May 2008

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Judith is feeling pain and suffering...

Please allow me to add something:

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology that Abraham Maslow proposed in his 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation,[1] which he subsequently extended to include his observations of humans' innate curiosity.

Maslow studied exemplary people such as Albert Einstein, Jane Addams, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Frederick Douglass rather than mentally ill or neurotic people, writing that "the study of crippled, stunted, immature, and unhealthy specimens can yield only a cripple psychology and a cripple philosophy."[2] Maslow also studied the healthiest one percent of the college student population. This subjectivity troubled even Maslow himself. In his book, "The Farther Reaches of Human Nature", Maslow writes, "By ordinary standards of laboratory research...this simply was not research at all. My generalizations grew out of my selection of certain kinds of people. Obviously, other judges are needed."

While Maslow's theory was regarded as an improvement over previous theories of personality and motivation, it had its detractors. For example, in their extensive review of research that is dependent on Maslow's theory, Wahba and Bridgewell [3] found little evidence for the ranking of needs that Maslow described, or even for the existence of a definite hierarchy at all. Chilean economist and philosopher Manfred Max Neef has also argued that fundamental human needs are non-hierarchical, and are ontologically universal and invariant in nature - part of the condition of being human; poverty, he argues, is the result of any one of these needs being frustrated, denied or unfulfilled.


You should check out the AIR Equation: The 3-Part Formula for Happiness. Great take on this formula debate. Says happiness comes from Acceptance + Inspiration + Respect, hence the AIR acronym.

attract wealth

I found your post really interesting and it has really improved my knowledge on the matter. Thank you!


The page on meaning is entirely wrong. It is when you accomplish something that life starts to go downhill. Accomplishment is like a drug; it can only make your life worse in the long term, which providing you with a quick boost. The key to meaning is to find something you can do and enjoy for as long as it takes to find the next meaningful task. It is the idea that you must add value to society to be happy (which is true for most comfortably surviving people), and it depends on ADDING value, not HAVING ADDED value.

Withheld in Fear of Punishment

Happiness causes success. That's why my employer spends so much time making people unhappy. If the peons were happy, they would be successful, then they would ask for more money and clean carpet.

Gretchen Rubin

This is a fascinating formula. I want to digest it, to see how it fits with my working formua for happiness, which tackles the question from a different angle. What do you think of my attempt?

"To think about being happy, you need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth."

I.e., work to have more fun, joy, love, etc. -- work to have less anger, guilt, remorse, etc. -- work to live the life you feel is "right" for you -- and work to create an atmosphere of growth, progress, and learning.

Clunky, I know, but gets in all the important ideas.

Be happy! Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project blog


Life's good! Always remember that!

John R. Ingrisano

Happiness causes success, not the other way around. That's a quality point to ponder off and on for a day or so. I also think it is true. I've been more or less successful without being happy. But I've always been successful when I've been happy.

The Freestyle Entrepreneur

Christa Bedwin

One of my friends, to whom I forwarded the suggestion to read your splendid blog, has said this:

If success depends on happiness, how am I to succeed? I need to do some serious consideration of my future, and meanwhile I need to be planning for next year as well. what gives. Tell Scott Adams he should write a blog telling me exactly what to do, because I'm feeling incapable and terrified of making a decision.

So I'm telling you, Scott Adams, can you please tell my friend exactly what to do? Maybe me, too.

I learned at a high price that, in fact, contrary to what I believed before, other people CAN take away your happiness, unless you're the most detached and zen-like zombie in the world, and so -- how does one succeed out of the hole of despair, eh?

Could you write us a formula for the ladder for that?




I was just wondering... if you add all the personal happinesses (regardless of how they are quantified) in any given country into one huge ball of extreme happiness, will you then get a GNH as described here:

Gross national happiness


I like your Wiki idea. Let's hope the "money" section is developed to the point where we all learn to successfully evade taxes. That would be the beginning of true happiness.


ugh. Scott, please write more about your happiness formula yourself, rather than let the monkeys destroy it...

