The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach To Getting The Life You Want. By Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph. D.
This book came recommended to me at a Pre-Conference session I attended at NCDA in Boston this year. A curious title for a curious Peacock 🙂 I knew I liked this when I read this quote from Aristotle, “Different men seek after happiness in different ways and by different means, and so make for themselves different modes of life…”
She begins with the premise that 50% of your happiness is determined by your genes (can’t be changed), 10% by life circumstances (which is why being born poor or born rich produces people who are happy and sad no matter what they were born into) and that 40% is determined by what we do and how we think. And then she proceeds to prove it to us scientifically.
The author actually has you take a Happiness Questionnaire that helps you determine your initial happiness score. She hypothesizes that everyone has a set point for being happy and then has you take another questionnaire, Person-Activity Fit Diagnostic to figure out what specific activities you can do to increase your happiness based upon your interests, values, and needs.
Each chapter makes convincing arguments as to how you can be happier and then gives you specific suggested activities you can do to help you based upon your Person-Activity Fit. One of the activities for me is based in writing being it is highly structured, systematic, and rule bound and prompts me to organize, integrate, and analyze my thoughts. And yes, over the years this is exactly what I have done to and it works.
For career coaching it is important to be able to fit the action plan to each person and to help each of our clients to develop specific plans for them, not cookie cut plans. This book really helped me think through how each person is different and needs to be understood as individuals with unique motivators (just like Aristotle observed a few 1000 years ago).