Happiness Islands and the 80/20 Principle

happiness islands

Happiness Island… say what? I wrote this post originally seven years ago, and may not have happened back upon it if it wasn’t for Pat Flynn’s recent podcast on deleting/re-visiting old content (if you have a blog, it’s definitely worth a listen).

Many of my original posts make me cringe; the writing, the bravado, the idea that my 23 year old self had so much to *teach* others… all makes me LOL now (as perhaps this will again in ten years). This post, however, made me re-assess my own Happiness Islands and I wanted to share the concept with you.

The concept comes from the book The 80/20 Principle, one of my staple “must reads” and a modern understanding of Pareto’s Law. The gist is that 80% of results come from 20% of input. This applies to business, economics, agriculture, crime and even personal happiness.

Understanding your Happiness Islands

What the 80/20 principle says about Happiness Islands is that 20% of your actions that bring you 80% of pleasure experienced. Look back over time and think about the things that really make you happy. These do not have to be monumental experiences, they can be as simple as:

  • walking the dog on the beach
  • spending an hour in the sun
  • enjoying a slow dinner with your significant other
  • reading a book to your baby

Or as eccentric as:

  • researching proof of alien life
  • free diving amongst the best coral reefs
  • mastering the art of Chindogu 

Regardless what those things are, the chances are you spend the vast majority on other things—that give you far less happiness—and squeeze your Happiness Islands into whatever time you have left.

By attempting to deduce the commonality between these events, or Happiness Islands, you can super charge your happiness and experience more joy. Alternately by looking at all the stuff that is not a Happiness Island, then doing your best to minimize it (by delegating, axing or automating) you will free up more time for joy-producing activities.

Simple practice:

Each day write down at least one thing that really brought you joy and made you happy. Seven days later see if you notice trends. Commit to upping the time you spend on your “Happiness Islands” just 10% and to do that find ways to automate, delegate or delete the things in your life that aren’t hacking it.

If you’d like help creating an action plan on what to minimize or get rid of, it’s something I’m particularly keen on and would love to help. Connect with me through Clarity.fm and we can set up an hour deep dive.