Arthur C. Brooks: Cracking the Code to Happiness, The Biology of Intelligence, and Creating a Fulfilling Life | E192

Arthur C. Brooks: Cracking the Code to Happiness, The Biology of Intelligence, and Creating a Fulfilling Life | E192

Arthur C. Brooks: Cracking the Code to Happiness, The Biology of Intelligence, and Creating a Fulfilling Life | E192

One of the most common questions we ask ourselves is “am I happy?” Am I happy in this job? Am I happy in this relationship? Am I happy living in this city?

But what does happiness actually entail? How do we achieve true happiness?

When it comes to learning more about happiness, the best person to talk to is Arthur C. Brooks. Arthur is a social scientist who specializes in the science of human happiness. He is the bestselling author of 12 books that cover topics like human happiness and economic opportunity. He also hosts the “How to Build a Happy Life with Arthur Brooks” podcast and writes columns on happiness and human behavior for The Atlantic.

In this episode of YAP, Hala talks to Arthur about what true happiness consists of and why so many people are unhappy. They discuss how to turn trauma into happiness and healthy ways to manage negative emotions. Arthur also describes the difference between fluid and crystalized intelligence and why we should pivot from fluid to crystalized intelligence during the latter half of our lives in order to stay motivated and avoid burnout.


Topics Include:


– Why did Arthur start studying happiness?

– Arthur’s inspiration for his book, The Plane Story

– The myth of happiness

– What happens when you turn 40?

– Fluid vs. crystalized intelligence

– Keeping our brains healthy

– 4 types of career

– Striver’s curse

– What is happiness?

– The importance of finding your why

– Turning trauma and failure into happiness

– Habits of the happiest people

– Managing anger and other negative emotions

– The beauty (and danger) of rumination

– And other topics…


Arthur C. Brooks is a behavioral social scientist with a focus on human happiness. He is the William Henry Bloomberg Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School. Before joining the Harvard faculty in 2019, he served as president of the American Enterprise Institute, one of the world’s leading think tanks. is the author of 12 books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller “From Strength to Strength.” He gives more than 100 speeches each year around the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Alongside his podcast and his articles in The Atlantic, Arthur served as the subject of the 2019 documentary film “The Pursuit,” which Variety named one of the “Best Documentaries on Netflix” in August 2019. He was also selected as one of Fortune’s “50 World’s Greatest Leaders.”


Resources Mentioned:


Arthur’s Articles in The Atlantic:

The “How to Build a Happy Life with Arthur Brooks” Podcast:

Arthur’s Website:


Sponsored By:


Titan – Head to and get a free $25 investment into another one of Titan’s portfolios

Delta Air Lines – Visit to learn more.

The Jordan Harbinger Show – You can’t go wrong with adding The Jordan Harbinger Show to your rotation. It’s incredibly interesting, there’s never a dull show. Search for The Jordan Harbinger Show (that’s H-A-R-B-(as in boy)-I-N-(as in nancy)-G-E-R) on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Shopify – Sign up for a free trial at

Indeed – Visit to start hiring now.


Connect with Young and Profiting:


Text Hala: or text “YAP” to 28046

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

[00:00:00] Arthur Brooks: The husband was confessing to his wife that he might as well be dead. And I'm thinking, Whoa, what's wrong with this guy? When the lights go on and we all stand up, I turn around to get a look, and it turns out to be one of the most famous men in the world. The world tells you that if you are profiting, money, power, pleasure, fame, you're gonna be happy.

[00:00:19] And that's a bogus formula. If you look at these high performers throughout history, you know these superstars, you always in their biographies learn about the amazing things they do, but nobody ever asks, Were they happy when they died? When you look at a lot of really successful people, a lot of 'em died very unhappy.

[00:00:35] The sooner you could think about these issues, the more likely you're gonna have the whole cadence of your life in order so you could be happy young, happy middle, happy end. The happiest people have three things. They have enjoyment, they have satisfaction, and they have.

[00:00:53] Hala Taha: What's up YAP fam! It's your host, Hala Taha, and you are listening to YAP, Young and Profiting Podcast. The number [00:01:00] one education podcast and business podcast across all apps where we interview the brightest minds in the world and unpack their wisdom into actionable advice that you can use in your daily life.

[00:01:10] Thanks for tuning in and get ready to listen, learn and profit.

[00:01:26] Arthur, welcome to Young and Profiting Podcast. 

[00:01:29] Arthur Brooks: Thank you for having me. I've been looking forward to it. 

[00:01:32] Hala Taha: I am very excited for those listeners who are meeting you for the first time today. Arthur Brooks is a happiness expert, a Harvard professor, a social scientist. He's also a best selling author. Before he joined the Harvard faculty, he served as president of the Washington DC based American Enterprise Institute.

[00:01:50] It's one of the world's leading think tanks, and he did that for 10 years. He's also a columnist for The Atlantic and the host of the podcast, How To Build a Happy Life. His [00:02:00] latest book is Number one, New York Times Bestseller from Strength to Strength, Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life.

[00:02:08] And that's the theme of today's podcast. We're gonna talk about happiness, specifically, getting better at getting happy. So happiness is a topic we've covered on YAP before. We've spoken to experts like Gretchen Rubin, Rick Hanson, and today we have another incredible expert that is Arthur Brooks. And his material really hit me differently, I have to say.

[00:02:27] Arthur's content has so much depth. There's so many actionable takeaways and new ideas that I've never heard of before. And so Arthur, I'm super excited for this conversation and really appreciate the work that you've done in this face. 

[00:02:38] Arthur Brooks: Thank you. I can't wait to talk to your audience. This is a huge show.

[00:02:42] Congratulations on your unbelievable success. Are you happy? 

[00:02:45] Hala Taha: I am happy. I'm doing the work, but there are things that I learned from your work that I'm like, uhoh, I better start switching gears. We'll get into that, but let's start from the beginning of your happiness work journey. So based on my research, you studied the topic [00:03:00] of happiness when you were working at the American Enterprise Institute.

[00:03:03] Like I mentioned earlier, it's one of the world's leading think tank. What got you initially curious about happiness and why did you start studying it? 

[00:03:11] Arthur Brooks: I'm trained as a, so as a social scientist, a human behavior is what really interests me. And I've looked at a lot of different things. I've looked at beauty, why people think things are beautiful, why people love art.

[00:03:22] Later I looked at philanthropy and charitable giving, why people give to things that are really important to them. And at the kind of the tap root of both beauty and charitable behavior and generosity is happiness. People want to be happier. And a couple of decades ago I thought why am I not actually going to the root of this thing and frankly, why am I not studying the thing that I care about the most?

[00:03:43] We could all be happier. The truth of the matter is that I could be a lot happier. So I decided I was gonna turn my toolkit, the statistical power that I had acquired over the course of suffering through a PhD. For Pete's sake, I might as well use it for something really useful and [00:04:00] experiments and all the ways that are in social science and now, which is also merging with the field of neuroscience, using it for the things that people actually care about the most.

[00:04:07] So a few years ago when I actually stepped down as president of this think tank, and I took this current teaching position at Harvard University, I decided I was gonna spend the rest of my working life, maybe the rest of my life, writing, speaking, and teaching about how we can bring people together and lift them up in bonds of love and happiness, using science and ideas.

[00:04:26] And that's what I'm doing. 

[00:04:28] Hala Taha: Very cool. I can't wait to pick your brain on everything, happiness, but let's talk about the genesis of your book. So I learned that you actually got the idea to write this book and really go deep on happiness because you encountered an elderly couple on a plane. And so I'd love to hear that story and what you learned from that encounter.

[00:04:48] Arthur Brooks: Yeah, I get all of my ideas from overheard conversations, generally speaking. It's the world is my laboratory as a behavioral guy. So you know, if you're in a Starbucks line confessing to your best friend that somebody [00:05:00] just broke your heart, keep your voice down. Cause I might write a book about it.

[00:05:03] Hala Taha: Watch out. 

[00:05:03] Arthur Brooks: Yeah, totally. And so I was on a plane from LA to Washington, DC at flight that I did a lot because I was the CEO of this company and I had to go all over the country all the time. I was traveling constantly. And I was feeling a little bit insecure, to be honest. I was thinking, I'm gonna do this.

