The content below was recovered from archive.org
I discovered the amazing increasehappiness.com website in April 2010. When I went
back to read it again, I found it was gone and the domain was for sale. So, I
purchased it and recreated this website to help others. If you have questions or
feedback please email travis at increasehappiness dot com.
1. Increase Happiness
The goal of life is to Increase HAPPINESS, a condition that exists when PLEASURE exceeds PAIN. Pain includes any kind of cost or loss. Pleasure includes any kind of benefit or gain.
How do I Increase Happiness?
Make STRONG CHOICES. A Choice is anything you choose to think or do, and you make thousands of Choices daily. Most of them are habitual.
Every Choice is like a basket which contains both Pleasure and Pain. When you pick up the basket, you get everything inside.
- If you choose to overeat, you get the Pleasure of food, and the Pain of weight gain.
- If you choose to spend more than you earn, you get the Pleasure of acquisitions, and the Pain of debt.
- If you choose to cheat on your spouse, you get the Pleasure of sex, and the Pain of a broken commitment.
A WEAK CHOICE gives you more Pain than Pleasure and reduces your Happiness. A STRONG CHOICE adds more Pleasure than Pain to your life, and Increases your Happiness.
How do I improve my Choices?
You can try to change your Choices the hard way – through willpower and determination. Most people have tried that method to lose weight, save money, or break a bad habit. Results are mixed, but often unsuccessful.
A better way to change your Choices is to first change your VALUES. Choices flow from
Values. When you improve your Values, you improve your Choices.
You should focus on two types of Values. The first is DESIRES – what kinds of things you like.
You instinctively do what you like. Change what you like and you will change what you do.
The second type of Values is EXCUSES. Excuses prevent you from seeing all of the Pains and
Pleasures associated with your Choices. Eliminate Excuses and you will see Choices for what
How do I change my Desires?
Increase Happiness offers a method to change Desires so you
will make Strong Choices. The next step is to AFFIRM DAILY
What’s the catch?
There is a catch and it is part of your nature. It’s the SURVIVAL SYNDROME.
You share something in common with every other living thing: All of your direct ancestors
Survived long enough to reproduce. Survival is in your DNA. In fact, Survival is the simplest
form of Happiness – to Survive requires more life-helping Pleasure than life-harming Pain.
Survival works on several levels:
- MENTAL SURVIVAL. You need to remember who you are from one day to the next.
- PHYSICAL SURVIVAL. You need to meet physical requirements for life such as air, food, and water.
- SPECIES SURVIVAL. To reproduce, you need to master social conventions and mating behaviors.
SURVIVAL DESIRES are deep-rooted instincts to help meet your needs for Survival. The
Survival Syndrome is that even though Survival Desires can Increase Happiness, they can also
Decrease Happiness. For example:
- Mental Survival enables you to remember your good habits, but also locks you into your bad habits.
- Physical Survival encourages things like eating, which can also result in overeating.
- Species Survival provides sexual Desire, but Desire for the wrong person can produce far more Pain than Pleasure.
The challenge is to change your Desires and overcome the Survival Syndrome. To change your
Desires, you need to Affirm Daily
- The goal of life is to Increase Happiness.
- To Increase your Happiness, you must improve your Choices.
- Your Values determine your Choices. You need to Develop Desires and eliminate Excuses.
- According to the Survival Syndrome, Survival Desires can both Increase and Decrease your Happiness.
What kind of Happiness are you talking about?
All kinds. Happiness occurs on many levels.
You can be Happy about your choice for a snack, or your choice for a spouse. For Choices that
affect the rest of your life, the basket contains many Pleasures and Pains that might not be
obvious at first. IncreaseHappiness.com
will help you recognize opportunities for both shortterm and long-term Happiness.
What if I have a greater goal in life than personal Happiness?
Some people are willing to put
aside self-gratification for more noble goals. They sacrifice time, money, maybe even personal
safety so they might:
- Care for their family.
- Help the disadvantaged.
- Answer a higher calling.
Yet, no matter how much Pain you sacrifice, there is always a Pleasure to be gained. The
Pleasure might be simply the satisfaction of believing you did the right thing. People who choose
great Pains for such Pleasures have admirable Values, but ultimately, they are still in pursuit of
their own Happiness.
Many of us are taught that serving others is more important than personal Happiness. What we
should have been taught is that serving others is a route to personal Happiness.
What about Choices that involve nothing but Pleasure?
Some Choices might seem like pure
Pleasure to you, because your Values minimize the Pain. But every Choice involves at least one
sacrifice, which is that you could have chosen something else instead. The choice you make will
be a reflection of your Values.
What about people who inherit a lot of money?
Don’t they get Pleasure without Pain?
Inheriting money is not a Choice. Your life will include various Happy and unhappy events
beyond your control. Regardless of your environment, for you to Increase Happiness, you will
need to make Strong Choices.
What if I don’t want to be Happy all the time, like when I listen to the Blues?
is not the same as being giddy. Many people derive Pleasure from melancholy or bitter-sweet
emotions. Your Values might be such that even a certain sadness brings you more Pleasure than
Pain, and therefore increases a different kind of Happiness.
Does it matter that what is Painful or Pleasurable for one person might not be Painful or
Pleasurable for someone else?
What you find Painful or Pleasurable also depends on your
Values. Regardless of how you compare to anyone else, to Increase Happiness you will need to
change your Values by learning to Affirm Daily