Happiness Buffer

Happiness isn't the only thing in life — but it is, or perhaps should be, an indicator that one is on a good path. Recently a friend pointed out an essay/post by Belle Beth Cooper, "10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed By Science" that offers a neat list:

  1. Exercise more — 7 minutes might be enough
  2. Sleep more — you'll be less sensitive to negative emotions
  3. Move closer to work — a short commute is worth more than a big house
  4. Spend time with friends and family — don't regret it on your deathbed
  5. Go outside — happiness is maximized at 13.9°C
  6. Help others — 100 hours a year is the magical number
  7. Practice smiling — it can alleviate pain
  8. Plan a trip — but don't take one
  9. Meditate — rewire your brain for happiness
  10. Practice gratitude — increase both happiness and life satisfaction

Good suggestions, though the pseudo-scientific false precision is distracting, unless it's meant to be humorous (unclear if so). Even better: Cooper's blog led to a thoughtful "About Us" page for her company, Buffer, which makes a scheduler program for delayed posting of social media items. The company philosophy and values as stated there is brilliant:

1. Always Choose Positivity and Happiness
     You always approach things in a positive and optimistic way
     You never criticize or condemn team members or users
     You never complain
     You let the other person save face, even if they are clearly wrong
     You are deliberate about giving genuine appreciation

2. Default to Transparency
     You take pride in opportunities to share our beliefs, failures, strengths and decisions
     You use transparency as a tool to help others
     You always state your thoughts immediately and with honesty
     You share early in the decision process to avoid "big revelations"

3. Have a Focus on Self Improvement
     You are conscious of your current level of productivity and happiness, and make continual changes to grow
     You have a higher expectation of yourself than Buffer does of you
     You regularly and deliberately do things that make you feel uncomfortable
     You practice activites and develop habits that will improve your mind and body

4. Be a "no-ego" Doer
     You don't attach your personal self to ideas
     You let others have your best ideas
     You approach new ideas thinking "what can we do right now?"
     You are humble
     You always ship code the moment it is better than what is live on our site — no matter what

5. Listen First, Then Listen More
     You seek first to understand, then to be understood
     You focus on listening rather than responding
     You take the approach that everything is a hypothesis and you could be wrong
     You are suggestive rather than instructive, replacing phrases such as 'certainly', 'undoubtedly', etc with 'perhaps', 'I think', 'my intuition right now'

6. Have a Bias Towards Clarity
     You talk, code, design and write in a clear way instead of being clever
     You over-communicate, repeating things more times than you would intuitively
     You use more words to explain, even if it feels obvious already
     You don't make assumptions, you instead ask that extra question to have the full picture

7. Make Time to Reflect
     You deliberately find time for reflection, because that's where your life-changing adjustments come from
     You have a calm approach to discussions and ponder points in your own time
     You find time to jump out of the trenches into the higher level thinking that will move the needle
     You understand the value of patience and treat it as a muscle which needs practice to grow

8. Live Smarter, Not Harder
     You value waking up fresh over working that extra hour
     You always aim to be fully engaged in an activity, or resting
     You single task your way through the day
     You are at the top of your game, as you focus on expanding capacity of your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual energy
     You choose to be at the single place on Earth where you are the happiest, and most productive, and you are not afraid to find out where that is

9. Show Gratitude
     You regularly stop and are grateful for your circumstances
     You are grateful for the work co-workers do to push the company forward and help you move faster
     You approach customer conversations with humility and the knowledge that it's a privilege to serve these people
     You have gratitude for platforms, tools and open source that laid the foundation for the possibility of the company: "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants" — Isaac Newton


(cf. Optimist Creed (1999-04-16), How to Win Friends and Influence People (2008-05-17), Pursuit of Happiness (2008-11-19), Let Others Be Right (2012-12-31), ...) - ^z - 2013-12-22