6 Lessons From Bertrand Russell’s Book ‘The Art of Being Happy’

Onur Dabakoğlu

Onur Dabakoğlu

Kabataş Erkek Lisesi//Boğaziçi Üniversitesi Editör @CEOtudent

Forget the classic self-help books for now. ‘The Art of Being Happy’, one of the contradictory books of Bertrand Russell, one of the greatest philosophers of history, presents approaches that will expand your horizons and change your perspective. Various quotes from his book may make you question your stance on life.

1) Happiness is achieved by following an extrovert attitude at work and in relationships, and is lost when one turns inward and surrenders to anxieties and fears.

Bertrand Russell says look for happiness outside, not inside. It is obvious that introverts have weaker problem-solving abilities than extroverts. This weakness is one of the chief factors that keep you busy and prevent you from continuing your life. You can participate in various activities to get rid of your problems instead of closing in on yourself, or you can look for solutions to your problems with your friends.



2) Bertrand Russell advises when one gets into trouble, ask yourself if there is anything you can do at the moment to fix the problem. If you have it, do it. If not, put the matter aside until you find something.

In short, it is necessary not to shovel in vain. Many of us disrupt our daily work because we are stuck with a problem. This causes work accumulation and forces us to do everything at the same time. It seems like the best way is to prioritize what we need to do and proceed step by step.

3) Since no man’s power can be unlimited, those who are insatiable will eventually encounter obstacles that they cannot overcome.

We force ourselves unnecessarily because of our insatiable nafs. Opinion, which should have been one of the keywords of our lives, became one of the things we pushed to the back.
“Why not more?” The question sometimes carries us forward and sometimes causes the loss of what we have. In this case, logic comes into play. We have to weigh the steps we will take and take them accordingly.



4) Go out into the world, be a pirate, a king in Borneo, a worker in Soviet Russia; Begin a life where primitive physical needs will consume almost all of your energy.

We can give examples of primitive physical needs such as food, shelter, and transportation. In short, everything we need to survive. Of course, to do all this, a certain amount of money is required. We are all working to earn this money. A person who does not work or does not have any occupation is looking for other places to throw his energy away. While doing this, it has difficulty in avoiding mistakes that are difficult to compensate. Here is what Bertrand Russell talks about: We should spread our excess energy to various areas, be it our interests, our work.

5) The real problem stems from the adoption of a philosophy that sees life as a competition, and a competition where the winner will also gain respect.

People who constantly compare themselves to others can never reach happiness. Our biggest competitor in life should be ourselves. We should always think about how we can go further and look for the way. Those who deserve respect are those who do their job honestly and properly, not always the best.



6) When a difficult or worrisome decision has to be made, gather your mind on that task and make your decisions, and after making a decision, do not attempt to reconsider that decision unless you encounter a new reality. There is nothing as tiring and useless as indecision.

In the decision process, the data at hand should be evaluated and one way or another, the most logical decision should be made. We all try to get out with zero damage, but sometimes life plays cards face down. In such cases, it will be the healthiest thing to move towards the next stage with our analysis ability. If a better opportunity arises later, we can revisit the issue.

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