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Happiness Is A Skill - Issue #61 - The 51% Theory, or, Factual Optimism

Happiness Is A Skill - Issue #61 - The 51% Theory, or, Factual Optimism
By Brooke Siem  • Issue #61 • View online
How do we find happiness when we are still depressed or in antidepressant withdrawal?
We don’t. At least, we don’t aim for big changes. Instead, we go for getting it right 51% of the time.
If we quantify happiness onto a scale that ranges from 0% happy to 100% happy, every decision we make alters our position on the scale. If we can get our life to a 51% Lifetime Happiness Average, our choices are validated by default.
The goal isn’t to reach 100%. On some days, 80% can seem like a stretch. Fifty-one percent, though, is almost always doable. And at 51%, we’re winning.
LITTLE CHANGES BRING BIG RESULTS
Quantifying emotions helps us remain grounded and make decisions rooted in reality, as opposed to the reality created by the chatter in our heads.
If we have one “good” day a week, we are at 14% happiness. By making small changes to bring us to two good days, our happiness average rises to 28%. To hit 51%, we need to have average 3.6 “good” days per week.
To set ourselves up for more good days in a week, we apply the 51% theory to individual decisions.
As long as each singular decision falls at 51% or higher, it puts us closer to our overall 51% Lifetime Happiness Average. 
Decisions are based not on logic, but on how they make us feel. When we are faced with a situation, take a moment and simply ask, “Where does this decision fall on the scale? How do I feel when I think about it?
If the decision feels like it will bring 51% Happiness, go with it, even in the absence of logic or practicality. If we don’t know the answer, wait and gather more information. Patience is often the difference between 49% and 51%.
The beauty of the 51% Theory is that all decisions become easy decisions. Even difficult decisions are easy decisions. They may still carry immense consequence, but once the 51% threshold is crossed, nothing else matters. At 51%, we are already ahead. Make the decision and go.
It only takes a 1% shift to create momentum that can change your life. At 49%, we’re still struggling against the current. At 51%, we’re moving with the river. And at the end of our life, however many days away, we can look back and say to ourselves, “It was all worth it. Fifty-one percent of the time, everything was beautiful.”

A Guide to Finding Happiness: Dan Buettner's 'Blue Zones' - The Atlantic
Changing Your Behavior Leads to Better Results than Setting Goals
Ten Simple Things You Can Do to Be Happier, Backed by Science
It's all in the hair.
It's all in the hair.
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Brooke Siem

After 15 years of depression and antidepressants, my mission is to help people find hope in the name of healing. HAPPINESS IS A SKILL a newsletter for people who are ready to dig deep and do the self-work required to create a beautiful life. You can learn more about my story at www.brookesiem.com.

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