[00:05:17] It's going really well, but what's the end game? What am I trying to do here? I'm gonna, I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna get better at it. It's gonna be successful. I'm gonna do it every year. And then at some point I'm gonna stop. And then what? What am I working towards? We gotta work towards something.

[00:05:31] And I didn't have the answer to that. And it was stressing me out. And I heard this conversation one night in the midst to this existential struggle I was finding myself in, of this couple where I could tell by their voices, who was a man and a woman. I assumed they were a married couple, and I could tell that they were elderly by the sound of their voices.

[00:05:46] And the husband was confessing to his wife that he might as well be dead. And I'm thinking, Whoa, what's wrong with this guy? And then she's trying to console him. It's not true. He's Nobody cares. Nobody's listening to me. Nobody. Nobody [00:06:00] remembers me. I actually couldn't quite make out his words. I could only make out her answers so I could, I inferred from the conversation what he was saying.

[00:06:06] And I got this vision in my head of this guy. He must be somebody who's really disappointed with his life. He's not the kind of person that your audience is trying to be young and ambitious and getting ahead and profiting. He's probably somebody who missed all his opportunities and now time has passed him by and is too late.

[00:06:23] The flight ends and we land at Dulles Airport in Washington, and I'm curious. I'm not trying to be eavesdrop or anything. When the lights go on and we all stand up, I turn around to get a look, and it turns out to be one of the most famous men in the world. Everybody knows who this person is because of his exploits, in his heroic acts in the 1960s and 70s.

[00:06:43] He's very old now, but he's super rich and famous and justifiably he's not some controversial politician or actor or entertainer. This is somebody who really did amazing things much more than I'll ever do with my life. And it made me realize in that moment, I mean we're, people are recognizing him and the [00:07:00] pilot says as we're leaving. Sir, you've been my hero since I was a little boy, and he's beaming at that moment, but I heard him confessing to his wife just a little few minutes earlier.

[00:07:09] He might as well be dead. And it occurred to me that the world tells you that if you are profiting, if you're getting ahead, money, power, pleasure, fame, you're gonna be happy. And that's a bogus formula. There's a reason for it. It's not like somebody's trying to sell you a bill of goods. It's your own brain that's telling you that.

[00:07:27] Mother Nature tells you that. But mother nature lies. She doesn't care if you're happy. She wants you to survive and pass on your genes. If you can, she wants you to have 75 kids, but she doesn't care if you're happy. And so the result is happiness. That's in your hands. This guy didn't know that this guy, Oh yeah, it's gonna be great.

[00:07:45] The next thing. He was on the wheel of sort of the addiction to successes and trying to find satisfaction. He obviously never found it. I thought to myself, This is my life's work. I gotta crack this case. How could you be both successful and happy? [00:08:00] And I've really specialized in entrepreneurs and then very ambitious people.

[00:08:05] The people who are trying to get ahead, but who also need to be working on their happiness at the same time. I think that's what we can do and really help a lot of people's lives. That's what that little incident did for me. 

[00:08:17] Hala Taha: Yeah, and I think this is such a great way to set the stage for the conversation because a big part of your work is talking about this concept of the first wave of success versus your second wave of success.

[00:08:28] And actually our brains are biologically different and hardwire different before 40 and after 40. So I'd love to learn more about that because I think this really sets the tone for everything else. 

[00:08:39] Arthur Brooks: Yeah. A lot of people are starting to realize that a lot of psychology is actually biology. And we already know that a lot of biology is actually psychology.

[00:08:47] You gotta think about the right things and. Set the right goals and you can create a lot of your circumstances, which is really wonderful. But there's a lot of this, what's going on in your emotions in your life that actually has to do with the structure of your brain? And this is a perfect [00:09:00] case of that.

[00:09:00] We find that almost everybody listening to us, not everybody, but a lot of people are in their twenties, early thirties, who are listening to us. The structure of your brain is that you're climbing a curve of intelligence called fluid intelligence Now that has a lot of working memory, a lot of innovative capacity, and your ability to focus and get better at what you do, especially in kind of thinking and these kinds of skills, knowledge workers, idea people, that you get better and better at it all the way through your twenties and thirties. Your 10,000 hours, and you can just be killing it, especially by your late thirties and everybody listening notices this, that they're getting better and better and better and better.

[00:09:34] Here's the problem, That fluid intelligence of innovative capacity, working memory, ability to focus and concentrate, that suddenly starts to get worse after about age 40. It's funny I've looked Startup entrepreneurs and physicists and financial professionals and doctors, and everything.

[00:09:51] And it's 39 turns out to be this magic age when you're at your, the peak of your powers and then you start to decline. Now nobody's gonna notice it, [00:10:00] false. Nobody should freak out. Nobody will notice it except you. You'll notice in your mid forties that things aren't as fun as they used to be.

[00:10:08] This is the reason that people burn out. People burn out because they stop making progress. Humans are wired for progress. And when you stop making progress, you notice that you don't like what you were doing as much. This is, by the way, there's, this is a common principle in everything.

[00:10:23] One of, one of the things that we all know is very easy, relatively to lose weight, but it's impossible to keep weight off. So 95% of diets fail after a year. The reason is because making progress makes you happy. But when you hit your goal, the reward for hitting that goal is you never get to eat the things that you like for the rest of your life, which is not very impulsive.

[00:10:43] Everything is about progress, including getting better at work. So dentists, you find that they tend to, around age 43, they're like, I think I'm gonna start taking Fridays off at golfing. Didn't you love being a dentist? Yeah, but I don't know. I don't like it as much. Why? Because you're on the wrong side of your fluid intelligence [00:11:00] curve and things are not getting easier anymore than they used to it.

[00:11:04] That's super important. But there's good news, which is there's another intelligence curve behind it, and most people don't know about this. This is one of the key things that I write about. Most people listen to us, They're still climbing their fluid intelligence curve. But you gotta start making plans because at some point, if you wanna go from strength to strength in your life, you gotta be able to go from one curve to the other.

[00:11:25] The crystallized intelligence curve, we call it that. It's of your wisdom curve, your teaching curve. You don't have the same working memory, but you have this incredible pattern. You have this ability to tell stories based on knowledge that you know that you put together in your mind. You can assemble stuff in your mind, which makes you a very good manager, a very good mentor, a very good teacher, and if you can walk onto that curve in your mid forties, you're just gonna get better and better and better for the rest of your life.

[00:11:52] Literally, what people don't do is change. They don't change their careers. They don't change their jobs. They don't change the [00:12:00] emphasis, and they try to live in the past of their fluid intelligence, and it's a huge disaster. When you see somebody, I'm in my fifties. When you see somebody my age who's depressed and talking about the good old days and burnt out. It's because that guy is trying, or woman is trying to live on her fluid intelligence curve instead of getting onto the crystallized intelligence curve.

[00:12:19] Hala Taha: We'll be right back after a quick break from our sponsor. 

[00:12:23] Hey, Young and Profiteers. This episode of YAP is sponsored by LightStream. It is super exciting to start a new career, but debt can really hold you back when you're just getting started. And let me tell you something, YAP fam. Now is the time to pay off your credit card debt. Especially since interest rates just keep going up and up.

[00:12:42] Rather than trying to keep up with these rising interest rates. Pay off your credit cards with a low fixed rate loan from LightStream. A credit card consolidation from LightStream, can help you pay off your credit cards and lock in a low fixed interest rate. Rates start at five point 73% APR [00:13:00] with autopay and excellent credit.

[00:13:02] The rate you set at the time of taking out your loan is fixed, so it will. Ever go up. Whether your loan is $5,000 or a hundred thousand dollars or anything in between. There are absolutely zero fees. With LightStream, you can even get your money the day you apply for your loan. LightStream believes that people with good credit deserve a better loan experience, and they absolutely deliver on their promise.

[00:13:26] Just for my listeners, apply now to get a special interest rate discount and save even more. The only way to get this discount is to go to Again, that's, spelled light L I G H T S T R E A Subject to credit approval rates range from 5.73% APR to 19.99% APR and include a 0.5% autopay discount.

[00:13:54] Lowest rate requires excellent credit. Terms and conditions apply and offers are subject to change without [00:14:00] notice. Visit for more information. 