Paul O

Already the wiki page is showing the weakness of the medium: a few "bullies" (for want of a better word) have decided what the output will be, but still lay claim to this being an "open, collaborative" work.

Which it most emphatically is not.


A fine example of your theory is the one explained by one of the founders of Greenpeace. He quit his own organization when the wacko socialists flooded in when the Berlin wall fell. He claims that these angry assholes couldn't work up a good hate boner anymore by bashing capitalism so they needed a new windmill to spear. They somehow blended their bullshit and ruined the original Greenpeace concept. These are people who need to maintain a certain level of unhappiness by clumping together with equally vicious people and squashing anyone who does that glass half-full shit.
I live in an affluent area where I constantly see tiny little kept women driving rolling aircraft carriers while talking on a cell phone and yelling at urchins. Money and success alone doesn't do it maybe its that ignorance is bliss thing.

Billy B

You monkeys are very interesting. I would be happier if about half of you died and stopped screwing up and over populating this world.
Billy B


I love the way you try and find meaning for your ultimately meaningless lifel

Two Unicycles

In response to:

Let me lend yet another voice, though, Scott, to the "please make comments posting-order rather than reverse-chron" chorus?

Try scrolling to the bottom of the comments and read from bottom to top. A little less convenient but 100% effective.

So life is about "the pursuit of happiness" - oh dear. Put the kettle on, let's have a nice cup of tea.



You rock :) . I saw pursuit of happyness. It was wonderful. You may like it too.

- Saj


Formula for Happiness. Nice Concept :)

- Shailesh

Peter Payne

To Steve, if you read Scott's books you see that > 50% of his material is ideas he's had or used before, which he's developing, as anyone would. He's revisited affirmations (which always seem to work in reverse for me, hence I treat them as anti-affirmations) several times in the Dilbert Future (his best book IMHO), God's Debris and here.

It's true what Obi Wan Kenobi said, that your point of view determine's your reality. My neice went through a very negative time as a teen-ager, and did the opposite of whatever we asked her to do. She met a guy off the Internet, gave up all her dreams and married him, and now lives on Oregon. She's now a very negative person, and *literally* has a constant stream of bad news for me every day, like "Grandma Linda was told by the doctor that she's dying" or "Aunt Whatever has skin cancer." Every day it's something new, which can't possibly be based on actual reality. I'm sure that if she could change her attitude, her approach to life, she could have much more happiness.


A quote of Sri Sri
"Happiness is a quality of consciousness. It does depend on matter, but to a far greater degree, it depends on attitude and understanding… Living the spiritual values makes your personality solid and strong"


I've never met an unhappy optimist. Your formula creates an environment conducive to happiness, like good soil for a tree, but one of the biggest oak trees I've ever seen was rooted in the middle of a huge rock. While all of these elements can contribute to happiness, none of them are essential in any way. Except maybe Meaning.


today is a good day because you managed to work a pun into the today's strip. Thank you :)

Joshua Scheid

This is entirely unrelated to your happiness formula, but I think I just solved global warming with one of two options:

(1)To appease environmentalists, let's stop producing toilet paper. Gross, you might say, but we can use bidets instead. Besides, bidets are cooler and supposedly cleaner. Once everyone is using bidets, we will be using so much extra water that the ocean levels will drop. That way when the ice caps melt and the sea levels rise, our net effect will be zero. If we get really smart scientists on the issue we could coordinate the two rates of bidet water usage and ice cap melting to be equal so that we will never notice a difference in the ocean level.

(2)When the ice caps melt, why can't we just store the excess water and ship it to the moon or mars. Either one gives us a good incentive to build a space colony.

Billy B

I was happy with the world, more or less, until I started paying attention to it. Before that fucking George Bush started fucking with the world.
Billy B

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