Modeling Happiness

Note to future self…

In the past I’ve written about happiness and its properties. Today I want to write a short note on a simple model for happiness:

Happiness = Reality – Expectations


Reality = Current Circumstances (e.g. time, capital, constraints, etc.)

Expectations = Believe of what current circumstances should be

This way of thinking about happiness clearly suggests that the only thing we should worry about is reducing our expectations. We will always be better off if we can

The model also accounts for the fact that you become happier when your current circumstances improve. A better version of this model might be the “square” of your reality – expectations. This could account for the fact that improvements in your reality have a diminishing marginal effect on your happiness. This is what that looks like:

$$Happiness = \sqrt{Reality} – Expectations $$


Trying to model happiness might be a futile attempt. It might be an irrational exercise by someone who realizes that happiness is what we all want at the end of the day.

Now back to work…