The Pursuit of Happiness 


Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, the core of American Declaration of Independence.  A worthy, universal and shared/selfevident truth.  But how does one know when one is happy.  What does one need to do to not only grasp, but hold onto to this brasss ring?  Some days feel like the drudgery of one groundhog day lived after another until we finally, maybe get it right. Remember the movie Ground Hog Day, starring Bill Murray?

Phil: Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi writes on a path to happiness in his book Finding Flow.  Flow is the optimum path from cognitive dissonance to cognitive resonance. Or in simpler terms, from being sad to being happy. Worth watching is  Mihaly’s TEDTalk on Flow, the Secret to Happiness.

Steven Kotler, author of The Rise of Superman,further extends Mihaly’s work in this brief video ~ What Makes You Happy.

Wisdom is additive. For the past several years, I’ve been dabbling in my own application model of happiness, of flow, and landed on the concept of Karma as a path from dissonance to resonance.   Here is my explanation of Karma = Vibe x Groove.

Note: The Oxford English Dictionary is the cited source for all definitions.

Karma: the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.

Vibe: a person’s emotional state or the atmosphere of a place as communicated to and felt by others.

Groove: an established routine or habit.

The model itself looks like this.


Copyright 2016: RMSmithJr/WickedGoodHR.com

How to apply this model.   First, determine your groove.  Is your current routine in a state of;

  1. Chaos
  2. Frequent interruption
  3. Steady
  4. stable
  5. Flow: time passes without notice

And then, what is your vibe/emotional state?

  1. Assitude, rage, malcontent
  2. Simmering bad mood, discontent.
  3. calm content
  4. Happy
  5. Joy

Karma scoring

  •  RED:         1 – 5: Danger: excuse yourself from contact with everyone
  • YELLOW: 6 – 10: Caution – you need to take a walk
  • GREEN:   11-15: Stable, exercise prudence
  • BLUE:       15 – 20: Strive for purpose
  • PURPLE:   21-25: Mindful alignment with the universe

This model is only the beginning. Further improvement may be needed over time.

In reality, after reading Finding Flow, it is similarly to the data collection model that Mihaly used to assess what he calls psychic energy ~ the spot assessment of where one is along the flow channel from apathy to ecstasy.   Another way of saying the same thing, the path for cognitive dissonance to cognitive resonance.

What’s next?  Personal self assessment. At times throughout the day, assess your Vibe & Groove to determine your Karma.

Then, consider reading Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  and then The Rise of Superman by Steven Kotler.
People who learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives, which is as close as any of us can come to being happy.  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, 1990

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