm not expecting them so they are more unexpected?

    For instance, when someone sends me an email saying, "Hi Rob! I love your podcast! I just bought your book and here's a picture of me reading it."

    That makes me really happy even though it's a small surprise. Or when someone shows up for a meeting in NYC and has already read my book and brings cookies that say "Eat Your Values". That made me very happy (and I ate the cookies).

    We should always try to give each other these little surprises as often as possible. It doesn't take much effort but can make people very happy. Even if we have to fake it sometimes (I've sent emails like this before where I had no idea who was sending them).
    It's also important that we don't expect anything back from these small surprises. If we do, then they won't be surprises anymore, but rather expectations that will bite us in the butt later on when they don't get met by others.

    3. Don't think about money so much. Be ok with making less money than others or losing money in investments or business ventures (see #4) . This is hard for me but I'm getting better at it because...

    a) It's not useful for happiness anyway since most people are unhappy about their finances even if they are rich (see studies on hedonic treadmill above). And b) if you spend too much time worrying about money then you might miss opportunities for real relationships or real things that can bring true happiness into your life.

    4. Invest in things that cannot be taken away from you - like friendships - instead of financial investments or businesses . Note: this doesn't mean don't invest in businesses or financial products at all but just realize that these things c

    A) Buy dinner for people instead of investing in a stock that might go up slightly tomorrow but then disappear forever after that (i.e., buying dinner is cheaper than buying stocks anyway so why not do this?). Plus, dinner builds relationships which helps build contentment over time . Then again, maybe buy some stocks too since there's nothing wrong with diversifying one's portfolio OR...
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