Happiness is an interesting topic to think about. We all experience it (or lack of it sometimes) at some point in our lives. To me happiness is timeless, you can experience happiness now, in the present, but you also experience happiness over your lifetime – when you look back you have a sense of how happy you have been overall. If I ask you how happy you are you will probably be able to give me an answer, but can you explain why?
This very fact makes happiness hard to quantify, and Paul Dolan, who is a leading researcher in this field, has done a good job of attempting to help everyday people understand what the inputs to their happiness are, thereby allowing us to make changes to our lives that will impact happiness positively.
The book is an interesting read from cover to cover for someone who is interested in the concept of happiness like myself, but I would also recommend this book to anyone who is interested in how they can be happier – at a glance some of the suggestions seem overly simple, but for me the book taught me to understand how pleasurable and also purposeful activities make up my happiness and stepping back allows you to base your decision making on options that will make you happier.
A word of warning, this is not a self help book. Reading it will not enlighten you on how to go from miserable to happy if that is the case for you. It does however provide someone who is of average happiness the tools to think and be aware of their happiness, examine their lives through their experiential self whilst being aware of their conscious and unconscious attention habits, with the outcome of being able to make small changes to the design of their lives in order to be happier. That is happiness by design.
“What you attend to drives your behaviour and it determines your happiness. Attention is the glue that holds your life together.”