[00:14:03] This episode of YAP is brought to you by Invesco. In every episode of YAP, we turn wisdom from the brightest minds in the world into actionable advice. An effort to help you live out your most Young and Profiting life.

[00:14:18] Today our friends at Invesco are sharing some tips on using ETFs or exchange traded funds to beef up your finances. Why invest in ETFs? Because there's a solution for whatever your portfolio needs. Whether you're exploring ways to manage volatility, seeking income and diversification opportunities, or looking for tax management strategies.

[00:14:39] Invesco has over 200 ETFs to help you meet your financial goals. I consider ETFs to be lower risk investments because they hold a basket of stocks or other securities, which increases diversification. It's a great way to build a diversified portfolio. Discover the [00:15:00] [email protected]/ETFsolutions.

[00:15:00] That's Invesco with no T. Invesco Before investing, consider the fund's investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses. Visit for a prospectus with this information. Read it carefully before investing risks are involved with investing in ETFs, including possible loss of money.

[00:15:23] ETFs are subject to risks similar to those of stocks. Invesco distributors Incorporated.

[00:15:32] This is just so interesting. I've never heard of this before and I don't think I can basically guarantee that 90% of my listeners have not heard of fluid versus crystallized intelligence. So I love introducing new topics on the show. So I'm in my thirties now, and I have to say, when I heard about this fluid intelligence thing. I got really like nervous about everything because I'm like, Oh my gosh, I, It's like a biological clock.

[00:15:56] Same thing. Getting pressure to have kids. Now I feel like I have [00:16:00] pressure to do everything in podcasting that I need to do before I turn 40. Because you know I'm gonna start to decline. Is there anything that we can do in terms of like brain health to make sure that our fluid intelligence stays as healthy as it needs to be, until we want to make that transition to kinda have more agency over that shift?

[00:16:19] Arthur Brooks: Yeah, and the truth is that if you have a lot of fluid intelligence, cuz you're trying to do a lot with your life. You're gonna have it for a really long time. It's just not gonna be as acute as it was. And so the real problem is not that you lose your skills. The real problem is that you lose your enthusiasm because of progress.

[00:16:33] That's the real problem. I Burnout is not about getting worse at what you do. It's liking less the things that you do. So don't get me wrong. I mean you're gonna be, if you wanna be doing, getting, doing a really great job at what you're doing with your fluid intelligence. You could be killing it into your fifties.

[00:16:46] Absolutely. Even beyond. The key thing is remaining at this really high level of energy and enthusiasm and just love for what you do. And that's the reason that changing the emphasis, changing the focus earlier [00:17:00] is a good thing to do. Now, every job, every person can actually do that. So just absolutely maximize your fluid intelligence and be ready to shift from the startup entrepreneur to the venture capitalist, from the star litigator, to the managing partner, from the star researcher to the master teacher.

[00:17:19] That's really the kind of thing that's supposed to happen in your forties and fifties is very natural. It feels really good, and you're gonna have actually greater happiness because crystallized intelligence maximization at least a greater happiness, than fluid intelligence maximization does, cuz you're serving others. Which is such a beautiful thing.

[00:17:35] Now that said, back to your question. Everybody at every age should be doing what they can to maximize not just their brain health, but their quality of life through lucidity. Now the way to think about that is that it's like anything else. Your brain is part of your body. You have to take care of your brain the same way that you take care of your body.

[00:17:54] Now, there are a bunch of things that you can do and it really has a lot to do with exercise and [00:18:00] with sleep and with proper nutrition, and especially being very careful with intoxicants. A lot of people in their twenties and thirties, they don't want to hear this. And I'm gonna sound like they grumpy old guy.

[00:18:10] But let me tell you, this is the big mistake that I made. I drank way, way too much in my twenties. I was a classical musician. Everybody was drinking all the time around me, and I lost good years as a result of that. And I have the data now that shows that the number one predictor of relationship breakdown. Which is the number one predictor of declines in happy.

[00:18:29] Is actually misuse of addictive substances and behaviors. Getting addicted to, by the way, getting addicted to work is really bad too, but getting addicted to gambling, getting addicted to pornography, getting addicted to drugs and alcohol, this stuff is gonna wreck your relationship. So be very careful and it will degrade the quality of your brain, especially artificial intoxicants.

[00:18:48] So this is a key thing too. On top of that, you need to actually watch your weight. That's very important for both your gut health and your cognitive capacity. People's, I can think just as well, if I'm overweight, you [00:19:00] actually can't, It's very important that we take care of ourselves in this way.

[00:19:03] It's very important to exercise. Exercise is really a big part of unhappiness management. It doesn't make you happier, but it does mitigate the stress hormones and the sources of unhappiness in our lives. And so the basic rule is if you wanna get started on something like this. Make sure that you're paying very close attention to your addictions, that you're walking for an hour a day.

[00:19:24] And that you have your diet under control. These are the three things to actually start doing to give yourself maximum longevity, that will lead you to the kind of the best long term happiness plan. 

[00:19:33] Hala Taha: And I love that advice and it's so funny that you were just bringing up addiction and substances because one of the first, thoughts that I had when I learned about your work and learned about this concept of fluid intelligence was like. Damn, I wish I didn't party so much in my twenties, that I like started on this journey earlier.

[00:19:49] Is there any relationship to starting your career or your dream career later in life and keeping your fluid intelligence up? Because to your point, people get bored. I assume you're gonna get bored later [00:20:00] on if you started later. 

[00:20:02] Arthur Brooks: Yeah, that's a good question because different people have different trajectories for finding their professional passion.

[00:20:09] There's basically four different trajectories and they all relate to fluid and crystallized intelligence in different. The four basic ones are, there are people who have kind of transitory careers that kind ofop from thing to thing to thing to thing. And they just wanna be doing the minimum to make the rent and something that's adequately interesting.

[00:20:26] But most of their passion comes from outside their career. That's not Young and Profiting listeners mostly. We all know people like that, that are still living in the old neighborhood, et cetera, et cetera. Their mothers are very worried about them, et cetera. Okay. But the three that we really see a lot now again, fewer are gonna be in this next category with your listeners as well, is the steady state career.

[00:20:45] That's what your grandparents had. That's what my father had. He had one job with basically one employer all the way through his career. He was a college professor like me, but he was at one small liberal arts college in Seattle where I grew up. And he was there from the very beginning of his [00:21:00] career. To the very end of his sixties.

[00:21:02] He died young in his sixties. He had, 40 year career at the same place. And he didn't big get big raises. He didn't have big advances in his career. He has chugged along and did a little bit better and got better at what he was doing. Now, the two big careers that your audience are gonna have are what we call the linear career and the spiral career.

[00:21:20] The linear career is one where you're always going up. You change jobs only when it's promotion, only when it's more money. When it's more power. When it's more prestige, whatever it happens to be. And then you'll move, you'll stay if you can make advances where you are. You'll move if you can make advances, but you're staying in more or less the same field, in the same discipline, same set of skills, just getting better and better.

[00:21:42] A lot more people than they think are actually the spiral career. You'll take a hit in salary to do something that's very interesting to you and you can develop new skills. These are people that go from, I'm gonna go work in a presidential administration, then I'm gonna go work on Wall Street, and then I'm gonna take a big salary hip.

[00:21:57] Cause I'm gonna go work at a think tank. I'm gonna do this [00:22:00] interesting stuff where I have this basket of skills that I take from thing to try to create value, which is very meritorious. Now it looks like you're not gonna get better at a particular job. What you're getting better at is particular fungible skills in a whole world of different kinds of jobs.

[00:22:15] More people, I've got the data on this. Most people who are ambitious think they're linears. A lot of them are actually spirals. And when they're willing to say, I'm gonna walk away. I'm gonna have a 10 year career, and then I'm gonna go back to graduate school and I'm gonna change, and then I'm gonna go to a different kind of a sector and it's gonna cost me a bunch of money, but guess what?

[00:22:34] I saved up. Or maybe I'm just not wasting all my money having three cars when I can use one because I wanna have a more interesting life. So that's worth giving people in the twenties and thirties, it's worth giving some thought if maybe you're a spiral like me, by the way. 

[00:22:49] Hala Taha: I think I'm a spiral too.

