After years of studying happiness, I have gotten to the conclusion that knowing what a soul is is the most important piece of information we are currently missing from the world.
Not knowing the specific parts that make up a soul is the reason it takes the average person some of fifty years to reach a state they can describe as lasting happiness, if they reach that state at all. Most of us don’t. It is also the reason why the world, in general, is not a happier place to live in.
Ancient and Modern Definitions of Soul
Ancient philosophy defines the soul as that which gives us breath, that which gives the body life. Substantial attention has been devoted to figuring out what happens to a soul after death, but not much debate exists about what a soul is from a day-to-day, while still alive perspective.
Modern science offers no definition, just basically agreeing that modern scientific techniques show no evidence of the existence of a soul.
The Most Comprehensive Definition of Soul
At the risk of sounding cocky or naïve or uneducated, I will hereby claim that I have come up wit the most complete definition of soul out there. Personally, I never set out to find out what a soul is. But I have had a keen interest in figuring out how to be happy.
A Transactions Analyst Point of View
As an analyst with a true love for data at heart, I made it a hobby to accumulate the answers people gave to the question “What do you live for? What makes you happy?”. Every answer I heard – from personal connections, interviews of famous people on TV, books, magazines, songs – every answer was a data point. No judging whatsoever. They just went straight into my database: Fame, money, family, God, education, sex, vacation, peace, singing, sticking to values, enjoying the ocean. The answers were varied and many.
In an attempt to find order in this basket of seemingly disconnected data points, I applied a technique I learned in my undergrad study of Economics: Quantitative Text Analysis. It is a research method commonly used to analyze narratives, interviews, field notes, or focus group data.
I could have used different words to label the three main buckets I narrowed my data points down to: Motivation, culture and communication. But, at the end of the day it wasn’t so much what I called each bucket that mattered, as much as the concept, what each bucket was representing.
However, being also in the field of valuation analysis in my day-to-day job — where one must boil-down to a single formula the variables that must be taken into account when putting a dollar amount on something (usually a company or one of its assets) — my mind naturally went the way of wanting one single formula to summarize my data.
A Convenient Coincidence
It wasn’t surprising what formula came to mind with the variables in front of me starting with the letters M, C and C. Therefore, the research I had started as a hobby could conclude, as a formula, that: Happiness = Motivation x Culture x Communication.
If happiness is a kind of energy we have, then I could summarize this as: E(Happiness) = MC²
Years later, when pondering the question of what the missing piece of the current happiness conundrum was, I figured that if what the ancient philosophers defined as soul is what gives us life, breath, energy, what makes us happy, then this formula could also be applied as a proxy for what a soul is.
Soul (Happiness) = Motivation x Culture x Communication
What This Means to You
Knowing what a soul is, or even just having a glimpse of the kind of very real, tangle things that might make it up empowers you to complete the happiness puzzle. With this in hand, you now know what parts your body, your mind and your soul have which means you now know how to keep in all around good health. You are no longer paying attention to only to parts of you, namely, your body and mind, whilst abandoning the third.
You are now empowered to be balanced. Because, when it comes to happiness, balance is the name of the game.
Play on, and play hard. Time to level up!