Happiness Is A Side Effect

People buy and try all sorts of things to make themselves happy and none of it works. It’s entertaining for a bit, but that fades away quickly.

People who expect others to make them happy, aren’t going to be happy very long.

There’s three things required to be happy.

(1) Wake up in the morning and take care of the stuff that keeps you being a functional adult.

(2)  Do something productive in the world.

(3) Surround yourself with people also doing (1) and (2).

That’s about it. Happiness is a side effect of those three things.


  1. Yes, it is.

  2. And people are always responsible for their own happiness, I think too often people expect others to make them happy.

  3. Amen, Athol.

    Maybe if more people read this we'd have fewer "I'm not happy!" divorces!

  4. naperken says:

    Yep, very true. Too many people don't understand that spouses, family, friends, money, things, etc are merely happiness enhancers. Happiness has to come from inside of you.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Actually, you can be happy without taking care of any of those. Some advice I got was to be as happy as what you are striving to achieve. Basically, imagine what it would feel like to already have what you desire. Then simply embody that feeling as you go about your life striving to achieve it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I do a boatload of productive but it hasn't made me any happier with my marriage. Go figure (and she is a very productive person,too).

  7. Been there.. says:

    Are you happy with yourself? Are you basically a "happy" person. Are you happier AWAY from your wife?Is your wife also unhappy? We are created for relationship and if that is missing in your life it is very easy to get busy being productive but you know, somewhere in your knower that you're not living the life you were created to live. I have never seen the situation that one person was happy in a marriage and the other person was unhappy. Content, or satisfied to not rock the boat, yes. Happy? No. Usually both people are happy, or both unhappy. Talk to her. Find out if she is unhappy. Will she be honest with you? Will you be honest with her?. Does she know you are unhappy? She probably feels the same way. My favorite quote of Athol's is: The purpose of marriage is to have a happy, functional, productive life. That was probably a little paraphrased but you get the idea. Be true to yourself, express your feelings, be responsible for yourself. You're not responsible for her. You are responsible TO her. That means communication and owning your own stuff. AND, don't be afraid of change. You can't make someone love you and have a relationship with you. Your spirit will die trying if you're not careful.

  8. Been there.. says:

    Oh, and by the way, Athol; incredibly great post! Truly inspired and spiritual, very simple, very Zen…thought you'd appreciate that! (sarcasm font)

  9. Been there.. says:

    I don't personally know ANYONE who got an "I'm not happy" divorce. They probably happen with self centered/narcisist people (men and women), I just don't know anyone. I do know that all people who get divorced are not happy. The difference being our judgement of these people. You can be a happy, positive, funactional, responsible person and STILL have a bad relationship. It's a good thing to desire happiness in a relationship. It's also a good thing to recognize when that just ain't gonna happen no matter how hard you work.

  10. Killa Hertz says:

    I don’t remember where it comes from, but my favorite (very similar) happiness quote is posted on my mom’s fridge:
    Happiness is having something to, something to love, and something to hope for.

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