Naval: The first step to increasing your level of happiness is realizing you can. This is where a lot of people get tripped up. For the vast majority of people, some of their happiness—probably a lot more than they think—is in their control.
This step is not easy. You might be stuck on this for a long time. Many people believe that happiness cannot be developed or changed, so they devalue it. They say, “Well, I don’t want to be happy.”
Genetics is important, but it’s only half the picture
Genetics is important. It goes a long way in determining strength, athletic performance and intelligence. But your genetic set point is only about half of it. And happiness, or general contentment, is much more malleable than the other things.
It would be very hard for me to change my athletic performance dramatically purely by working out. I’m much more limited in that arena because of my genetics. But things like my temperament, outlook on life, how peaceful I am, how angry I get—these are much more in my control.
You’re not stuck at your level of happiness
So, happiness is a skill like nutrition and fitness. Happiness is a skill you identify and develop that slowly gives you results as you get better at it. It is not God-given. It’s not handed to you and now you’re stuck with it—though if you start with a high setting, by all means keep it.