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Happiness Maths

Updated: Sep 5, 2020



Since I already missed my previous train to Brussels, it was important to get into this one, despite it being too crowded. Waiting for next one would have made me late for my meeting. So, I somehow made my way in and fortunately managed to get a corner seat. Driven out of habit, took my laptop out of my bag, and started working, with bag placed safely, below the seat in front.  At the Antwerp station, more crowd got in – one of those too busy days. Anyway, I was comfortably working on my laptop and in between made few calls. Whenever I travel, invariably check all my belongings frequently. So as soon as I hung up this call, checked my passport, mobile, residence card and……..…. oh my god……… my bag is not there. It was right below the seat in front of me, its no longer there now. I was shocked, checked again here and there, all around ….no its gone. Somebody stole my bag. I heard of such thefts earlier, but now it has happened to me. Oh god, why me? Now I started assessing the loss …. what have I lost – my Airpods, Laptop charger, my MontBlanc Pen, Mobile chargers, ID cards…..hey worst of all my old passport. OH MY GOD, what a loss. It’s a disaster.


Right then, something told me, from within – is it really a disaster? Please quickly resort to “Happiness Maths”.


So then I started thinking what is not stolen – my passport and residence card is with me (Great, isn’t it!!), my laptop is with me (so I can attend all the meetings/presentations today and my data is safe), my overcoat is with me (so I am fine in this cold weather). So, I am not as bad as I was few minutes back.


Then I started thinking what if would have lost these things – then it would have been a real disaster – I mean without laptop, how would have managed my meetings today with important customer!! What if I lost my passport/visa in foreign land, thank god it’s still with me? I was feeling better now.


Then the third round of thoughts – how will I manage without the things I lost –I can use laptop charger and phone charger of my colleagues in Brussels. So I am good. Airpods were anyway getting old, now I have a decent reason to upgrade to latest airpods. I will get new ID cards issued, thank god it’s a simpler process. And it continued for some more time, till I was feeling much relieved and better.


I call this process my “Happiness Maths”. Whenever something bad happens or is not going my way, I resort to this technique of mental addition and subtraction of what I gained, what worse could have happen, how will I manage etc and  this iterative process continues till I am in PLUS i.e. the state of feeling much better. So, the end result is fixed, and number of thought iterations depends on the type of loss, and of course how well one has mastered this maths.


You may argue that its fudging or fooling myself. But think about it, if I don’t do this, I will continue to feel bad for longer, curse myself, which will impact my mood and self-confidence. Then it will reflect on my behaviour towards my customer, my team and more importantly my family. Then a feeling of further dejection caused by monetary loss (depending on type of loss) and helplessness and so on.  Its really not worth it.


I haven’t mastered this science (or perhaps it is an art), but I keep on trying……….. Why don’t you try this? Hopefully you will feel better.  

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