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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The 3 keys to happiness

So my goal for Debug Reality is to create IT products that enhance peoples well being and unlock their potential. The Key is to understand happiness and unhappiness.

When we understand these deeply we can predict the impact certain features and technologies can have on them. For example if you know that a lot of unhappiness in the west is caused by people chasing some mythical dream of romance then you will know that sites and features that sell this dream to users will continue to have a negative effect on people while sites that encourage people to form healthier practical relationships and encourage people to live in different ways and connect with others non-romantically will likely have a positive effect.

So first we need to understand what happiness is... This is a pretty deep topic so I'm not going to tackle it all in one sitting but I'll start with a brief overview and I'll go into more details on following entries. Also this is just my personal understanding, and I can only say it works for me.

The basic process of understanding happiness is:

1) Realizing we deserve to be happy (and so does everyone else)
2) Understanding all the things that make us unhappy and how do deal with them
3) Finding your way to helping others

When I say it like that is sounds simple right, but unfortunately as seen by the number of unhappy people in the world today it isn't.

Realizing we deserve to be happy (and so does everyone else)

The first step is first because it's something we learn very early in life, usually from our parents. If we are loved and respected we get these values by default. If we are mostly ignored or worse hurt then we don't. When a person grows up thinking they don't deserve to be happy how do they go about changing that core belief. I'm lucky enough to have grown up in a family that was loving and respectful so I don't have any personal experience struggling with this. But from what I've seen of other peoples struggle, it is really hard. Still at least it is a fairly simple and direct concept.

Understanding all the things that make us unhappy and how do deal with them 

The second point isn't so simple, there are any number of things that cause us to be unhappy, from not being able to get over loss to chasing a dream of being rich or famous. Each person has their own demons to face based on what they are taught but we can get a grasp on some of the major ones for our society. Remember they will likely be different ones for other societies though. But Debug Reality is focusing on Western society because I think we are the ones suffering most from not understanding happiness and we also have the most resources to share should we learn to understand it.

Finding your way to helping others

The third point relates to when you have conquered all or most of your demons, you understand yourself and what causes you to be unhappy and you know how to deal with most things that come up. This frees up a lot of energy that you used to spend on dealing with your problems. It's like being super charged but with that comes an understanding that this is just the beginning of the next part of your life. It's like growing up for real, and it is time to start living in the real world.

First we need to get used to helping others, its hard! I was brought up being told I needed to look after myself, I was selfish and self centered. It's a hard habit to break! But what else can you do? You believe people deserve to be happy, you believe people are equals, you can see their suffering and you have a lot of energy to give.

The next question is OK but how? The most common answer seems to be - write a book! But I want to do something different - write some inspired computer programs and create an altruistic business that will hopefully to help people long after I'm just dust in the ground

If your share my humble vision, please fell free to drop me an email. I'm very much open to collaboration and partnerships!

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