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Build the Life You Want summary

Arthur C. Brooks & Oprah Winfrey

The Art and Science of Getting Happier

4.3 (341 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

Build the Life You Want is a powerful guide by Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey that encourages readers to take control of their own happiness and success by embracing personal growth and pursuing their passions.

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    Build the Life You Want
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    The true nature of happiness

    Are you happy right now? Take a moment to think about that. If you’ve selected this Blink, the answer probably isn’t yes. You might not be entirely miserable but you likely think there’s some room for improvement.

    Now, consider this question: What’s standing between you and your happiness?

    A multitude of ideas might spring to mind. Maybe you have a dear wish or ambition that’s unfulfilled. Or you might find your work dreary. Perhaps you’re lonely, anxious, or something deeply worrying is troubling you. Any of these things could be perceived as obstacles to feeling happy.

    But thinking this way will keep you stuck in unhappiness. Because the obstacle blocking your path to happiness is actually yourself, not something external.

    Many people don’t realize that happiness depends on how well they manage themselves emotionally. If they let their emotions rule their actions, instead of choosing how to behave, they end up trying to numb difficult feelings with things that don’t fulfill them long term, like money, power, social status, or attention. This takes them away from the three key elements of happiness: purpose, enjoyment, and satisfaction.

    So, how can you avoid getting distracted by faux-happiness idols?

    Well, first, stop thinking about happiness as a search for the Holy Grail. Instead, view it as something possible at any moment of your life – no matter what challenges you face.

    Second, practice taking responsibility for your behavior, instead of letting your emotions rule you. That’ll stop your impulses from leading you to distractions that won’t make you happier in the long run.

    And finally, build your life around what will truly make you happier. That means creating four sturdy pillars that will elevate you, every single day. What are those pillars? Family, friends, meaningful work, and spirituality. Let’s explore each of them in the next sections, so you can start becoming a happier you.

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    What is Build the Life You Want about?

    Build the Life You Want (2023) provides a blueprint for a happier life. Based on scientific knowledge and decades of personal and academic research, it offers practical strategies that you can implement to increase your happiness immediately, regardless of your circumstances.

    Who should read Build the Life You Want?

    • Happiness seekers
    • Lonely souls looking for connection
    • Cravers of purpose and meaning

    About the Author

    Arthur C. Brooks is a social scientist specializing in developing actionable strategies to help people reach their full potential – in all aspects of their lives. He’s a columnist at the Atlantic and a best-selling author of several books, including From Strength to Strength and Love Your Enemies.

    Oprah Winfrey is one of the most respected media figures of today. Philanthropist, producer, best-selling author, and actress, she oversees TV network OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) and the Oprah Magazine. Super Soul – her series of conversations with thought leaders – has been downloaded over 350 million times in podcast form.

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