The Nebulous Science of ‘Happy’ – a conversation

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I want to share a private email conversation with you between myself and Lou Schuler, our editorial director.

Most of the time we talk about how to better add value to Fitness Marketing Monthly but this email thread was different – we discussed happiness. It bridges off of the story about finding the best toothbrush in my email to you yesterday (click to open in a new window and read after). This starts in the middle of our thread. I hope that you enjoy it:

Lou: I can see that, but I also thought it would be interesting to continue with the opening point about how you don’t need to Google “best toothbrush” to find one you’ll be perfectly happy with. Paradox of plenty, paralysis by analysis, etc.

Might be a good one to explore in a future issue: At one point do you have enough information to be happy with your choice?

Eric Cressey was tweeting all weekend from his event this weekend. I think it was Pat Rigsby who said that every client who walks in the door wants the same basic thing: to be happy. 

Also dovetails with the James Clear excerpt: having goals can keep you from being happy because you always think you won’t be happy until you achieve the next goal on your list.

What does it really take to make your customers happy? What does it take for you to be happy?

Seems like it might be in your wheelhouse.


– Interesting. Years back I did a deep-dive into the science of “happy”. It’s nebulous to the point where I’ve avoided using that term in anything I write as much as possible.

–Happiness the way that most define it doesn’t exist. Short-term joy does, however. But all emotion that we experience, the highs and the lows, are only experienced in reference to an existing experience.

– To experience highs, we must experience low-lows. It’s true that pleasure doesn’t come without pain. That, and the general consensus of my research was that enjoyment of anything (a car, a beautiful view, a partner, etc.) lasts for approximately two weeks at most. This learning is largely what contributed to my somewhat nomadic lifestyle.

Lou: I’ve always maintained that if you get up in the morning and you look forward to what you’re going to do that day, and go to bed at night satisfied with what you did, you’re happy enough. Chasing bliss is a pretty good path to drug addiction.

Last night I attended a Mega-Church ceremony in Toronto along with 5,000+ others. I wrote about the experience on my personal Facebook page here. The pastor, Steven Furtick, spoke at length about being ‘here’ and not always seeking out ‘there’ because the minute that you get ‘there’ it becomes the new ‘here’ and there’s a new ‘there’ to seek.

Maybe we all need to be a bit happier being ‘here’? Maybe, as Lou said, we’ll be happy enough if we are able to find something that we look forward to do when we wake and feel satisfied with at the end of the day regardless of external validation or reward?

-Coach Jon

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