Formula for Happiness

KMT

GTD Connect
Hi Everyone,
I just came across a cheat sheet for Happiness and am sharing with you. I have been practising GTD forever it seems now and recognise that crossing off tasks are only part of the equation really. As David Allen says, Getting Things Done is not about Getting Things Done ;-)

And so our GTD Weekly Review is also part of the equation when it comes to refreshing our mind.

Mind Like Water doesn't just come by playing whack-a-mole with your task list.

As you will see in the attached poster thanks to Sumbu, completing a task only gives us one happy chemical.

So tell us what are you doing for getting the other 3 happy chemicals and to refresh your mind?
 

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Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
This is very nice! Yes, we tend to get to caught up in our contexts, how many actions we complete, whose system is better or not following GTD to the letter, etc. It all comes down to time allocation and doing what matters to you. Pretty simple, really. Yes, embrace the principles of GTD, have a trusted system, but actually now use that free space in your mind to be creative and do what really is important to you and others in your field. Protect your time - time block your calendar. That is fine and becomes part of your hard landscape.
 

KMT

GTD Connect
This is very nice! Yes, we tend to get to caught up in our contexts, how many actions we complete, whose system is better or not following GTD to the letter, etc. It all comes down to time allocation and doing what matters to you. Pretty simple, really. Yes, embrace the principles of GTD, have a trusted system, but actually now use that free space in your mind to be creative and do what really is important to you and others in your field. Protect your time - time block your calendar. That is fine and becomes part of your hard landscape.
Agree the cognitive space with GTD allows us to do all the other things. :)
 

mcogilvie

Registered
As you will see in the attached poster thanks to Sumbu, completing a task only gives us one happy chemical.

So tell us what are you doing for getting the other 3 happy chemicals and to refresh your mind?

I like the poster’s desire for balance, but I think the popular connection of different neurotransmitters with different mental states both exaggerates and oversimplifies what we know. (My wife is a neurobiologist, so I hear this all the time.) For example, both LSD and cocaine act on dopamine and serotonin pathways, but have quite different effects on mental states. Oxytocin may be associated with love but it also induces delivery in pregnant women.
 

KMT

GTD Connect
I like the poster’s desire for balance, but I think the popular connection of different neurotransmitters with different mental states both exaggerates and oversimplifies what we know. (My wife is a neurobiologist, so I hear this all the time.) For example, both LSD and cocaine act on dopamine and serotonin pathways, but have quite different effects on mental states. Oxytocin may be associated with love but it also induces delivery in pregnant women.
Yes good point and I think if we take it as naturally balancing these chemicals in the most simplest of ways it can be useful.
 

treelike

Registered
Maybe an imbalance in these chemicals is an appropriate response to the world we have created for ourselves and the goal should be to fix the root cause rather than focus on happiness.

On the other hand maybe the world situation is so beyond our control that we should indeed focus on our personal happiness instead of wasting time trying to fix things.

Or a mix of both (what's the mix?)
 

mcogilvie

Registered
I don't find the world situation to be beyond control. Yes, there are some problems in some countries but shouldn't we talk about Projects instead of problems?

Project: convince people to wear masks and wash hands
Project: convince politicians to help their constituents
5-year Goal: convince people to stop killing one another
5-year Goal: convince people to take Climate change seriously

Next action: Search Amazon for books on persuasive speaking
 

PeterByrom

Registered
I don't like the way that happiness seems to reduce to chemicals in that infographic. Yes, of course we don't want a life where cortisol is constantly pumping through our veins, and of course there are things we can do that help bring better chemical balances (indeed there are medical treatments and prescription drugs to help imbalances, which play a role in combating depression etc).

However, I think this misses out the huge determining factor that Horizon 5 has to play: questions and beliefs about who am I, why do I exist, what is the purpose of my existence, where do I ground my self-worth, what happens after I die, etc? Somebody could be ticking all those boxes in the infographic and yet still be enslaved to false pressures and priorities, living a life which is out of kilter with the universe and their role in it (if they even have a role to play in the first place, depending upon one's worldview - after all, there's nothing stopping a GTDer from being a Nihilist)!