[00:22:50] As you were explaining that, I was like I think that's me. Cuz I, I definitely have switched gears and to everybody listening, I hope this is motivation. If you're in your mid twenties [00:23:00] to actually start on your career because these are your best years to work and make money and be successful, so to speak.

[00:23:07] And then you can work on your second curve. So to further elaborate on this first curve, second curve, let's go through some actual real life examples. You give a lot of great examples in your book. Let's take Bach and Darwin cuz I think they're both two very distinct, different examples of how your life can go.

[00:23:24] Arthur Brooks: Yeah. And again, I'm gonna be talking about people who are either happy or unhappy at the end of their life. One thing that's really worth pointing out is I've studied a lot of biography to see this question. Everybody, if you look at these high performers throughout history, you know these superstars, you know the most famous people in history.

[00:23:41] You always in their biographies learn about the amazing things they do. But nobody ever asks were they happy when they died? And again, we gotta have goals. It's like he who dies with the most toys wins. That's idiotic. It's he who dies surrounded by the people who love her wins. He who she or he [00:24:00] who dies with great happiness and a sense of fulfillment wins.

[00:24:04] Forget the toys. Forget the buddy. None of us is so stupid to think that, and yet the world is telling you that. So let's not be fooled. When you look at a lot of really successful people, a lot of them died very unhappy as it turns out. And part of the reason is because of what I call the striver's curse.

[00:24:20] You find that about half of the population after age 70 gets happier and happier all the way to the end. And the other half gets unhappier all the way to the end and it's 50 50 basically. Now you'd think that the people on the upper branch or the people who were the most successful, it turns out that the people who are most successful worldly terms, they tend to be on the lower branch.

[00:24:39] And the reason for that is, number one, it's hard to live up to your own expectations. People who are number one, usually you have parents who are Hala yeah, you're an A student, you're a star performer. You're always gonna get the best grades. And especially the people are listening to us who come from really demanding, sometimes, immigrant families who came from nothing and are really working hard for their own kids.[00:25:00] 

[00:25:00] There's this tendency to put the kid on a pedestal and the kid will have a hard time living up to her or his expectations all throughout life. What happens is by the time you're 80, if you are identified as a high performer before 20, you're more likely to be disappointed with your life after 80.

[00:25:14] And the reason is cuz there's only one, number one, and you're usually not gonna be that. It's very disappointing when you're not. Second is if you do a ton with your life, when the party's over, you're gonna know it. If you're killing it, you're gonna notice when the party inevitably ends. And that's very disappointing.

[00:25:29] Hala Taha: And the way people treat you when you walk into a room and all that kind of stuff. 

[00:25:33] Arthur Brooks: Yeah. Yeah. This is what I do all day long. I'm working with people in the back half of their career. I'm getting 20 messages a day from people who read these major corporations. Okay buddy, I read your book now what do I do?

[00:25:44] What do I do? How do I design this thing? I've got it. And the answer is, the sooner you think about these issues, the more likely you're gonna have the whole cadence of your life in order so you can be happy young, happy middle, happy end. And it requires all the same sets of decisions, all the same sets of investments.

[00:25:59] So if you look like somebody [00:26:00] like Charles Darwin, look, if you've got the greatest natural scientist in history, he's one, two, or three. That's just the way it is. And yet, in the last 20 years of his career, he was trying to stay on his fluid intelligence curve of inventing new stuff, and he couldn't anymore.

[00:26:14] Part of it was that the science had gotten too sophisticated for him to understand in his own field. And so for the last 20 years of his career, he wasn't able to make any new innovations. And he was very depressed. He wrote 11 books in the end of his life, but he thought that they were all just repetitive and derivative and boring, and he wrote to his best friend, nothing gives him joy.

[00:26:33] And a lot of people wind up that way. They have these great careers and they're noted. I He's buried at Westminster Abbey as a hero, but he died thinking he was a disappointment. Now it doesn't have to be this way. 

[00:26:45] Hala Taha: That's so sad.

[00:26:46] Arthur Brooks: Oh yeah, totally. And it happens again and again.

[00:26:49] You find Nobel Prize winners in this category. I've got tons of them in my book that I talk about now. Now you look at other people like, I also give the case of Johann Sebastian Bach, the greatest composer of serious [00:27:00] art, music who ever lived. And most people listening to us, even if you don't care about classical music, you know who Bach is.

[00:27:05] He was the master of the high Baroque and Bach man. That guy was a man fully alive. He was the greatest innovator of his generation. He was a super productive. He also had 20 kids. 

[00:27:17] Hala Taha: Oh, wow.

[00:27:18] Arthur Brooks: Yes. Productive, isn't it? It was amazing it. But he was surrounded by love and he was really deeply into his religious faith and he loved music.

[00:27:26] And then just like Darwin, when he was about 50 years old, all of his innovative capacity seemed to evaporate. Cause it does, because you're not in your fluid intelligence curve. And so he redesigned his career as the greatest teacher of his generation. What Darwin should have done is Yeah, I'm probably not gonna come up with any interventions, so I'm gonna bring along the next generation and I'm gonna be revered and loved as a teacher.

[00:27:46] And that's what Bach did. He became the teacher at the a church called the Tomas Ki Leipzig in Germany. And he directed the choir. He taught the Oregon students. He was just beloved by, he was writing textbooks [00:28:00] instead of these original manuscripts that it was gonna blow everybody's mind. He didn't think he'd ever be famous again.

[00:28:05] Turns out a hundred years after he died, his manuscripts were rediscovered and now he's the star of the hyper oak. He would be shocked by that. His kids, when he died were way more famous than he was. Mozart said Bach is the father. We are the children referring not to the Bach that we know, but to what Bach's kids. 

[00:28:21] It's amazing. Yeah. Yeah. He died in relative obscurity, but happy surrounded by tons of kids and grandkids and students. And he was in love with his wife and life was just great because he was on his crystallized intelligence curve. And that's what we all gotta look forward to because we absolutely can be killing it with success and happy, but you can't leave it up to chance.

[00:28:43] You gotta design your life. 

[00:28:44] Hala Taha: I love all of this. So let's back up a little bit. So I think we, we got a really good foundation of first curve, second curve. I wanna talk about happiness in general. So let's talk about the definition of happiness, cuz you say happiness is not a [00:29:00] feeling. And I always assumed happiness was a feeling.

[00:29:02] So if happiness is not a feeling, what is it? 

[00:29:05] Arthur Brooks: So feelings are involved with happiness. Just like Thanksgiving dinner has smells. You walk into mom's house on Thanksgiving, you're like, Ah, it's gonna be awesome. I can smell it from the street. But that smell of the Turkey is not the Thanksgiving dinner.

[00:29:19] Happy feelings are not happiness. Their indication of happiness. Happiness is basically a combination of three things. The happiest people have three things. They have enjoyment, they have satisfaction, and they have purpose. These are not the same thing. Enjoying your life is a feeling of pleasure that you actually can become conscious of and have memories of.

[00:29:41] So it's not just drugs and alcohol or filling your belly with a Thanksgiving Turkey. It's the experience of doing things with people that you love. It's a conscious phenomenon and you need enjoyment in your life. You need pleasure plus higher consciousness and memory and relationship with other people is super important.

[00:29:58] Satisfaction [00:30:00] is the reward for the things that we want. wanted that thing. I got it. I wanted that promotion. I got it. I wanted that accomplishment and I got it. The problem with satisfaction, which is intensely joyful by the way. You know when something happened, you probably, when you got your millionth download from the show, you're like, Awesome.

[00:30:14] And five minutes later you were thinking about the second million. So you, It's very joyful and a life must have it, but it never lasts. 

[00:30:22] Hala Taha: Yeah. I'll be happy when, 

[00:30:24] Arthur Brooks: Yeah. Yeah. Mick Jagger saying, I can't get no satisfaction. But what he should have saying is, I can't keep no satisfaction and young and profiting listeners beware because you're on this treadmill of more and more accomplishment.

[00:30:35] More and more stuff. More and more what I get there, I'll finally be happy. No you won't. You'll be happy for a minute. And then off to the races, you have to learn to manage that. A big part of what I work on with highly ambitious people is how to manage their satisfaction because they can become just as addicted with the same neurochemicals to the satisfaction dilemma based on accomplishments, as can anybody with gambling or methamphetamine.

