The mathematical equation of happiness

  • Published
  • By Maj. Troy Fiesel
  • 934th Force Support Squadron

I recently read about the surge of research in the areas of sustained happiness and joy. Reading more on the subject, I discovered something fascinating. The secret to long, sustained happiness can be found in a math equation. Now, as someone who hated math in school, I was a little hesitant to discover my joy was dependent upon my ability to solve a math problem! The good news, even math phobic people like me can understand it.

The basic equation is this: 10-50-40

A great body or research shows us that only 10 percent of our happiness is influenced by circumstances. The next factor contributing to happiness is our internal makeup such as genetics, temperament and constitutional factors. This contributes to around 50 percent of our happiness. Now the most important fact, the remainder of what affects our ability to experience sustained happiness, 40 percent comes from things that are directly in our control: behaviors, thoughts and intentional practices.

Reviewing this equation, an important point can be made. If science proves that only 10 percent of happiness is based upon circumstances, then why do we allocate most of our energy in this area? What would happen if we shifted our focus to the behaviors, thoughts and practices that make up the 40 percent of sustained happiness? I suspect those happy people we all know can answer that question!