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happiness_bulldogdrummond Article Summary:

Everyone wants to be happy, but few people actually know what will bring us joy. As humans, we constantly distort our memories and expectations of happiness and constantly push towards something more. Mark Manson’s “A Brief Guide on How to Be Happy,” is a well-written article that probes the specific mechanisms that prevent us from being as happy as we can be. One of the main problems people have with directing a happy future for themselves is that we are horrible at recording our happiness. Manson cites studies performed during elections showing that humans in general remember their past emotions as more extreme than reality and predict their future emotions to be more extreme than they really will be. In doing so, we emphasize the most memorable moments of our past, forgetting what we really went through, and what we really felt.

Fortunately, Manson provides a few easy changes that everyone can make to be happier. Manson’s main advice is to stop seeking external validation. People who seek status and wealth as their keys to happiness are almost always chasing a pipe dream, seeking societal expectations rather than their true desires. Therefore, truly happy people are always those who have followed their own paths rather than own marked out by external rewards. Manson also advises the reader to take responsibility for their life. Many people see temporary failures as insurmountable obstacles or as inevitable acts of the world, while in reality we control our responses to every situation. As Manson states, we should be asking how we can improve rather than why we have our lot in life.

Manson’s article is a great complement to IMT, because it provides a practical guide for how the no-influence model can be applied to our personal lives. While he never directly states it, Manson comes very close to telling his readers to align their internal desires and external realities, taking control of our own lives. By accepting that nobody has influence over them, a person can take full control over their life.

Article reference: 

A Brief Guide on how to Be Happy – Mark Manson – June 26, 2013 – Retrieved from http://markmanson.net/happiness

Comments (13)

  1. Jaskaran Gill


    Doing what you love rather than doing things so as to gather wealth and materialistic things leads to happiness. People, rather than living in the present, work day and night to gather wealth so that they achieve happiness later in life.

  2. Hiago Alves Correa


    People tend to seek status and wealth to reach societal expectations. Because there is the illusion that when they reach it they will be happy. Meanwhile, the key to happiness is to follow their true desires and have control of their own lives.

  3. Nathan Madrid


    Happiness is a state of mind, a state of mind in which you can control. According to IMT, you control everything you do and everything that happens to you. It’s up to you to be happy, no one else. Do what brings you joy and you will be happy. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh.

  4. Anthony


    This is a great article to look into and get ideas from. Everyone has there own ideas of happiness and this is a positive attitude to follow. Personally, I think a great way to find happiness is living life and experiencing as much as possible with the time you have.

  5. Alejandro Mendez


    It is interesting to see how some people will try to change their environment in order to try and make themselves happier. This article describes individuals that try to seek approval from the outside world using money and status. It is as if they view themselves independent of the environment they currently inhabit, and want to place themselves in another. This leads them to rely on others for acceptance, rather than place the onus on themselves for validation. Not only do they lack understanding of themselves, by trying to improve their environment as if they are not connected to it, but of their friends and family as well since the unhappy people believe that they rely on the influence of others to be prosperous.

  6. mohammad alsaif


    The easiest thing and the usually answer for almost every human being is that to blame his sadness on other. I think it a psychological or nature of human being, because when he or she blame others they will feel more relief than blaming themselves.

  7. Haitham


    To be happy we need to live the present and plan for the future and forget about all the sadness we been through in the past. Also every person should draw his own life and never listen to other people opinion and what they thing he should be in the future. Every person should follow the thing he enjoy and like to live a happy life.

    • Haitham


      And that makes me think that I need to follow and makes me happy and the thing other people think will make me happy

  8. Josh


    I feel that happiness comes from a personal choice within each of us. Some may argue that they didn’t choose their circumstances that they live in. As we know from the IMT a person IS their environment, and we were all meant to be born in only one specific place with those unique circumstances. We can choose to be happy no matter our circumstances. I have been surprised to see in the world, that generally people who have less, tend to be a more happy people. This coincides with how the article says, “to stop seeking external validation.”

  9. Nicolas


    Status and wealth should not be the focus of one’s goal to attain happiness later in life. Happiness stems from a general enjoyment of one’s life around them, and if status and wealth are the focus of one’s future, this can often lead to living a life of frustration as one is not enjoying his/her profession, which is one of the main contributors to happiness in one’s life.

  10. Ethan


    Being happy is all about perception. Joy, on the other hand, one can argue comes from external circumstances. Too many people blame others for their lack of contentment, when they have full control over their own lives. Nowadays society and culture puts so much emphasis on happiness coming from external forces, when being happy is only something that one can change internally. We have to eliminate expectations and define reality, only then can someone be truly happy.

  11. Saransh Noel Prasad


    IMT advocates the fact that everyone is in full control of their lives and no ones else has whatsoever any influence or control on them, the sooner this is understood the sooner people will they lead a happier existence. Knowing they being in control of their own lives, they would only do the things that would make them happy and thus be truly happy instead of pursuing what is deemed as a societal measure of success which lead to happiness.

  12. Caleb Vanderploeg


    This phenomenon of people exaggerating feelings in the past does not only occur in individuals but in society as a whole. People always say that they wish the lived in a different generation because the significant events of that time period were generally positive even if the standard of living was much lower.

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