Happiness Formula Part II: Our Circumstances aren’t really to blame

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

This is part 2 of 3 in a series of posts reflecting on the happiness formula. In Part 1, I spoke about the Set Point and challenge the assumption that the set point cannot be changed. This post addresses the second component of happiness: Conditions of Living

The latest research tells us that the conditions we live in only account for 10% of our happiness. Surprising?

This statistic makes reflect on how two people can grow up under the same circumstances/conditions and have two totally different outcomes. The most skeptical people will attribute one’s success over another to different home environments. What if that were not even the case? What if there was some special something else that determined the difference?

Let’s Not Ignore Conditions

Conditions may be only contribute to 10% of our happiness, but it is still 10 percent that we can work on. George Bernard Shaw got it right in his quote above.

Let’s Get Real

We fear change. The thought of moving to a new place, leaving every thing behind, dealing with a new reality scares us. This fear creates inaction. For most, this is why we don’t change. Instead of doing something about our conditions, we point fingers and blame. The “IF” virus infects:

“If only taxes were lower.”

“If I made more money.”

“If my parents didn’t treat me like that”

“If I could just…”


Finding ourselves in conditions that are not ideal is not difficult. The courage to take action and get out is where we really need to do work.

When we find ourselves in a circumstance that is not idea, there are two things that we can do:

1. Be aware of current circumstances and take note

Take notice of your conditions. Identify points where small changes could occur. This could be looking at cluttered areas of a home or desk. It could also things like establishing a different response to common requests at work. Your conditions are yours. You will know what is not working for you.

2. Make the circumstance you want

Muster up 20-seconds of courage and make one small change today. Don’t do it tomorrow, do it today. Something small. Then do another one tomorrow. I bet by the end of the week you’ll feel different.

Bigger changes require more planning. For example, I moved to China in order to fulfill a childhood dream and gain a new perspective on life.

What if I’m still not sure what to do?

If you’re still unsure about how to make changes, but feel the desire and need to do something different, contact a coach.

Be on the look out for part 3 of this series on the Happiness Formula

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