[00:30:59] [00:31:00] And it's a really dangerous thing for ambitious people. And then the last part is meaning and purpose. If your life doesn't have meaning and purpose, if you can't answer the questions. Why am I alive? And for what would I be willing to die? You're not gonna be a very happy person. And the irony of this, I have to convince my students of this.

[00:31:15] Is that the way you get it is not by having fun, and the way you get it is never by trying to avoid unhappiness. It's by actually embracing your suffering. It's by sacrifice and with challenge. Now too much suffering is too much. Clinical depression is a real deal, et cetera, but every life has suffering.

[00:31:32] And by the way, you don't have to go looking for suffering cuz it'll find you. But learning how to turn that into opportunity is critical, because that will give you meaning and purpose, yet you'll grow from your trauma. You'll grow from your sadness and that will give your life contour and a sense of really what it's all about.

[00:31:47] And I've got a lot of examples of that in my current research. My next book, by the way, is to how to start right in a life of happiness when you're in your twenties. So this is a lot about what I'm writing about right now. That's coming out next year. 

[00:31:58] Hala Taha: Perfect. I can't wait to have [00:32:00] you back on for that.

[00:32:01] Can you actually get, dig deeper on how our suffering can actually lead to more happiness? 

[00:32:08] Arthur Brooks: Yeah. We need to know the why of our life and the why of your life never comes from that fantastic week at the beach in Evita. It doesn't, It comes from your ability to get over things that were difficult to find, your sense of resiliency, to understand your inner strength, that all of that comes from challenges.

[00:32:28] When I talked to really successful entrepreneurs. I talked to Bernie Marcus, who started the Home Depot. I said, tell me your story. He doesn't tell me about, the first billion. He tells me about going bankrupt a couple of times early on, and what he learned from it. He talks about his failures.

[00:32:43] When you think about if you're in love? The meaning of what love is. It's not just the love you feel for your partner, but what you actually learned when your heart was broken in the past. This is very critical for us to understand. This is one of the reasons, that some people, when they're trying so hard not to have their heart broken and [00:33:00] romantic love. They're making a huge mistake of actually not getting their hearts stomped on sufficiently.

[00:33:05] To learn a lot and to feel that trauma and to learn the real meaning that comes from the true, your true soulmate comes around. A big part of what I write about and a big part about what I teach, is treating your life like a startup. The average startup entrepreneur has 3.8 failures before their first success, and they learn from the failures.

[00:33:26] The success comes from the failures. If the success in your life has to do with your happiness and wellbeing. You gotta have failures in your happiness and wellbeing. You must have that to actually find the true source of meaning in your life. 

[00:33:38] Hala Taha: I think that makes total sense. It's just like your career. If you don't have failures. If you don't try, then you don't learn the skills to actually build upon. 

[00:33:46] Arthur Brooks: You gotta be. It's interesting. One more thing I'll point out about this. As I was doing a speech about the startup life, and you gotta take risk and you gotta take risk with your heart because it, the currency, the explosive currency. You wanna get rich in life.

[00:33:58] It's love lots and lots of love. [00:34:00] So you gotta take a risk. Every entrepreneur knows that. And I was saying it to a, group of young people in their twenties, and this guy comes up to me. He actually, he recognized me on a plane a couple weeks later and he says, Are you Dr. Brooks? I said, Yeah. He said, I can't get that start life thing outta my head.

[00:34:13] I'm on my way right now to declare my love for a woman I've been secretly in love with for two years, but too afraid to tell her cuz of you. I'm gonna go confess my love. And I'm like, Dude, it was only a speech. But then I ran into him a few months later. He hadn't told me how it turned out. I said, Remember me?

[00:34:28] He's Yes. I'm like, what happened? I asked, and he says, I told her and she wasn't in love with me. She was in love with somebody else. And it was the worst. And I said, I'm sorry man. I didn't mean to, I was very contrite. I said, I didn't mean to hurt you. And He said, I've been meaning to call you and thank you, because that was literally the thing I was most afraid of in my life, and it happened and I didn't die.

[00:34:50] So Young and Profiting. If you wanna profit in life. You gotta put your heart on the line, not your money on the line. That means taking your risk with your heart, and generally [00:35:00] speaking, that's romantic love. So here's my homework for you. If you're gonna be a real entrepreneur. You got two weeks to tell somebody, that you love her or him, and if it's not scary, it's not entrepreneurial enough and feel it.

[00:35:15] If it doesn't work out, you will be stronger as a result. 

[00:35:19] Hala Taha: I love that homework assignment. I'm gonna let you guys get that as a reminder in our outro. So let's talk about relationships. Since we're on the topic of relationships. I know that relationships are very important to your happiness. So most unhappy people I learned from your work are typically men, 60 years old, and they're unhappy because they don't have friends.

[00:35:39] They might not have a loved one. They're lonely. So talk to us about the importance of relationships related to happiness. 

[00:35:46] Arthur Brooks: Yeah. For the longest time, 60 year old men. We're the loneliest people in our society. That's actually started to change now. We're finding more and more young people. There are probably people listening to us who feel intensely isolated, and that's not an abnormal thing at this point.

[00:35:58] I know, I do a lot of work with a surgeon [00:36:00] general in the United States, Vivek Murthy. He's absolutely phenomenal and loves his country. And one of the things he's most worried about for public health is not just coronavirus, and opioids and guns and climate and the stuff that people are talking about all the time.

[00:36:13] It's the isolation. The intense isolation that so many people are under. And it's that much worse during coronavirus, and that much worse now that everybody's virtual in their work. So the key thing to keep in mind is that happiness is love. I've got data over an 85 year period from men and women who were born. Who are actually in college in the late 1930s and in the forties, though they're super old.

[00:36:35] You know the sample it's called the Harvard Study of Adult Development. I don't run it, but a very close friend of mine does. And one of the things that he has found, tracking people over who started with a sample of people who went to Harvard. Which is not exactly diverse, but then he's expanded to people who didn't go to college and their spouses and their kids.

[00:36:50] So it's all races, both genders, poor, rich, educated, uneducated. And what he finds is that there's a lot of things that people do who wind up happy. [00:37:00] They tend to lifelong education. They tend to know how to not ruminate and keep their worry under control. They tend to have, take care of their health in a not crazy way.

[00:37:09] They tend to walk a lot. For example, they don't become obese. They're very careful about smoking and drinking. They drink moderately or not at all, but very moderately at most. But here's the key. They have relationships. They all have relationships. They cultivate their critical love relationships.

[00:37:26] Now, I know a lot of people are trying to get ahead in their career. They're like, You can fall in love and get married later, but now keep your nose to the grindstone. I gotta tell you, that is a huge mistake. Get after it. Now, time is of the essence. The earlier you do this, the better. By the way, the kinds of relationships that work the best are startups as opposed to mergers.

[00:37:48] We know the difference between startups and mergers, and the worst of all are hostile takeovers and acquisitions. But that's a whole of the category of relationships. 

[00:37:54] Hala Taha: I want you to elaborate on that more. What do you mean? 

[00:37:57] Arthur Brooks: Startups are people who are starting their lives together.

[00:37:59] They're [00:38:00] partners in love who are starting their lives together. And my success is your success and your success is my success. My wife, Esther and I, we were poor musicians. I had no health insurance. I was just like, Will we make rent or won't we make rent? Started to get ahead a little bit cause I joined a symphony orchestra.

[00:38:16] I actually moved to Barcelona from New York to take a job in the symphony orchestra. Not for the job, but because I was trying to, I had to learn Spanish to try to propose to this girl. She didn't speak a word English, but I was hopelessly in love with a girl who didn't speak a word of English. So I moved to her country literally and got down on one knee.

[00:38:34] It took me still a year and a half to close the deal. Anyway, so fantastic. But that was a startup life. We both changed careers. We built our lives together. The sooner that you start building your life with another person, and the more that you have the startup mentality about your partnership. The better off it's gonna be.

[00:38:51] Because then you're gonna change together. You're gonna celebrate each other's victories because, my wife Esther. When something off awesome happens. It's happening to me. When my book [00:39:00] is on the best sellers best seller list. Her book is on the best seller list.

