8 of Schopenhauer’s Rules to Being Happy

· October 30, 2018

Schopenhauer’s rules to being happy arose from the German philosopher who was noted for his pessimism. His ideas revolved around the theory that happiness is no more than an artificial illusion.

In fact, after the philosopher’s death, a manuscript was found among his notes and personal belongings called The Art of Being Happy. Curiously, in spite of the pessimistic ideas he defended during his life, in those notes he developed a series of rules that can help avoid suffering. He wanted people to achieve a certain state of happiness.

1. Schopenhauer’s first rule to being happy: Avoid comparisons to avoid becoming envious

This first rule is based on avoiding envy. According to Schopenhauer, envy is a very negative emotion and experiencing it immerses us in a constant state of dissatisfaction. 

Envy will lead us away from happiness. Also, making comparisons with others makes us doubt ourselves. Therefore, to avoid this suffering, it’s best for us to avoid comparisons since each person is different. We must accept each individual’s situation.


Schopenhauer's rules to being happy.

2. Don’t worry about bad results

Another of Schopenhauer’s rules for being happy teaches us to accept failure due to the possible bad decisions we have made. Therefore, the German philosopher encourages us to do our best at all times. That way, we won’t be able to feel bad about a bad result since we always try our best.

3. Follow your instincts at all times

Schopenhauer was aware that there are very creative people who are also logical. This means that some people dedicate themselves more to action and others to contemplation. In short, this rule for happiness teaches us to let ourselves get carried away by our instincts in order to be ourselves and know ourselves better.

4. Don’t depend on anyone else to be happy

This fourth rule to being happy teaches us to only depend on ourselves. Therefore, we won’t feel let down by other people or decisions that are out of our control. We shouldn’t let others affect our mood.

5. Don’t overestimate your wishes

Being aware of our limitations and not letting ourselves get carried away by unrealistic desires will allow us not to feel overwhelmed if we’re not able to fulfill them. Therefore, we should think about what situation we’re in and the goals that are available to us. This doesn’t mean we can’t dream. It simply means that we should adapt to our possibilities.

6. Have control over your expectations

We should learn to adjust our expectations, as well as our desires. This way, we’ll be able to avoid having exaggerated expectations regarding a project or person. In short, this rule is based on having a more realistic perspective of our life and knowing how to face obstacles in a more appropriate way.

7. Value what you have

When it comes to being happy, it’s essential to know how to look beyond our material possessions. This won’t only prevent us from experiencing envy, as we commented in the first point, but it will also help us value more the things that really matter. In this sense, we can have better relationships with our friends and family by giving them the importance they really deserve. 

A woman with her eyes closed representing Schopenhauer's happiness.

8. Devote more attention to the present

This last rule is related to the time we spend thinking about our past and our future. Losing ourselves by thinking about the problems of the past will not benefit us in any way. In addition, we have to accept that we can’t change the decisions we made in the past. On the other hand, spending too much time dreaming about the future can lead to unhappiness. Therefore, we should just enjoy the present.