James Montier: To Be Happy

An excerpt from James Montier:

If you are after specific investment advice, stop reading now. We seek to explore one of Adam Smith’s obsessions: what it means to be happy. We also discuss why that’s important to investors, and how we can seek to improve our own levels of happiness. The list below shows our top ten suggestions for improving happiness.

  • Don’t equate happiness with money. People adapt to income shifts relatively quickly, the long lasting benefits are essentially zero.
  • Exercise regularly. Taking regular exercise generates further energy, and stimulates the mind and the body.
  • Have sex (preferably with someone you love). Sex is consistently rated as amongst the highest generators of happiness. So what are you waiting for?
  • Devote time and effort to close relationships. Close relationships require work and effort, but pay vast rewards in terms of happiness.
  • Pause for reflection, meditate on the good things in life. Simple reflection on the good aspects of life helps prevent hedonic adaptation.
  • Seek work that engages your skills, look to enjoy your job. It makes sense to do something you enjoy. This in turn is likely to allow you to flourish at your job, creating a pleasant feedback loop.
  • Give your body the sleep it needs.
  • Don’t pursue happiness for its own sake, enjoy the moment. Faulty perceptions of what makes you happy, may lead to the wrong pursuits. Additionally, activities may become a means to an end, rather than something to be enjoyed, defeating the purpose in the first place.
  • Take control of your life, set yourself achievable goals.
  • Remember to follow all the rules.

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3 thoughts on “James Montier: To Be Happy

  1. Great points! Most people think that money will make them happy. But as soon as they get it they discover otherwise.

    I think happiness comes from enjoying the moment and from fulfilling our destiny. Enjoying the moment brings pleasure to our daily (and hopefully hourly!) life. Fulfilling our destiny allows to look back on our whole life and know that it was well lived.

  2. Could also explain why people who do make money cannot hold on to it. Take the huge no. of lottery winners for instance…

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