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Happiness book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. In this groundbreaking book, Matthieu Ricard makes a passionate case for.
Table of contents

Waypower is basically the belief that you know how to affect change.

Willpower has a more or less classical definition; you can find out more about this in the book titled Willpower. I read in Building Trust: In Business, Politics, Relationships and Life that many people know what trust is until you ask them to define it. I believe a similar thing happens when you ask someone to define joy.

Happiness: A Guide To Developing Life's Most Important Skill

Rarely would someone respond with a clear definition to this question. Even in The Book of Joy , definitions for joy are hard to come by. What is most frequently shared for joy is something shallower, more incidental, and fickle — pleasure. Where pleasure is about the moment, joy is about the enduring characteristics of a person or situation.

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  • Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill.

Ricard explains that joy is the outward expression of the happiness that a person feels inside. It is happiness radiated on to others. We are quite literally and figuratively the center of our universes.


We see everything from our eyes and construct reality through our senses. Our brain is designed to make leaps of inference. The ability for us to predict what will be next is a remarkable feat of evolutionary engineering. Evolution even equipped us with tools to help us adjust our prediction failures — to refine the efficacy.

Jokes, it seems, are designed to test our predictive capacity. Laughter is the response to a failure to correctly predict — at least in a comedy club. See Inside Jokes for more. See Change or Die for more on our ego defenses.

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When we see ourselves in a distorted way — by failing to accept all of ourselves — we perceive the world in a distorted way. If happiness is a skill, then how do we develop it? In other words, how do we construct happiness. The answer is a sort of side-step. Lakshmi is the traditional Goddess of Wealth. If you go after her by pursuing self-knowledge, wisdom and all that goodness , an interesting thing happens.

It turns out that happiness may be naturally attracted to wisdom in the same way that wealth is attracted to knowledge. A different way of thinking about this, and the approach that Ricard takes is that if a wise man can be happy, then happiness must be possible. In other words, he solves the belief that happiness — sustained happiness — is unattainable. If there are wise men who were previously not happy but now are, then our ability to reach happiness is a measure of our willingness to pursue the wisdom that leads to it.

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  • "Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill?
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  • Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill.
  • Matthieu Ricard.

Obtaining wisdom is not necessarily a straight path either. However, it is a known path. Hard work and dedicated practice can make anything possible — even wisdom and happiness. See Peak for more on how to reach the pinnacle of any endeavor. From the outside looking in, it appears that people who are happiest have overcome their negative emotions and have controlled their emotions into a channel of only positive experiences.

However, this view is not correct — at least for those that I know. Daniel Goleman — who wrote the foreword for Ricard — would likely agree, as this aligns with his beliefs about the development of Emotional Intelligence. That is the person is so integrated in their thoughts and feelings that they play together rather than as separate ideas.

Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill

That may be because according to Buddhism all types of mental activity, including rational thought, are associated with some kind of feeling, be it one of pleasure, pain, or indifference. Another way to think about this process is the idea of controlling emotions without repressing them. Upcoming SlideShare. Like this presentation?

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No notes for slide. Description This step-by-step guide to achieving happiness is the most significant book of its kind since Daniel Goleman's runaway bestseller,Emotional Intelligence. It is hard to imagine a more convincing guide to that elusive thing: happiness' Pankaj Mishra.