What 95% Of People Don’t Understand About Happiness

Most people miss this critical aspect.

smiling girl sitting in flower field Kosamtu / Getty Images via Canva

I wish we lived in a world where everyone would deserve to be happy. But I’ve come to realize that we don’t live in that world. We’re not entitled to happiness.

I know for a fact that very few people understand how happiness works. And I like to believe that I do. This is not to egoistically convey that I’m so knowledgeable or whatever. In fact, just the opposite.

RELATED: If You're Serious About Changing Your Life, Stop Doing These 20 Things


I consider myself immensely fortunate to understand how happiness works. I’ve learned to find immense meaning and fulfillment in life. And again, it’s not even about me.

I was lucky enough to have a brother who forced me to read. I was fortunate enough to have found the right books and lessons. I’m grateful that I was told by the universe what it means to be happy.


Since the universe told me, I’m a mere receiver of this knowledge, which is why I refuse to take all the credit for living a happy life. If I were not told by the universe what happiness is and how it works, I would have had a crappy life.

But I don’t. I’m happy. And in the past few months, I’ve generated immense compassion for people because as I like to see it, the universe didn’t teach most of them to be happy.

I see people screwing up their lives, and I used to judge them earlier, trying to score points in some made-up game. But now, I see people through glasses of compassion which is why I feel it’s my responsibility to share the truth.

Just a few days ago, a junior from my college used some pictures of a girl from my college to set up some sort of sex-chat account on Instagram charging people money for video calls.


The old me would have judged him and wanted him to be punished. However, I now believe that while he needs to understand that there are consequences to his actions, more than that, I think he needs to be helped.

Because as I see it, he came into this world as an infant. And infants, by definition, don’t know anything. Literally nothing. As they grow up, they learn by observing their surroundings. They’re programmed. And this guy, unfortunately, was a victim of bad programming.

Which I think on some level, many people are. Because not many people are truly happy. Happiness, while I wish it were the norm, is an exception, which is why I see it as a duty to share the truths of happiness.

You Have to Respect The Reward Systems of Your Brain to Be Happy

RELATED: 3 Unique Japanese Concepts That Will Instantly Transform Your Life


Human reward systems were built so that they can survive in the wild. A desire for food and shelter was inbuilt into human brains. And when the human worked hard to get food through hunting or farming, he felt rewarded.

The reward system was necessary so that humans went out for food again. We may not live in the wild anymore, but our brains don’t know that. They still function on the same evolutionary reward systems.

If you don’t respect the reward systems, you can bid happiness farewell.

Respecting your reward system comes down to two words: hard work. And I don’t mean working hard, career-wise. I mean, life-wise.

Working hard on your relationships. Working hard on your career. Working hard on your body to get in shape. Working hard on your desires.


You work hard, you get what you wanted, and you feel rewarded. That feeling is called happiness. It’s the most straightforward rule of life which people fail to understand.

I don’t know why. There are hundreds of podcasts, thousands of books, and millions of articles on happiness, yet only 5% of people are truly happy. I’m willing to bet that the number is even less than that.

It’s like the world is saying, “Hey! Here’s how to live a happy and fulfilling life” and people respond to that with a, “Nah! I’ll Pass.”

Please, do yourself a favor and realize the fact that happiness is not something you deserve. It’s something you have to go and get for yourself. You have to fight for your happiness.


And you do that by working hard for your desires.

You Need to Adopt a Happiness Bias

A few weeks ago, I realized that I’m biased toward happiness. Because every time the world tells me that it’s time to be unhappy, I’ve learned to yell back, “No, it’s not! It’s time to be happy.”

I don’t mean to say I don’t get unhappy ever. But I have learned to develop genuine control over my happiness. I have this massive influence over my mood.

RELATED: 48 Realistic Laws Of Happiness To Manifest A Truly Content Life

More importantly, my influence on my happiness dominates the world’s effect on my happiness. External influence over my happiness is dwarfed by internal influence.


And let me tell you something, it feels fantastic to be in such a position. I’m excessively fortunate to be in such a position.

In an attempt to break it down further, I realized that this happiness bias that I have is based on two critical clichés that you’re probably bored of hearing again and again.

But hopefully, I’ll try to plant these seeds in your head in a way that they grow up to be immortal trees.

Why people are still unable to use gratitude to bring happiness

You’re sick of hearing about gratefulness, aren’t you? But let me explain to you why people are still unable to use gratitude to bring happiness.

According to Buddhism, there are three levels of wisdom.

  • Received wisdom: Wisdom that is shared with you.
  • Intellectual wisdom: When received wisdom makes logical sense to you.
  • Experiential wisdom: When that wisdom is embedded in your subconscious. This is when a person truly becomes wise.

If gratefulness isn’t making you happy, I’m afraid you’re stuck at the level of intellectual or even received wisdom. Most people are. I was too.

The problem is, 95% of your life comes from your subconscious. You operate more out of habit than consciousness.

And gratefulness hasn’t reached many people’s subconscious yet which is why they’re unhappy. Mind you, people understand gratefulness consciously, yet it hasn’t yet manifested for them subconsciously.

But don’t worry. There’s a way to convert this intellectual wisdom into experiential wisdom. One word: practice. When you take some time out to be grateful every single day, you slowly rewire your subconscious to be grateful.


And then, it becomes a habit to be grateful. Which, in turn, translates to a habit to be happy.

RELATED: 4 Rare Traits Of People Who Know How To Think For Themselves

I tied a ribbon to my toothbrush to remind myself to be grateful every day. As I watch myself in the mirror, I think about how lucky I am.

I’m so lucky to have teeth. I’m so fortunate to have eyes and own a mirror. God. I’m so blessed to have legs that I’m standing on right now and arms that I can use to move this toothbrush across my face.

Gratefulness is the key to living a happier life.

But this is another pillar without which your happiness bias will collapse to the ground.


Think about it this way. Whatever happens in life has ten different consequences. Nine of them may be bad, but at least one is bound to be something good.

With optimism, you turn a blind eye to those nine bad outcomes and focus on the one good outcome. That brings happiness.

However, sometimes that one good outcome may also not be readily evident. In that case, my advice would be to wait. It’ll show up eventually.


I remember when I didn’t get accepted into my dream college. In fact, I was accepted into the least-rated medical college in the state and in a city that I didn’t like at all. Nothing good came out of that.

My optimism seemed to have failed me. I used to cry in the washrooms. However, fast forward a few months, and I ended up meeting the love of my life in that college.

And the funny thing was, she was just as devasted to have gotten into that college as I was, and she was just as happy to have found me as I was to have found her.

Optimism didn’t fail me in the long run, and it will never fail you. I promise.

Also, the rules of experiential wisdom apply here too. With practice, optimism too will get entangled within the nerve fibers of your brain, and your life will elevate to godly levels.


Happiness is the exception, not the norm. You have to understand the rules of happiness to be happy.

Respect the reward system. Happiness is a feeling that one generates when that person is rewarded. And to create rewards, you have to work hard on your desires.

Create a happiness bias. The two pillars of happiness bias are gratefulness and optimism. As cliché as they may be, they indeed are the keys to creating a happier life.

RELATED: 4 Highly Specific Strategies To Become The Most Intelligent Person In Any Room

Akshad Singi, M.D. has been published in Better Humans, Mind Cafe, and more.