3 Questions That Determine 99% of Your Happiness

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The first thing to say when it comes to the things you should do which will guide and determine your happiness, is that it does not necessarily mean massive wholesale changes. It’s important to note that even the most subtle changes can bring fantastic results in your mood and how you feel.

Q1: How well are you treating your body?

Sleep. Movement. Nutrition.

This will not be a preach about hitting the gym 5 times per week, or even hitting the gym at all. I even wrote in a recent blog about the unimportance of the gym in the big scheme of things.

But how we treat ourselves says a lot about who we are as a person. We can resonate who we are onto others by simply being somebody who cares for themselves. Because if you care for yourself, there is a good chance you will also care for others.

Recent studies show that for a depressed person, just a 30 minute walk each day has the same effect as medication. Think about that for a moment and realise how shocking it is. Scientifically and statistically speaking you chemically improve your mood naturally by walking around the block a few times, rather than taking medication which chemically changes your mood artificially.

There’s an added benefit of the spiritual side to good physical health. Self discipline at its core is an emotional regulation process. So by taking some basic practices into your life and aligning them to the values you believe in, will bring you spiritual rewards you were never expecting

Developing the pleasure of taking care of yourself takes discipline and consistency. That is all it takes to begin with. Self respect and pride doesn’t necessarily come until later in your journey. But by implementing discipline and consistency into your life with regards to movement and what you put inside your body, this compounds over time towards the desired outcome of feeling happier.

It’s easy to overestimate how much you have to actually do. You are not trying to be a fitness model. Your goal is to improve yourself one step at a time. Going from doing nothing to doing something can make massive changes and increase your happiness more than you would expect.

What you will discover as you start taking those steps and move forward, is that it will smoke the toxic relationships out of your life. The people who are there for the wrong reasons. Because the people who genuinely love you and support you are on your team, they will cheer you on and be excited for you. Whereas the people who pretend to be your friends but secretly want you to fail, will become ever more visible and easy to see for who they truly are.

Q2: Who are you spending your time with and why?

Relationships. Social Life. Love.

This follows nicely on from the removal of toxic relationships you will see as you go on a life changing journey. You will question the values of people around you, and question whether they are people you want to be spending your time with.

If you hang around with negative people, even if it’s only just one or two, they can massively distort the way you see the world. You will overestimate how cruel and mean the world is if the people around you are cruel and mean. These could be family or friends. And because they make up such a majority of your social interaction and exposure, it’s human nature to tend to think that everyone else is like that. Having unhealthy relationships can make you see the world in a very different way than reality.

This is one of the reasons I removed corporate media from my life, and replaced that with podcasts and books from people who have growth mindsets and want to do good things in life. If you surround yourself with people who want to help others, that mindset will rub off on you and you’ll get to see the world in a far more favourable frame.

If you want to determine who the toxic relationships are in your life, ask yourself this question; if I fail at something or embarrass myself, how supportive would this person be?

If you think there are people around you who would not be supportive of that, cut them out of your life, and fast. You do not need them as all they do is try to bring you down to their level.

Of course it is not easy to find people you really gel with and have values aligned with yours, especially when you’re young, because this is the time of your life you are forging those future relationships. 

But as you age, you look back and see those friendships for what they are more clearly. It will be easy to identify the toxic plastic people who pretend to be your friend with words, but their actions clearly tell you they are not the people they pretend to be.

If you want to determine the good relationships in your life, ask yourself another question; how do you feel about that person? If you feel love, and feel love reciprocated, there is a good chance they are net-positive and are good for you to be around.

People who have solid relationships in their lives are happier and more productive. They are more successful and live longer. 

The quality of your relationships are massively important to your wellbeing, your self esteem and happiness.

Q3: What am I working on and why?

Work. Hobbies. Passion.

The biggest misconception about work is you have to find what you’re passionate about and do that. Yes for sure it certainly helps, but there are always work days that suck no matter how much you love what you do.

Ask yourself the question; what are you working on and why are you working on it? If you have the answer, you know you are doing something valuable for yourself.

I work in the logistics industry where my 36 years of muscle memory means I can work mostly without the need to think too much. So I have asked that question to myself recently, and discovered the answer is not “so I can move containers”. The answer is philosophically much deeper than that.

In Cal Newports book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, he states it is not about finding work you love doing. It’s about getting good at something. And when you get good at something, you start to love it and become passionate about it.

Humans have a deep need to feel competent and valuable. And nothing makes you feel more valuable than doing something really well and being appreciated for it. 

Newport also says that young people should spend less time worrying about what they love, and focus more on what they are good at. Find your talent and become a craftsman in that field.

A craftsman mindset is; “what can I offer the world”. Even with that mindset you don’t necessarily start there, but you develop into that craftsman. Start with something of your choice and get really good at that, get rewarded for it. Then all of the feelings and passion and meaningfulness will come when you least expect it.

A passion mindset is; “what is the world going to offer me?”.

Don’t think about finding your passion. Think about what you can perfect. There is nothing wrong with working an ok normal job with some cool people that you really like, and then pursuing your passion as hobbies on the side.


In The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F*ck podcast episode 16, Mark and Drew discuss these questions and give valuable insights into their own experiences about how to focus on these aspects of your life to reach enlightenment and happiness. Don’t focus on trying to be happy, that will never work. Focus on improving yourself and aligning people around you who have the same values and growth mindset as you. By doing that you will find your peace and succeed at being a better person.

Listen to this podcast to laugh and learn more about these aspects of life, to Live Happier, Live Stronger, Live Longer.

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