[00:39:03] That's cuz we were 24 years old together and now we're 58. Man, that is, Now again, not everybody gets that. Some people they beat in their thirties, some people in their forties, but adopt the startup mindset as opposed to the 50 50. We're gonna do everything. 50 50, 50, 50 is zero, zero. Startup is a hundred hundred, and that's the basis for a great Young and Profiting relationship.

[00:39:26] Hala Taha: Hold tight, everyone. Let's take a quick break and hear from our sponsors. This episode of YAP is brought to you by the Jordan Harbinger Show. You may know that Jordan Harbinger is my favorite all-time podcaster, so much so that I've willed him to become my podcast mentor and we literally talk every single day.

[00:39:46] The Jordan Harbinger Show is the perfect show for Young and Profiteers to add to their rotation. The Jordan Harbinger Show was named Best of Apple 2018, and is aimed at making you a better informed, more critical thinker. And in each [00:40:00] episode, he unpacks his guest's wisdom into practical nuggets that you can use to impact your work life and relationships.

[00:40:06] It's very similar to YAP in terms of there's no fluff and you always walk away learning. His show has a bit of humor too, which is a nice touch. Jordan being the OG he is always snagging the best guests that I'm so jealous of, like Mark Cuban to rapper T.I to athletes, like the late great Kobe Bryant.

[00:40:24] And he is also super picky with his guests like me. And so the topics are always extremely interesting. He's got great research, he asks incredible questions. He's a naturally a great interviewer, and his topics are always entertaining. It's no wonder Jordan is one of the biggest podcasters in the world.

[00:40:42] And Jordan come on for your neck . You guys know that I'm definitely a fan and if that's not worth checking out. I'm not sure what is. Check out the Jordan Harbinger Show on your favorite podcast platform. That's H-A-R-B-(as in boy)-I-N-(as in nancy)-G-E-R) on [00:41:00] Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcast.

[00:41:03] Check out for some episode recommendations or search for the Jordan Harbinger Show on your favorite podcast platform. That's the Jordan Harbinger Show, H-A-R-B-(as in boy)-I-N-(as in nancy)-G-E-R) Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you listen, a podcast. 

[00:41:21] This episode of YAP is brought to you by Delta Airlines.

[00:41:26] This summer I went on vacation to Europe with my boyfriend, and it was a life changing trip I'll never forget. We went to Southern France and it was super romantic. We did a ton of shopping in Barcelona, and then we partied it up in a Ibiza. When I got back, I have to say I was so refreshed. I felt super clearheaded and like I could take over the world.

[00:41:50] Trips like that make you feel like a new person when you get home. And isn't that the way that every trip should feel like? I have to say, wherever you travel, a better [00:42:00] experience awaits with Delta Airlines. Delta Airlines has made some exciting upgrades to level up your travel experience. They've partnered with Peloton to offer a collection of guided breathing exercises, and stretches called Classes in the Clouds, led by Peloton instructors. And with Delta Airlines, you'll enjoy premium products that are better for both people and the planet.

[00:42:24] For example, Delta one s betting sets are now made with more than 100 recycled plastic bottles each and stowed away and new reusable bedding bags. And they've replaced single-use plastic with new bamboo colory, with plans to upgrade tableware made from biodegradable material and premium paper place mats.

[00:42:44] When I fly with Delta Airlines. I know I'm treating and the planet. Wherever life takes you. Travel well with Delta Airlines. Visit to learn more. Again, that's to learn more. [00:43:00] 

[00:43:01] Hear that sound young and profiteers? I love that sound because that's what you hear whenever you make a sale on Shopify.

[00:43:09] The all-in-one commerce platform to start, run, and grow your business. Thanks sponsor Shopify makes it simple to sell to anyone from anywhere. Whether you sell vintage t-shirts or recipes for ghee, Shopify can help you set up an online store, discover new customers, and build a loyal following. I actually just launched my first Shopify store.

[00:43:30] And I'm super excited. I'm launching a LinkedIn and podcasting masterclass, and of course I chose Shopify to help me get started. They have pre-made templates that I was able to customize, so it fits my vibe and my brand, and it was super easy. I literally had the idea to launch my course one week ago and we're pretty much already to launch and start enrollment because Shopify was super quick to use and did all the heavy lifting for me.

[00:43:54] Like I always say, YAP fam, get started and take action. Don't let anything slow you down when you [00:44:00] have a profiting idea. All you need is an idea, some customers, and a way to collect payment. Aka, all you need is an idea, customers and Shopify. Shopify makes it easy to market and sell your products as well across popular social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram.

[00:44:17] And let's stick on Instagram shopping for a moment because it's super hot right now. That's where it's at young and profiteers. With Shopify you can connect the products in your store to your Instagram business profile so that customers can view your products on Instagram and they can buy without ever having to leave the Instagram app. Shopify is always keeping up with the latest e-commerce trends. Every minute new sellers around the world make their first sale with Shopify, and you can too. If you're looking for a sign young and profiteers. This is your sign. Start that side hustle you've always dreamed of. Launch your small business.

[00:44:52] If you don't take action on your dreams, they're always gonna stay a dream. So take action today and join millions of entrepreneurs worldwide [00:45:00] by trying Shopify today. Sign up for a free trial at All lowercase. Remember, it is case sensitive. Go to all lowercase to start selling online today.

[00:45:13] Again, that's This is possibility powered by Shopify.

[00:45:24] Guys, this is real. I find that a lot of people who focus on their success, they end up losing all their relationships cuz they don't prioritize that. They prioritize their career over their relationships. So take me for example, I had skyrocketing success two years ago. Everything just blew up. My company, my podcast, and at the same time all my relationships plummeted because I didn't tend to them.

[00:45:46] I got so busy that a lot of my best friends didn't wanna talk to me anymore. My relationship of 10 years ended. I have a new relationship now, everything's great. But that's because I'm proactive about it. For two years straight, I didn't care about my relationships and now I'm paying [00:46:00] for it, trying to get my best friends to talk to me again.

[00:46:02] All that kind of stuff. And so I'd love to hear your perspective because as I was reading about you and reading your book, a thought kept coming to my mind like, what's the balance though? Because I don't regret building what I built. I do regret losing my relationships, but I had to do it because I was riding this wave that would go away if I didn't capitalize on that moment. And to your point, I was in my fluid intelligence, like I capitalized on being really good at social media and I'm at the height of my field. So what's the balance there in terms of capitalizing on the intelligence that you have to make a career for yourself at this age versus tending to your relationships?

[00:46:43] Arthur Brooks: Yeah, the truth is that we actually can do both, but it's hard to do it because of our addictive behavior. So if I'd gone back, and I'm just gonna take a guess, I could have taken that 14th hour on Instagram and I could have made it a phone call with one of your best friends and it wouldn't have hurt you a bit, but you were [00:47:00] stuck on the Instagram because it was, this thing is this shiny thing.

[00:47:02] It's like blink blink. And it was making you nuts, right? And you and everybody else. I've made this mistake a bunch of times cuz I've had these moments where my career is absolutely blowing up and I've had to say, okay. Eat your own cooking. I'm a happiness specialist. I can't, It's very embarrassing to me If my relationship meltdown, it's Yeah, did you see Brooks?

[00:47:21] He gives good advice, he's alone, so I don't want any of that. But the key thing is almost everybody who's having this intense period of ambition and success, they tend to get monomaniacally focused on that, and then they'll act addictively at the margin. Now, what's the margin? It's the 12th hour of work, 13th hour of work, 14th hour of work where you're actually really unproductive, but you can't get the machine of success turned off.

[00:47:46] That requires a whole lot of self discipline to basically say, Okay, I'm not gonna get any more done today. So now I'm gonna actually focus on the things that are these long term investments in my life. Now, you're in your twenties or early thirties, It's pretty forgivable [00:48:00] that you made these errors. The key challenge for you is making sure that you remember this.

[00:48:05] So when you're in a different part of enormous success at age 50, that you're not neglecting your husband and children. When you're doing that, that you're basically able to say, Yeah, this success is gonna come. I can do that success on nine or 10 hours a day. I don't have to do that success on 14 and 15 hours a day.

[00:48:21] That's just a habit. 

[00:48:23] Hala Taha: I totally agree. Like I wish I had this book earlier. I feel like these are such great lessons for everyone to take with them. So let's move on to some other things. Let's do a quick fire segment. 

