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The riddle of happiness 🤔

Published about 2 months ago • 3 min read

Hey friends,

Hello from Vancouver, where I’m visiting family until early next week. This city holds a special place in my heart because my wife and I got married here, and it’s wild that we’re now here with a child. The pages of life turn quickly, and I hope you’re taking a moment to slow down and bookmark the most special ones.

Today, I wanted to share a reflection on one of life’s most important topics: happiness.

In a sense, happiness is the greatest aspiration of all. It’s what makes the knowledge of our finitude palatable, knowing that we can make the most of our time on the planet. We’re only here for a flash in the context of human history, but it’s beautiful knowing that we can make that flash as bright as possible.

With that said, I’ve come to realize that happiness isn’t something you can aspire to attain. Because if that’s your framing of it, then you’ll always be chasing it, and any pursuit of this nature introduces restlessness.

So in today’s post, I want to offer a better alternative. It’s something that’s helped me greatly, and perhaps it can do the same for you. When you’re ready, let’s dive right in:

The Riddle of Happiness


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A Book I’ve Been Enjoying

On the Meaning of Life by Will Durant — Will Durant is known as one of the greatest historians to have ever lived, but he also had a great interest in philosophy as well. In the first chapter of this book, Durant offers some explanations for the meaning of life through the lenses of religion, science, and history.

In the second chapter, he provides a collection of responses he received from many of his peers on what gives them meaning. There are some names I recognize and many I don’t, but it’s fascinating to see how many bright minds have thought through this puzzle.


A Thought I’ve Been Pondering

Ultimately, envy is the result of not knowing who you are. It arises when you outsource your definitions of success to whatever norms you've adopted - whether consciously or not.

In one person's case, it might be wealth. In another, it may be social media followers. In another, it could be the size of a home.

Regardless of what the barometer is, the fact that you desire it means that you're looking beyond the contents of your mind and into the collective pool of society. You're ceasing to look into what makes you uniquely you, and are gazing into the chaos of chasing that which you don't understand.

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A Note of Gratitude

Last week, More To That turned 6 years old. What a journey it’s been, and I feel like I’m just getting started.

Of all the communication channels I have, this newsletter is by far the most meaningful. Thank you for your support over the years, whether it comes in the form of reading my work, enrolling in a course, replying with your thoughts, sharing a post, anything. I’m in awe of the amazing people that More To That has been able to reach, and that includes you as well.

I look forward to sharing so much more in the coming months and years. Thanks again for being here =).


A Brief Parting Question

Here we are, already at the end of March. I’d like to do a brief check-in on how the year’s been for you.

What’s been a win for you in 2024 (regardless of how big or small)? And what’s an obstacle that you’re looking to overcome?

As a reminder, I read every email. Excited to hear about your wins and challenges.


As always, hit reply to share any thoughts, to respond to the parting question, or to simply say hello. I love hearing from you.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to share this email with anyone who might enjoy it. Have a great rest of your week!

-Lawrence Yeo

P.S. Thanks to all the wonderful people that support the blog on Patreon! It means so much. If you’d like to support More To That and get access to book recommendations, exclusive AMAs, offline posts, and other reflections, join as a patron today.

If you were forwarded this email, subscribe to the More To That newsletter and get the next edition in your inbox.

More To That

by Lawrence Yeo

Illustrated stories on the human condition.

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