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(This page contains text originally on the FrontPage. We should consider breaking these into their own individual pages.)



Alternative Formulae


A significant problem with Scott's formula is that if your health goes to zero you are dead and not happy at all. Thus

True happiness = Health(Money + Social Life + Meaning) deals with the problem of zero health. Given that health is not boundless,

it seems to follow that this formula will be more predictive.

It would be better to define Money as "Perceived Financal Freedom": If you do not have money to buy a coat or food, it is unlikey

that you will be happy; but the perceived value of an additional dollar (for most people) declines logarithmically--given that this is bounded

then a second revision of the formula is

True happiness = Health(Social Life + Meaning)^Perceived Financial Freedom

I would add one more factor to represent all of the rest of a person's life, call it "environmental satisfacton". this would be the placeholder for

hobbies and comfort on the positive side, and for annoyances and discomfort on the other (e.g. if you had a hated 3 hour commute to a job with

great instrinsic satisfaction with people you love, leaving you less time to read, you would probably be happier were you to take public

transportation and read along the way).

Thus I propose a more predicative formula:


:) = Health (Environmental Satisfaction + Social Life + Meaning) ^ Perceived Financial Freedom






True happiness = Perception of( ( Health + Money + Social Life + Meaning) > 0 )


Force of will = inertia to change * true happiness (Like F = m*a in physics)


Perception is as important as happiness is about what you perceive reality to be, not what it is.


(rate of change over time must be positive - the more positive the better) i.e. derivative of above stated formula of happiness.


It is the rate of change and feeling of moving forward overall and in each area, not your current position, that dictates the amount of happiness.


For example if you have nothing, a quarter can create happiness but it would be meaningless if you had a million dollars.

Getting a part in a high school play creates happiness if you have never been in a play, but if you were already a movie star it would not.

You have cancer but are told it can now be cured i.e. you have cancer but are very happy now.

Getting a cartoon published in a school newspaper but you are a syndicated cartoonist.


You have a million dollars but are afraid you will lose it all. You perceive a negative rate of change and therefore are unhappy, even though you do have a million dollars.






To fill in later: Happiness Calculator (general, not precise results; a three-color scale)



True Happiness = if ((Perception of (Health + Money + Social Life + Meaning) / (Needs (Health + Money + Social Life + Meaning)) > (1+Happiness Factor)




A = (Health + Money + Social Life + Meaning)


P = Perception


N = Needs


F = Personal Happiness Factor


TH = IF (P(A) / N(A))>(1+F)


Happiness is your perception of where you are versus where you want to be. Someone may know that they are doing well on the original Scott Adams scale but still not be happy if they are not where they want to be (i.e. Money + Donald Trump). If we didn't calculate how much "F" is needed, you may have reached where you want to be in terms of "N" but that may only mean you are content but not necessarily happy. Everyone will have a different "F".






According to research by some high falutin marriage expert the ratio of good stuff to bad stuff in the happy, successful marriages is 5:1, no more, no less. Extrapolating from that I get:




Successes = things that go according to plans (and were consciously attempted)

Failures = things that do not go according to plans (and were consciously attempted)

:) = Happiness


then Successes

:) = __________ = 5






The, "Don't Dwell on It" Formula


One of the best ways to boost overall happyness is extremely simple: One should not think about things which one cannot actively change. This goes for grades, job performances, ect.... If you do not have a way of actively changing the outcome of an event, do not worry or think about it. Simply let it be. This philosophy can be brought to emotions other than worrying, such as anger. In general, anger does not solve much. It simply frustrates us. We should not feel angry when anger will do us no good. Eliminate useless emotions and thoughts such as anger and worrying and you will find yourself much happier. Trust me on it.



The Expectation Formula


Since happiness seems to be a very immediate experience I would argue that in order to properly evaluate all of the possible input variables you would have to account for every possible situation. Simplified characterization of all above formulas would be:


:) = Presumed quality of future.


Let's look at a terminal cancer patient with no friends, no money, who has counted jelly beans in a factory for their entire life and no future on this earth as we know it at all. Now let's assume they believe that they will be in a paradise that meets all of their personal desires as soon as they die. I would wager their happiness would be enormous. Or the intern who believes that their unpaid internship will result in an improvement in their life.


This can also account for 'negative' happiness for example revenge. If I had the opportunity to kill Stalin before he decided to murder thousands of people I would probably be happy because I presumed that the quality of the future in this case russian future had in fact increased. Hearing then that my wife had been killed by an angry mob moments later would have a negative affect on my presumed quality of future in this case my future.


This can also account for fleeting happiness as well. Let's say nothing is going your way, you're practically homeless you're going to get fired, etc etc but you believe in one hour you're going to have the greatest most exciting pleasureable sex of your life. I'm not sure the previous equations would be able to adequately calculate their potential happiness at that moment.

What Job Security, Momentum of Job security and all of the other variables simply describe are means of moving the quality of your future to one in which you believe you will be "better" than now. This is a further summary of TH = IF (P(A) / N(A))>(1+F) formula such that it becomes an instantaneous equation.


If you assign a label of "happy" to an individual in a more permanent sesnse for those who speak spanish an example would be


He es happy vs He esta happy (where Es implies "He is a hapy person he is always cheerful vs Esta He is happy he just saw his girlfriend for the first time in 2 months.) You would be forced to define a domain from which to find the average derivative. Where the equation = presumed quality of future.


So the full equation for evaluating the happiness of an individual would be:


:) = The Integral within the domain of a,b of the derivative of the function: :)(time) = presumed quality of future.


So I guess what I'm saying is happiness is the journey, not the result or current state. For example Mothere Teresa I believe was happy because she presumed the quality of future was improving. Isn't this the definition of meaning? To believe one's life has had a positive benefit on the future outcome of the universe? Depression, hopelessness and many other negative emotions are always associated with a percieved negative outcome, even if said outcome never actually took place.


The problem is without any free will over our emotions, it's impossible to change one's outlook on the future and the equation is useless from a practical stand point. Many argue that religion is a foolproof method for many to prusuade themselves into believing the future outcome will be good, however in that case the more reason grounded individuals will need to find reasonable reasons to believe the future will be better. Focusing on positive possible outcomes can in many cases result in the deepest happiness.


- Gavin Greenwalt



What about the happiness formula from the emerging field of positive psychology?

Know more at: http://www.FoolQuest.com


-Aaron Agassi



please visit the "front page discussion" page to continue the discussion that used to be.... on the front page.




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