[00:48:37] Arthur Brooks: Alrighty. 

[00:48:38] Hala Taha: It's basically a lot of stuff that I wanted to cover that we don't have a lot of time to cover in detail, but I want people to get the highlights and also to go get your book from Strength to Strength.

[00:48:46] It was a New York Times bestseller, it was an excellent read. He's gonna touch on some things as a teaser, but you can get the detail in the book. Alright, we eluded to this a little bit. How does suffering help us get better at being [00:49:00] happy? 

[00:49:00] Arthur Brooks: Suffering helps us understand what our priorities are. What the significance of our life is, how we relate to other people and the people that we can actually count on.

[00:49:10] That's really what it comes down to. And when the suffering is over, when the cloud's clear, you're like, Got it. I learned a lot. And the result is you're that much happier if you did the work and you didn't try to avoid the suffering when you were suffering. 

[00:49:23] Hala Taha: How about anger? A lot of people who are happy don't rage or ruminate on the past.

[00:49:29] How can people who are holding onto anger get better at getting happy? 

[00:49:33] Arthur Brooks: So those are two different issues. Anger is a negative basic emotion. It's very normal. It's part of staying alive. You're during the place to scene, your ancestors would've gotten eaten by a tiger or clubbed by some other member of some tribe.

[00:49:47] Unless you had anger. Anger is really important and very normal. The problem is when it manages you with all emotions, including positive emotions, you need to learn to manage your emotions so they don't manage you. How do you do that? The answer is, when do [00:50:00] you actually have negative or positive emotions?

[00:50:02] You need to become conscious of those emotions. This is a process called metacognition. I strongly recommend journaling your emotions, which will move the experience of those emotions from the automatic part of your brain to the executive part of your brain, and you will almost overnight become a better manager of your anger and as such, fuel learn how to manage it and do a lot better in life.

[00:50:24] Hala Taha: Cool. So then since I mentioned two things, how about ruminating on your past? How do we improve that? 

[00:50:29] Arthur Brooks: Rumination, what is it? It's actually an amazing human thing. Your dog can't ruminate because what it is, it's going back to a memory of something happened and you turn it over and turn it over and turn it over in your mind.

[00:50:40] You're basically rehearsing different outcomes. You're saying, If I'd said this, I would've gone down this branch of the tree and it would've been different. What are you doing? You're training yourself not to make the same mistake again, which is unbelievable. You should be thankful for your ability to do that.

[00:50:54] The problem is that some people ruminate too much and is so doing they can become depressed. One of the [00:51:00] characteristics of major clinical depression is that people who will ruminate on the past too much a little bit is fine. Roll it over in your mind and be able to say, I have learned from that, and I will not make that mistake again and I'm done.

[00:51:13] If you can't do that, then ordinarily you need to get some help, and there's a lot of ways for people to actually get you over the rumination problem, so it's not a barrier to your happiness. 

[00:51:22] Hala Taha: What are the top three things you think our young and profiteers should do today to be happier tomorrow? 

[00:51:29] Arthur Brooks: So number one is let's talk about what you're gonna do tonight.

[00:51:33] Before you go to bed, I want you to take a piece of paper and I want you to write down the five things you're most grateful for. Okay? The five things you're most grateful for in life is very easy to forget those things. I know you're grateful, you're not a terrible person, but it's very easy to focus on the things you're not grateful for.

[00:51:48] The things that are annoying you, the five things you're grateful for, I don't care how shallow they are. Like this episode of Better Call Soul, maybe that's on your list. Good for you. Whatever. It's just like I had a burrito I liked, or [00:52:00] let's have something like my grandma. Whatever it is, the five things.

[00:52:03] Then I want you to study that list every night for the rest of the week for five minutes before you go to bed, and next this time, next week, I want you to update it. At the end of 10 weeks, you're gonna be 25% happier. That's number one. Number two, here's another exercise. I want you to take a piece of paper and I want you to write down your 20 best friends.

[00:52:24] Okay? Can't think of 20. Fine. Your 10 best friends. Now I want you to put Rs and Ds after their names. That's not Republican and Democrat folks. That's real friend and deal friend. And you know the difference. Your deal friend is somebody who's useful to you in a professional way or in a social way.

[00:52:43] They get you ahead in some way. Your real friend is somebody who can't give you anything. You just love 'em. If at least half of the people who are closest to you that you're dealing with the most are not real friends, it's time to actually start working on that problem. You will be isolated no matter how many people are in your life.

[00:52:59] [00:53:00] If it's all deal, no real, and you know the difference. Number three, here's exercise number three. I want you to think about yourself in five years. Say you're 27, think about yourself at 32. I'm 58, so I'll be 63. That's very disturbing to me, by the way, Hala. That's very disturbing to me that I just thought of that, so I'm gonna try to get that outta my mind.

[00:53:20] Okay, so you're 27, you're actually 32. Now you're happy. You know what that means? You don't have to define it scientifically like I do with the macro nutrients of enjoyment, satisfaction, and purpose. You know what it means for you to be happy, okay? Imagine yourself. Now take a piece of paper and write down the five main reasons that you're happy in order.

[00:53:41] Number one, reason that you're happy. Number two, that you're happy, all the way to number five. Now come back to the present. How aggressively are you managing one and two versus four and five? I could tell you what four and five are. It's money and success. What's number one and two, Love and friendship are gonna be number two.

[00:53:59] [00:54:00] Probably. Look, your results may differ is what we like to say in the social science business, but everybody I meet. And then you gotta ask yourself, Why am I not most aggressively managing one and two? And the answer is, Ah, that'll take care of itself. News flash. No, it won't make a strategic plan for managing one and two, and you will get to that happy state when you're 32 or 63 in my case.

[00:54:23] Hala Taha: I'm so glad that I asked that question. It was just like totally on the fly. So another on the fly question because I do have a lot of listeners who are in their forties, fifties, sixties. We have listeners of all ages. 

[00:54:34] Arthur Brooks: That's great. 

[00:54:35] Hala Taha: And I would love your best advice in terms of happiness for people who are 40, 50, 60, and on this whole crystallized wave of their life. 

[00:54:45] Arthur Brooks: Yeah. Number one, don't fight to stay in the past. I get it. You're listening to the super hot Millennial podcast. I get it. You want all the tips. And my guess is that you're, you feel younger than you are. I feel [00:55:00] younger than I am too. I feel better than I did when I was in my twenties mostly. Cause I don't drink so much anymore.

[00:55:04] But you get the. But that doesn't mean that your natural intelligence and your natural strengths are the same as they would've been for the people who are in their twenties. Make sure you're on the right curve. The curve of service, the curve of wisdom, the curve of teaching. You'll be much happier, you'll be much more successful.

[00:55:21] You can be just as ambitious. You can work just as hard, but you gotta be channeling it to the right purpose. 

[00:55:28] Hala Taha: Yeah. All right, cool. So we're gonna start closing out this show. I always end with the same two questions, and then we do something fun at the end of the year. So my last question is, what is one actionable thing we can do today to become more profiting tomorrow?

[00:55:41] Arthur Brooks: More profiting tomorrow. Okay. The most important thing that we can actually do to get more, to be more profiting tomorrow is to make sure that we get adequate rest and relaxation today. The biggest thing that's gonna be in your way is in for tomorrow is doing an all nighter. Do not do that, my friends. [00:56:00] You gotta take care of the machine and your brain is part of the machine.

[00:56:04] Get to bed on time, not intoxicated. 

[00:56:07] Hala Taha: Great advice. Couldn't agree more. And what is your secret to profiting and life And profiting does not have to mean money. 

[00:56:14] Arthur Brooks: Of course. Yeah. The secret to profiting in life is a real easy one. You know the guy who ran that study? I talked about the study of the Harvard Study of adult Development.

[00:56:23] He ran it for 30 years and he's asked near the end of his career when he is retiring, how do you sum it up? Sum it up in five words. He thought about it, he said, Happiness is love. Full stop. And that is absolutely true. Love is the secret to your happiness. Love should be the center of your actual ambition.

[00:56:41] Look, the happiest. They're paying attention to their faith, their life philosophy, their family life, their friendships, and serving other people with their work. In other words, their love and their more love. The different manifestations of love are to get that done. That's the source of your prosperity.

