3 Questions That Determine Your Happiness

Want more actionable ideas every week?

Join millions of readers and subscribe to Your Next Breakthrough newsletter below.

    132 people had breakthroughs this week. Will the next one be you?

    Three things for you to think about

    Three questions determine 99% of the happiness in your life:

    1. What am I working on and why?
    2. Who am I spending time with and why?
    3. How well am I treating my body and why?

    Everything else is noise.

    Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.

    Three things for you to ask yourself

    Guess what, motherfucker? Ask yourself those three questions above. Be excruciatingly honest in your answers.

    Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.

    One thing for you to try this week

    Of the three, what area of your life are you neglecting the most and what can you do to change that, today. Yes, find a small thing that you can actually go out and do this week to help remedy that weakness. Let me know how it goes.

    Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went for you.

    Last week’s breakthroughs

    In last week’s newsletter, I asked you to allow yourself to be bored and see what thoughts and feelings crop up.

    As expected, you guys got introspective. Here’s Grace reflecting on her position at her new job, and realizing that boredom at work connects with an insecurity that she’ll be seen as incompetent or less intelligent:

    I recently took a job a grade below my previous post. I don’t yet feel like I’m fully using my brain, so moments of boredom and repetitive tasks have led to feelings of frustration and some deep fear.

    I’ve been examining these feelings a lot—knowing I am pressuring myself to ‘get ahead’ quickly and be promoted fast, rather than to sit in the knowledge that in a new role, with a lot of learning and repetitive tasks, there will be days which feel slow and less fulfilling.

    I know these fears mostly come from being viewed as less intelligent or capable than I know I am, having studied for over 10 years for a bachelors, masters and PhD—and what it might say about me which impacts my credibility.

    I am taking the time to sit with the pace, to embrace some humility and patience and know that I am working towards what I aspire to. A lot of this for me is taming the ego and the inner critic, while also maintaining a healthy level of ambition and balance.

    Meanwhile, 50-year-old Kate is pondering her lifelong anxiety in the garden:

    I am intentional in spending at least an hour outside each morning in the garden, with my coffee, sitting in the swing rocking back and forth. I have noticed that when I leave my phone inside, make the dog lie down on her own chair, and don’t talk—I notice so much more. Bugs, birds, butterflies, the chickens, the clouds. I also notice that I am telling my brain to be quiet, that I am reassuring myself that it’s okay to not be ‘on.’

    I am aware of that anxiety that I feel when I am not doing something—when I just sit and be. This space that I look forward to, that I need, is hard for me to give myself. The feelings of guilt, shame, and ‘you’re so lazy—you should be doing something, not just sitting there’ are really loud. They have been in place for decades, and I am only now in a space where I can allow myself to examine those feelings, and reframe them. It’s hard work… but the glimmers along the way are fabulously reinforcing.

    Finally, Melissa’s hoping to create better habits in her child:

    This isn’t me, but my child. We were hanging out together this past weekend because they live in a different city than me. Every so often, they’d take out their phone even though we were doing something together. I’ve scolded them about this before, but couldn’t figure out how to explain to them why it was rude. I finally said that it was as if they were taking out a book while being with me. They said that since we weren’t speaking (briefly), they figured it was ok. I talked about the benefits of brief moments of boredom and my child agreed that they wouldn’t take their phone out again unless it seemed appropriate.

    We hung out many more times and they actually seemed to have understood that those brief moments of boredom won’t harm them, and that being aware of what’s going on around them (they live in Manhattan) could even be more interesting than what’s on their phone. I truly believe that they will spend less time looking at social media and more checking out what’s happening around them.

    I’ll be back with them at the end of August and am hoping that this is a permanent change.

    As always, send your breakthroughs by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.

    Until next week,

    Mark Manson

    #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
    My WebsiteMy BooksMy YouTube Channel