So, are these some useful tips for healthy habits? Yes, I think so. But is it really a formula for happiness? In my opinion, no way.
 
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treelike

Registered
However, I think this misses out the huge determining factor that Horizon 5 has to play: questions and beliefs about who am I, why do I exist, what is the purpose of my existence, where do I ground my self-worth, what happens after I die, etc?
I could devote my entire life to these questions, and never come up with an answer- which would make me pretty miserable!
 

Inhuman Artist

Registered
Hi Everyone,
I just came across a cheat sheet for Happiness and am sharing with you. I have been practising GTD forever it seems now and recognise that crossing off tasks are only part of the equation really. As David Allen says, Getting Things Done is not about Getting Things Done ;-)

And so our GTD Weekly Review is also part of the equation when it comes to refreshing our mind.

Mind Like Water doesn't just come by playing whack-a-mole with your task list.

As you will see in the attached poster thanks to Sumbu, completing a task only gives us one happy chemical.

So tell us what are you doing for getting the other 3 happy chemicals and to refresh your mind?
Love this. My wife, my cat and sometimes my teenage son help with the oxytocin, though sometimes he is the reason to search for endorphin's which can be delivered by Peter Kay the comedian. My serotonin is taken care of by a 3 mile walk done daily which also delivers the endorphins.
 

PeterByrom

Registered
I could devote my entire life to these questions, and never come up with an answer- which would make me pretty miserable!

But I presume that you must be living your life, right now, based on at least assumed answers to some of these questions. For example, very few people live as if they’re agnostic or on the fence to the question of whether their life has meaning. Everybody is living for something as their ultimate value. The question is, what is it? There were some people before the 2008 financial crisis who found their happiness lay in the ultimate value of money... and then they committed suicide when they lost it. Their “god” had let them down (or, even, they had failed their “god”)! No amount of trying to moderate their endorphins was enough to pull them back from the existential despair that flowed from where they had chosen to locate the basis for their meaning.
 
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treelike

Registered
But I presume that you must be living your life, right now, based on at least assumed answers to some of these questions. For example, very few people live as if they’re agnostic or on the fence to the question of whether their life has meaning.
That exactly describes me. I am absolutely agnostic on whether there is ultimate meaning, at level 5 anyway. Lower levels are different e.g. I just had lunch the purpose of which was to satisfy my hunger. At the higher levels I tend to ask the "Why?" question until meaning is dissolved.
 

PeterByrom

Registered
That exactly describes me. I am absolutely agnostic on whether there is ultimate meaning, at level 5 anyway. Lower levels are different e.g. I just had lunch the purpose of which was to satisfy my hunger. At the higher levels I tend to ask the "Why?" question until meaning is dissolved.

The interesting thing about horizon 5 though is that somebody will always have something that they hold to be the most meaningful and thereby most important thing to them, even if they're not very aware of it and even if it's purely functional and provisional. I can speak from personal experience that the unhappiest time in my life, during a ferocious battle with anxiety, was due to an acute perfectionism, whereby other people's good opinions of me was the all-important "god" over my life. I'm sure some good habits from this formula will have helped to some degree, but they would never have de-throned the horizon 5 that was driving me at the time.
 