[00:56:56] Hala Taha: And one more question related to that. I know the Dalai Lama taught [00:57:00] you that love is an action. Can you explain that to us? 

[00:57:04] Arthur Brooks: Yeah. It's funny. St. Thomas Aquinas is the great sage of the Middle Ages and 1265. He wrote this super important text, So the Summa Theolog guy, and what he said, he defined love and he defined it a way that we all need to remember it today.

[00:57:18] He said to love is to will the good of the other, as other love wasn't a thing that you have. Love is a commitment that you make. It's an action that you take. It's a life course. It's a path that you set out on. That's what love is all about. And to love somebody else is to will their good and here's the best part of all.

[00:57:39] It doesn't matter what you feel. You could make a commitment, people's I don't feel it. It doesn't matter. Are you tough or not? You're not gonna say I don't feel like going to work, so I'm gonna skip work. You're not gonna do that young and profiting. You're killers, . You should have the same attitude when it actually comes to love.

[00:57:54] And that's how love is actually an action. It's more even of a commitment than [00:58:00] an action. 

[00:58:00] Hala Taha: Yeah. And it goes back to the conversation we were have about having about relationships before. You have to proactively do the work to keep that love in your relationships. It doesn't just fall on your lap and it can go away very easily.

[00:58:13] Arthur Brooks: It really can and there's so much that you can do to make sure that it doesn't, It blows my mind, people who don't do the work to keep the thing as most important in their lives. 

[00:58:22] Hala Taha: Yeah, and I hope you guys take that as a big lesson. So Arthur, this was one of my favorite conversations all year. I love your energy, I love your topics, so innovative.

[00:58:31] Not the same stuff that everybody keeps rotating around. So I appreciate your work. Thank you so much for being on this show. And where can everybody learn more about you and everything that you do?

[00:58:41] Arthur Brooks: Thank you. Hala. Thank you for what you're doing. This service that you're providing to give a community to people of ideas, cuz this is really the energy for people who are young and are, they're trying to get ahead it's ideas. We're an ideas society and this is really one of the epicenters for it and I thank you for it. My work is really easy to find. I write a column in the Atlantic of the [00:59:00] Science of Happiness that comes out every Thursday morning called How to Build a Life. My books are really easy to find too, you know the one that we were talking about, but others as well about How We Can Treat Each Other with Greater Love and Respect and all the things that I write about.

[00:59:13] And you can find all of it at This kind of one stop shopping, you can even sign up for my newsletter, which is just me stupidly cracking jokes that I think are funny in my dad joke kind of way if you have the stomach. 

[00:59:24] Hala Taha: I think you probably gained a lot of fans today. Thank you so much for your time, Arthur.

[00:59:28] It was an absolute pleasure. 

[00:59:29] Arthur Brooks: Thanks, Hala. Thanks to you and thanks to all of our listeners. Keep profiting.

[00:59:33] Hala Taha: YAP fam, I knew Arthur was gonna be a great interview, but I gotta say that even went better than I expected. I really enjoyed this conversation and learned so many new things about happiness, finding purpose, and how to follow the natural flow of your career. What Arthur taught us today can save us a lot of pain and regret down the line.

[00:59:51] And as I reflect on this conversation, the first thought that comes to my mind is a tragic story of Charles Darwin when you hear the name Charles [01:00:00] Darwin. What do you think of successful scientist or complete failure? Successful scientist, of course, he's a household name that changed science forever. He's the father of evolution, taught in schools everywhere.

[01:00:11] The man died over a hundred years ago and we're still saying his name, and yet Darwin died considering himself a failure. So many successful professionals, Darwin couldn't bear to see his career decline as he approached old age. He published the Origin of Species at age 50, and that was a peak of his career.

[01:00:28] And from there, he had no place but to go down from ages 50 to 73, Darwin found himself stuck in a period of creative stagnation. He missed his second curve. Such a brilliant man who did so much for the world, died depressed, unhappy, and that is a major tragedy, young and profiteers. But like we learned today, Darwin's professional decline was completely normal and predictable.

[01:00:53] Whether you're a dancer, a doctor, a painter, a pilot, one thing is certain, one day you're gonna face a [01:01:00] similar decline in your career. Let this episode be a sign for any of you in your twenties and thirties who are in party mode to wake up and get focused because you are running out of time. Our brain is biologically different before and after age 40.

[01:01:17] You literally have a biological clock ticking and your ability to reason, think flexibly, learn new things, problem solve and be innovative starts to decline in your forties and fifties. But that doesn't mean that your brain starts to go bad or that your brain is bad. It just means that your brain now has different strengths that you need to play on.

[01:01:36] Namely, your crystallized intelligence or the accumulation of knowledge, facts, and skills that are acquired throughout your career that you can then teach to others. And if you're in the latter half of your life and you're feeling unfulfilled or you're feeling burned out, you're likely still operating out of your fluid intelligence.

[01:01:54] Remember, success often means knowing when to walk away. [01:02:00] Now that we have all this information in mind, we can approach our lives and careers with these two distinct phases in mind and YAP fam, things are always better when they're approached with a plan. The last thing I wanna leave you guys with is that there are two enemies you'll want to avoid while navigating through your second stage of life.

[01:02:18] The first is the addiction to work and success, and the second is the attachment to worldly rewards. High achieving professionals, the type of people that listen to this podcast are wired to crave continuous success. We depend on dopamine heads. That result from receiving money, power, or prestige. But we have to remember, these chemical highs are short lived.

[01:02:40] They do not lead to lasting happiness. And as we know now, success is not gonna look the same in life due to declining fluid intelligence. And this is gonna be devastating for workaholics that don't change because that means that they're gonna have a crisis and crash and burn later on when their professional abilities start to decline.

[01:02:58] To avoid this, you [01:03:00] have to recognize that you cannot rely on just professional success to achieve happiness. As the famous race car driver Alex Diaz Rubio once wrote, Unhappy is he who depends on success to be happy. Let me say that again, for the people in the back. Unhappy is he who depends on success to be happy.

[01:03:20] So YAP fam, Rather than finding happiness solely in professional success, turn to outlets that will never fail you. Your family, your friendships, your faith. Working until you die and neglecting everything else is not success. Leading a balanced life of fulfillment is success. And like we always say on young and profiting, the profiting part doesn't just stand for financial wealth.

[01:03:42] Yes, that's a part of it, but we have to strive to be profiting in all aspects of life. Thanks for listening to an absolutely incredible episode of Young and Profiting podcast. And if you enjoy this episode, drop us a five star review on Apple Podcast or your favorite podcast platform. I love reading on [01:04:00] reviews.

[01:04:00] I check them out every single day and we often shout out our reviews on the podcast. So if you wanna get shouted out, drop us a five star review on your favorite podcast platform. You guys can also find us on YouTube. Every single episode is also recorded on video. And so if you like to watch your podcast, check us out on YouTube.

[01:04:17] We've been doing a great job on that platform. You can also find me on social media at Yap with Hala on TikTok or Instagram. I'm on LinkedIn. You can search for my name, Hala Taha. You can't miss me on there. Big thanks to my YAP production team. You guys have been doing an amazing job Our audio sounding. Ooh, Chef's kiss.

[01:04:35] I love it. It's sounding great. If you guys like the new theme music, if you like the new intro, let us know what you think. Tell us in a dm, in a review, However you wanna reach out to me, do it. I'd love to hear your feedback about our new theme music. Without further ado, this is your host, Hala Taha, signing off.[01:05:00] 

[01:05:05] Voice Over: Ross Matthews talks to celebrities, friends, and people with interesting stories to tell Who's saying Hello Ross. This week, Chelsea Handler. I'm not home enough to have a third dog. My housekeeper basically is their parent. I am not gonna get another dog so that she has to take care of another dog until one of these dogs exits.

[01:05:23] It's a good move. I have three rescue dogs and only two hands. And when you're one person that's too hard to do, I recommend two max. Okay. Who's your foot? Ross? Hello, Ross. Available on YouTube or wherever you listen.

Subscribe to the Young and Profiting Newsletter!
Get access to YAP's Deal of the Week and latest insights on upcoming episodes, tips, insights, and more!
Thanks for signing up. You must confirm your email address before we can send you. Please check your email and follow the instructions.
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.