How happy are you on a scale of one to 10?
Mo Gawdat is an engineer, author, and serial entrepreneur who is on a personal mission to unlock the anatomy of happiness and help 10 million people become happier. It's the type of moonshot goal you would expect from somebody who works alongside moonshot thinkers Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Astro Teller. Gawdat is the Chief Business Officer at Google [X], a futuristic and highly secretive lab responsible for hyper-ambitious projects such as Google Glass, Project Loon (a balloon-powered Wi-Fi network), and the infamous Google self-driving car.
His journey is a hallmark of courage, a broken heart and relentless determination. At some point we will all open the door and face the abyss. It could be finding the strength to tackle a failure or recovering from a personal tragedy. Gawdat's came when he suddenly lost his beloved son and best friend, Ali. It was this sad event that was to make happiness for millions of people a personal calling for Gawdat.
Gawdat's new book, Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy is a step-by-step process for achieving lifelong happiness and what he calls "committed acceptance" of whatever life throws at us. Gawdat realized that despite incredible success, wealth and recognition, he was desperately unhappy. A truth seeker, he attacked the problem as only an engineer can by breaking down the components of happiness, collecting data points and looking for answers. Eventually, his efforts paid off, and he discovered the DNA of happiness which has implications for anyone in business who wants tomorrow to be better than today.
Engineer your path to joy.
He proposes an algorithm based on a practical understanding of how the brain processes joy and sadness. Put that in an equation and it's elegantly simple. "Happiness is equal to or greater than the difference between the way you view the events in your life minus your expectations about how life should behave. Which means that if you perceive the events as equal to or greater than your expectations, you're happy--or at least not unhappy." This is the secret of happiness. Put another way, happiness happens when life seems to be going your way. You feel happy when life plays out the way you expect it too. The opposite holds true too.
Make happiness a priority.
So how can you achieve happiness in your own life? "Start by making happiness a priority," says Gawdat. "To be happy doesn't mean to be naïve or even challenging. Happy people on average are 12 percent more productive than those who are not. This means more growth, more productivity and faster learning. It's a wise choice for any leader. But the trick is this: If you decide to have a happy work culture, you must declare that happiness is a top priority. It's a choice. And when other things contradict with that priority, choose happiness. Next, you must apply the simple rules of happiness on a daily basis: set clear expectations, hold yourself and each other to account and remember that happiness is about we, not me."
Solve for happy.
The message is clear: humans are designed to be happy. What will you do today to reboot your natural happiness mode?