To summarize an article I ran across on BigThink:
- 48% of your happiness level is determined by your genetics
- 40% is is determined by recent, quick-to-fade environmental factors
- The last 12% is directly determined by our choice to pursue four basic values of:
Unconventional advice about the pursuit of happiness: We
“are not capable of determining with complete certainty, in accordance with any principle, what will make him truly happy, because omniscience would be required for that.” –Immanuel Kant
Also, the more you pursue happiness, the more you will fall short of attaining it. Unfortunate, but makes sense, because if you’re consumed with the pursuit, you will fail to realize the good things that surround you in the mean time, and you will not think to find contentment in them.
But even further, choose to pursue things that, counter-intuitively, do not appear to promise happiness, but rather challenge and work — especially things that lead you to engage with/care for other people — as we humans, at our core, are relational beings, and will consistently suffer in a relational vacuum.
You really need to just read the whole article, as it goes into more depth and has valuable links to literature on the subject.