TesTeq

Registered
But I presume that you must be living your life, right now, based on at least assumed answers to some of these questions. For example, very few people live as if they’re agnostic or on the fence to the question of whether their life has meaning. Everybody is living for something as their ultimate value. The question is, what is it? There were some people before the 2008 financial crisis who found their happiness lay in the ultimate value of money... and then they committed suicide when they lost it. Their “god” had let them down (or, even, they had failed their “god”)! No amount of trying to moderate their endorphins was enough to pull them back from the existential despair that flowed from where they had chosen to locate the basis for their meaning.
1. You wrote: "Everybody is living for something as their ultimate value. The question is, what is it?". What data supports this statement. How can you know that "everybody"?
2. Why do you think that the awareness of the futility of life must lead to despair. Do you have any proof for that?
3. Can't somebody live only for life's sake? Just to enjoy the world as it is without any grand expectations and goals...
 

mcogilvie

Registered
But I presume that you must be living your life, right now, based on at least assumed answers to some of these questions. For example, very few people live as if they’re agnostic or on the fence to the question of whether their life has meaning. Everybody is living for something as their ultimate value. The question is, what is it? There were some people before the 2008 financial crisis who found their happiness lay in the ultimate value of money... and then they committed suicide when they lost it. Their “god” had let them down (or, even, they had failed their “god”)! No amount of trying to moderate their endorphins was enough to pull them back from the existential despair that flowed from where they had chosen to locate the basis for their meaning.
I have seen the idea that everyone must have some ultimate value put forward in works by both Christian and Jewish authors advocating for their faiths. I like the flexible approach to personal values used in GTD’s Horizons of Focus, which sees purpose and principles (Level 5) as part of a model where the different levels influence and are influenced by the other levels. I find it useful personally, and think it can be used by almost anyone.
 

PeterByrom

Registered
1. You wrote: "Everybody is living for something as their ultimate value. The question is, what is it?". What data supports this statement. How can you know that "everybody"?
2. Why do you think that the awareness of the futility of life must lead to despair. Do you have any proof for that?
3. Can't somebody live only for life's sake? Just to enjoy the world as it is without any grand expectations and goals...

1. I think this is unavoidable by definition. People cannot help but value things (even the person who thinks "I don't value anything" is thereby valuing their own autonomy), and there will naturally be a hierarchy of importance for what people value - for what drives them. It is existentially unlive-able for somebody to be indifferent on questions of value.

2. If somebody genuinely thinks that life is futile, then I would be most intrigued to learn more from them about why it does not lead to despair. It's certainly possible to be swept up in enjoying people and projects etc, but if somebody really does believe that life is futile, surely at some point they have to come face to face with the logical implication that this futility has to apply to everything on their projects list.

3. I'm sure that people can, and certainly nobody should feel pressure to have grand expectations and goals, but then it comes back to the value question: namely, what is somebody valuing that gives them their sense of enjoyment in the first place, and what provides the basis for that value? After all, not everything is fair game just because somebody "enjoys" it (unless one is a Nihilist, of course)!
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Let me be explicit now where I was only implicit. I don’t think this line of discussion will lead anywhere useful, and it is not really relevant to GTD. I work with college students as well as colleagues from around the world. I have good evidence that respect for the belief systems of others, or their lack of belief, includes not insisting that one’s own point of view must be correct.
 

PeterByrom

Registered
Let me be explicit now where I was only implicit. I don’t think this line of discussion will lead anywhere useful, and it is not really relevant to GTD. I work with college students as well as colleagues from around the world. I have good evidence that respect for the belief systems of others, or their lack of belief, includes not insisting that one’s own point of view must be correct.

I totally agree that the beauty of the GTD model is that it applies across all points of view.

Do bear in mind though that I’ve raised this line of discussion because this particular thread was about “a formula for happiness”, and my objection has been that such a “formula” is inadequate if it only tries to address reductionistic questions of brain chemistry (though I’m not denying that they have a role to play). Indeed my objection is that it has overlooked the significance of horizon 5 on this topic, for which I have offered examples.

I've not insisted here that my own particular horizon 5 content is correct (though, as an aside, I would argue that it is possible to respect other views while also insisting that one's own view is correct)! Rather, I am affirming here that whatever somebody holds to at horizon 5 is inextricably linked to the topic of this tread. I’ve been happy to simply see where the conversation goes from that point (especially given that this thread itself is not explicitly nor primarily about GTD - rather it's about how GTD relates to an issue of wellbeing).
 
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