Three Equations for Life

Harvard professor Arthur C Brooks in a recent essay "How to Build a Life" suggests some semi-quantitative relationships among key factors in a successful human life:

Subjective Well-Being =
          Genes + Circumstances + Habits

"... the genetic component of a person's well-being is between 44 percent and 52 percent, that is, about half. The other two components are your circumstances and your habits. Research is all over the map on what percentage each part represents. Circumstances–the good and the bad that enter all of our lives–could make up as little as 10 percent or as much as 40 percent of your subjective well-being. ..."

Habits =
         Faith + Family + Friends + Work

"... Enduring happiness comes from human relationships, productive work, and the transcendental elements of life. ..."

Satisfaction =
          What You Have / What You Want

"... The secret to satisfaction is to focus on the denominator of Equation 3. Don't obsess about your haves; manage your wants, instead. Don't count your possessions (or your money, power, prestige, romantic partners, or fame) and try to figure out how to increase them; make an inventory of your worldly desires and try to decrease them. Make a bucket list–but not of exotic vacations and expensive stuff. Make a list of the attachments in your life you need to discard. Then, make a plan to do just that. The fewer wants there are screaming inside your brain and dividing your attention, the more peace and satisfaction will be left for what you already have. ..."

(cf Basement Worries (2002-06-15), Social Wealth (2005-05-18), ...) - ^z - 2020-05-03