Naval: Besides “I’m too smart for it,” the other objection is, “I don’t want it to lower my productivity. I don’t want to have less desire or less work ethic.”
Fact check on that is: True. The happier and more peaceful you are, the less likely you are to run out and change the world. At the same time, being unhappy is very inefficient. A peaceful person doesn’t have extraneous thoughts going through their head. If you’re a driven, unhappy person, your mind will be on 24/7.
Unhappy people don’t have good judgment
What are the consequences of this? You won’t sleep well. You’re much more likely to react with anger and dig yourself into a hole you have to dig out of. Your decisions are emotional and impetuous. You’re more likely to get caught in the busy trap—busy all the time and running from one thing to another because you can’t mentally prioritize.
When you don’t have peace of mind, it’s difficult to make judgments because you have too many threads going through your head. You don’t have time to devote to making those judgments.
There’s a tradeoff. If you become the Buddha tomorrow, it’s unlikely you’ll also launch rockets to the moon like Elon Musk. On the other hand, there are plenty of successful, optimistic scientists, innovators and other leaders—especially as they get older. Happy people aren’t always ineffective.
A peaceful mind makes better decisions
When I got happier in my own life, I became much more effective—even though I don’t work as hard as I used to. I’m able to form relationships with people who I would have kept at a distance earlier in my life, for whatever preconceived notions I held.
I make decisions much more clearly now, because I can see the long-term outcomes.I cut straight to the chase and don’t try and negotiate an extra 20% here or there—because I know that’s going to make me unhappy in the long-term, make the other person unhappy, and make the deal less stable.
I’ve become more productive even though I don’t work as hard, because I make better decisions.