Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy is a book written by Mo Gawdat, who is the former Chief Business Officer for Google X. He realized that he wasn’t happy during his time at the top of his career, and so he set out to figure out why. He learned that most people don’t know what makes them truly happy. So, he applied analytical thinking to this problem and examined many religious concepts until he discovered his own formula for happiness.
2 Sentence Summary: Gawdat’s book summary outlines his thoughts on happiness and the things that prevent it. The author recognized 6 illusions & 7 blind spots that make us unhappy. Ultimately, he shares the 5 truths that will bring real joy and happiness into your life.
Summary Read Time: Less than 5 minutes
Actual Book Length: 368
First Published in: 2017
Below is the detailed yet quick summary of the book:
The 6 Great Illusions
Your thoughts do not define you. Don’t let your thoughts define you. It is the thought, not the event, that causes you to be unhappy.
Who are you, really? Are you defined by your appearance, your clothes, your possessions? All of this is not your true self.
You are not your body, feelings, beliefs, name, group you belong to, family tree, accomplishments, or possessions. You are the observer and it’s you who sees. What is left of you when you die is your true self.
Your personal knowledge does not define you as a person. Even if you believe that you know a great deal, there is still more that you do not know. True intelligence is being aware of how much you don’t know. Nothing is inherently good or bad – it is only our thinking that makes it so.
Remember that time doesn’t move, you move through it. Everyone experiences time differently. There are three known times – past, present, and future. To be happy, live in the present moment as much as possible.
No matter how much you plan or how many safety nets you have in place, life is always unpredictable. The best you can do is to act responsibly and then let go of the need to control the outcome. Remember that in the end, things will usually work out fine. And even if they don’t, it’s not the end of the world.
We all have fears, but these fears are usually unfounded and can hold us back in life. If you’re afraid of something, try to openly admit it to yourself and ask yourself whether you’re really free. If not, why not? What concerns are holding you back? These are your fears.
7 Blind Spots
There are some blind spots which act as defects to our brain.
Our picture of the world is always going to be incomplete because our brain has the capacity to focus on what it deems as a priority and unfortunately, we often filter out the positive parts of a situation and only remember or think about the negative.
The brain can only make decisions when it has a clear and concise set of information to work with. However, more often than not, it has to filter out a lot of information and accept only what it deems to be relevant. This can often lead to distorted truths, even on the physical plane. An assumption is nothing more than a story generated by the brain in order to make sense of what it’s receiving – but that doesn’t mean it’s true!
Our brains are constantly making predictions to try and fill in the gaps, and the biggest gap of all is the future. The predictions we make about the future are no different from any other possibilities our brain generates – they haven’t happened yet, and we’re not necessarily always right about them. So don’t get too caught up in your own predictions – remember that they’re just one possible version of the future, and not necessarily the truth.
The brain often looks to the past to mix our perceptions of current events with memories. We take these memories and try to match them up with present reality, which creates a view that is often colored by the past. However, it’s important to keep in mind that our memories are often not accurate. They are nothing more than our perception of what we think happened.
5: Assignments / Prejudices
Our memories of past events can sometimes distort the truth. Assignments that come from the past can be more effective, because they help us to label people and make prejudices more quickly.
Emotions are what make us human, but they can cloud our judgment when we try to mix them with logic. Decisions are usually made with logic in mind, but our actions are often guided by our emotions. Because of this, we are not as rational as we would like to think we are. Our perception of reality is often skewed by our irrational emotions.
Our brain always wants us to be careful and is always looking for ways to get our attention. But sometimes it can exaggerate the truth and make things seem worse than they are.
You can’t be truly happy without these 5 essential truths.
The more present you are in the moment, the happier you’re likely to be. Mindfulness is not an on / off switch – it’s more like a dimmer switch. You don’t have to do anything special to be mindful. Your default setting is mindfulness. In order to increase it, you have to stop trying to do it. Don’t multitask – whatever you’re doing, give it your full attention.
One thing that is certain is that nothing is certain. Change is real and it is always happening. Instead of fighting against change, accept it and let everything find its balance.
Be grateful for where you are and how you are. Gratitude is a sure way to be happy. (Instead of being bitter that he died, I’m grateful that he lived)
Unconditional love is something we all aspire to have. It’s the one emotion that isn’t based on our thoughts or anything in our head. We’re happy because we love without expectations. When there are no expectations, there can never be any disappointed expectations. Love is never wasted – the more we give, the more loved we feel. It’s important to surround yourself with positive people and stay away from negativity. Give people three chances, and then move on if they don’t change. Choose to be kind instead of right.
Live your life to the fullest – don’t wait to Rest in Peace. We all die a little bit every day and without death, there would be no life. Death is always inconvenient, but eventually, we are all ready to die. Death won’t hurt you. Life is always worth living. Our bodies fall apart but we never die ourselves. Live before you die and see everything in life as a loan. Your house, your children, your wife, your trophies – when you die, you give it all away. If you don’t own anything, you can’t lose anything.
5: Draft / Designer
Whether or not there is a god or designer is still up for debate. However, the probability that everything was created by chance evolution and the Big Bang alone is slim to none. It’s more likely that a designer developed the principles and systems from which today’s world and universe emerged. But he or she doesn’t manage it. They are not responsible for natural disasters, disease, and wars. They set the framework in which we live and it is up to us to make the best of it.