Happiness Rules: Beat Burnout, Embrace Happiness, and Become a Better Entrepreneur – Manuel Astruc
Success is the measure by which most entrepreneurs judge themselves. But success doesn’t guarantee happiness—especially if it leads to burnout.
Dr. Manuel Astruc wrote Happiness Rules: Beat Burnout, Embrace Happiness, and Become a Better Entrepreneur as a solution to the problem of entrepreneurial burnout.
Subscribe to AtomicIdeas Newsletter (Free!)
AtomicIdeas newsletter brings you one great bite-sized idea every day, curated from world's best non-fiction books, articles, podcasts..and more. Actionable. Atomic. In just 5 minutes!
In Happiness Rules, he offers practices developed using his knowledge of the mind and our motivations as humans—all gathered from his decades of work as a psychiatrist. And these rules aren’t hypothetical; Manuel has used them himself to escape from the deepest reaches of burnout.
Happiness Rules teaches readers how to make happiness the engine to success—rather than the outcome—leading to more personal fulfillment as well as being more productive, energetic, and engaged at home and at work.
Why Burnout is So Prevalent
Many of us believe that working hard is the key to success and happiness, but this mindset is unhealthy and can lead to addiction. When we eventually face burnout, there are few ways for society to bring us back to health and satisfaction.
Burnout is an occupational syndrome that modern medicine is not equipped to treat, as it prefers a quick diagnosis and pill for treatment, rather than addressing the root cause.
Four pressures that lead to burnout
- Highly demanding work
- High level of responsibility
- Low control
- Low reward
Entrepreneurs are exposed to all four. Most entrepreneurs strive to be good leaders. They want to motivate their teams, innovate their industry, inspire their customers, and push their companies to the limit. Unfortunately, the very qualities that allow an entrepreneur to do all this are the ones that make them most at risk of burnout.
The Happiness Rules Preamble
Your situation is not hopeless. No matter where you are on the burnout spectrum, the Happiness Rules can help pull you out of it.
With that in mind, there are three facts to recognize about yourself and your situation:
- You are not alone
- Change is possible
- There is hope
Each of these concepts is an integral mindset adjustment on the road to happiness and becoming a better, healthier entrepreneur.
Overoming Burnout: Getting Your Body into Shape
It is incredibly difficult to be happy and a successful entrepreneur if your fundamental physical and mental health is out of order. In fact, solidifying the foundations of your physical and mental health can arrest your slide into burnout.
To be a successful and happy entrepreneur, it’s essential to prioritize your physical and mental health.
Building a strong foundation of well-being can prevent burnout.
Small, consistent steps are key to creating lifelong habits that lead to motivation and progress. To improve physical health, start with simple changes like eating better, moving more, and prioritizing sleep.
Use BJ Fogg’s ABCs to develop new habits: anchor the habit to something you do every day, start with an easy behavior and build on it, and celebrate your wins to boost your motivation.
Remember, a system that ignores health is doomed to fail.
Getting Your Mind into Shape
If you want the benefits of this process, you need to be dealing with your psychological health at the same time. It doesn’t take a serious psychological illness to lead our brains into a cycle of negative thinking.
As with your physical health, you can start improving your mental health by reaching for that low-hanging fruit.
- Cut out negativity in your environment from sources like news media, social media, and people.
- You can also stop indulging “automatic negative thoughts” by putting up blinders to them rather than wallowing in them.
- Finally, set rules for when to stop working.
You won’t always be able to follow them, but creating clear boundaries to avoid “workaholic” working is important.
Learn and Grow
In a busy, stressful life, we often take every chance to make things less challenging. In some ways, this is one of the key motivators in entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurs are always trying to remove friction from the purchasing process for their customers and from their internal processes for their employees. Any time a challenge can be eliminated, we make a point of doing so.
However, we need challenges. It’s hard to be happy being on autopilot.
Flow and adjacent possibles can lead to a program of learning and growing, all while hunting for new opportunities.
Modern life has left us feeling isolated from our social connections, which is immensely difficult for our mental health. To find meaning, we require a strong social network. The 4 Cs summarize this need: Connection, Community, Collaboration, and Contribution.
Entrepreneurs are especially at risk for isolation, so it’s important to rebuild broken ties to family and friends. Stronger connections lead to healthier and happier lives. We can use technology to build the 4 Cs in our lives, such as finding groups to join, seeking collaboration, or finding our tribe through podcasts.
Blaze Your Own Trail
The knowledge that things can change is central to the Happiness Rules.
We are never finished products. Our ability to choose what our life is and what it will become is our superpower. To enable that superpower, though, we have to flip the switch from living by default to living by design.
To start flipping that switch, ask yourself these questions: What are you uniquely good at? What are you curious about? What do you want? What do you want to contribute?
Creating Resilient Happiness
The modern world seeks to eliminate struggle and maximize convenience, but struggle is inevitable.
You can choose the way of happiness—of health, learning, connecting, and blazing your own trail—through everything life throws at you. That is the power you have over your circumstances, whatever they happen to be.