Millennials (Pt. 4): The Happiness Equation

Happiness = Reality – Expectations.

Let’s talk a little more about the “Why Millennials are Unhappy” article by Tim Urban, which starts out with this premise. You read the article and accept it at first, but I’m going to critique it and say that’s not QUITE true.

Let’s look at this equation. Like I said in my last post, many young people dream too big in the short run and too small in the long run. This equation leads one to be a pessimist. Think about it. The way to maximize my happiness is to make expectations as low as possible. That’s called being a pessimist. The strange thing about your brain, which is physiologically proven, is that you see what you’re looking for.

Expectations are like your appetite. The more candy you eat, the more you want. The less Coke you drink, the less you want it. Though I’m a self-confessed dark chocaholic (yes, chocaholic is in the dictionary), I haven’t had a full can of Coke in years. I have no appetite for it. Why? I haven’t had one in years. It’s a cycle.

Both good and bad things happen to you each day. If your expectations—that is, your palate—is set for the negative, then your search will certainly be rewarded, and you’ll continue to anticipate as such. If you have the mindset that something good will happen today, you will probably praise God when the cook messes up your order at the restaurant since you get a free meal out of it. It’s a beautiful thing.

Now, this is not Law of Attraction mumbo-jumbo. I’m not prosperity gospel preaching, either. I’m simply submitting that your expectation is like a magnifying glass. We all carry around little magnifying glasses every day. The world is full of beauty and ugliness, and you’ll get really good at looking at whatever you are looking for. Here’s the question: of which will you become a connoisseur? The beauty, or the ugly? Choose wisely.

The article also recommends you “ignore everyone else.” Tim, let me help you out a bit. What you’re trying to say is, “Don’t compare yourself with everyone else.” Author Bob Sorge says comparison is a terminal illness, and I agree. Comparison is the only way to turn a field of gorgeous roses into a bed of dry thistles. Stay off the drug of comparison. I would almost rather you do cocaine than compare yourself with people. At least cocaine uses you and throws you out in an undeniable way, yet millions live their entire 80 year lives as silent slaves to the demon of comparison.

That being said, I agree with many things in the article, particularly that hard work over time produces greatness. I want to shout in my generation’s ears, “This is a MARATHON! Keep running! Keep going!”

What do you think, readers? What’s your happiness equation? Let us hear your thoughts below!

Leave a Reply