Happiness is a 3-Part Formula: The AIR Equation

Are you in pursuit of happiness? Are there negative people in your life who bring you down?

Do you wish that someday we’ll stop stumbling and find the secret to end wars, school shootings, and other atrocities that stem from unhappiness? The AIR Equation, a targeted 3-part happiness formula, may be the solution.

In 2006, a research organization conducted a happiness survey project covering careers, love relationships, dating, friends, family, home life, and childhood. The findings:

1. There are 3 factors that significantly impact happiness: Acceptance, Inspiration, and Respect.

2. Together, these factors create an equation that explains 92% of happiness--very high accuracy.

3. Peace and love, trumpeted since the 1960s as sources of happiness, did not score high enough to be included in the final equation.

The AIR Equation was born, an easy-to-recall acronym for the 3 keys to concentrate on in life:

HAPPINESS = 50% Acceptance + 28% Inspiration + 22% Respect
Now you know the formula for happiness, spiritual inner items that don’t cost money. And researchers learned long ago that man-made materialistic items are not significant factors of happiness, so put your checkbooks, credit cards, and loan officers away.

A follow-up second survey is now underway. To contribute to the research and get a FREE happiness assessment to compare your results to worldwide averages, click here.

Acceptance: Do you have a need for more tolerance, cooperation, approval, or agreement? Discrimination falls under this factor, making diversity and related issues very important for human resources professionals. Half of one’s happiness is based on acceptance--whether it’s from another person or themselves--making true happiness virtually impossible without it. Abraham Lincoln had a strategy for this: “I destroy my enemy by making him my friend.”
Inspiration: Are you yearning for a revelation, elevation, vision, encouragement, or enthusiasm? Expectations and thoughts about your future affect inspiration. For many workers, “glass ceilings” hurt motivation and morale. The brighter you believe tomorrow will be, the happier you’ll be.

Respect: Does your life lack appreciation, recognition, courtesy, esteem, dignity, or honor? Many of our institutions value honor. It adds joy to careers, parent-child relationships, and marriages. Bono--activist, U2 band leader, and Liberty Award winner for DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa)--said, "To be one, to be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater."

This provides context to what drives protesters into the streets when a public figure does or says something that violates one of these 3 factors. It makes them unhappy! Despite the source of darkness in your life, there is no need to go on a revengeful rampage. You always have the liberty to be forgiving, good, and happy anyway.
Think about Helen Keller who, after accepting her deafness and blindness, traveled all over the globe to inspire millions, garnering respect from the greatest world leaders. Look at Alexandra Scott and the Alex's Lemonade Stand phenomenon this young terminally-ill girl created. From a Roman prison, Saint Paul inspired himself and his free-but-troubled comrades hundreds of miles away by saying, “In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”


If you’re like me, deep down you not only want to know how to be happy but you also want others to be happy so they’ll stop dishing out the opposite! Use the AIR Equation to prioritize your pursuit of happiness (or help someone else’s pursuit). Here are some tips.

Acceptance: This factor comes first. Your greatest source of acceptance should be yourself. Don’t dwell on your negatives or unacceptance, but rather focus on your positive strengths. Avoid judging others or yourself. As social animals, humans tend to herd in their reactions to things. When they herd around negatives, resist the temptation to follow--rise above this animal nature.

Inspiration: Surround yourself with people who add inspiration to your life and reduce time with people who don’t. Join groups with people who share your traits and interests. Dream. Then set goals to achieve that dream. You’ll feel better about your future when you work toward something positive and rewarding, and believe that the payoff will come.

Respect: Be proud of yourself. Again, focus on the positive things about you that most people don’t have, like certain admirers, awards, and abilities. Let these credentials be known. Carry yourself as one worthy of respect. And treat others with respect as well. When you become known as a respectful person, you’ll be surprised at how much people will come to your defense when your own respect is threatened.

Give AIR: Happiness follows the law of supply and demand, too: the less of it there is, the more valuable it becomes. Giving happiness to others is a great way to get happiness back. This philosophy dates back more than 2,500 years, from Confucius’s teachings of helping humanity to modern day Positive Psychology. Milton Hershey, founder of the namesake chocolate empire, claimed that, “One is only happy in proportion as he makes others feel happy, and only useful as he contributes his influences for the finer callings in life.”

A purposeful happy soul is a productive healthy soul. Negative quotes such as “Good guys finish last” and “Revenge is a dish best served cold” are counterproductive and detract from happiness. Use positive quotes instead. Respect people for their strengths, offer inspiration to use them, and accept people for their weaknesses. Aid instead of insult their improvement.

Don’t take AIR from others: Avoid peer pressure to do bad things to gain acceptance, or lower others’ inspiration to feel better about your own, or bully people to gain respect. It makes the other party revengeful. Happiness is often a two-way street.

Those who choose solitary lifestyles or have high esteem may not need AIR from others, feeling they generate it for themselves. Granted, they’re not taking AIR from anyone, but they miss out on the reward that comes from helping humanity.


Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” According to Mahatma Gandhi, “We must become
the change we want to see in the world.” Start a new peace sign for the new millennium--AIR, a symbol for happiness.

Join the cause. Take an assessment and see how happy you are compared to the society averages. After applying the Equation, you’ll probably end your pursuit of happiness successfully, relieved and ready to “Give me some AIR!”

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Anonymous said...

awesome idea. i'tll be great if it catch on

Cleveland said...

Thanks for the positive words.

Cleveland said...

Thanks for the positive words.

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i've bookmarked your site. i heard about your quotes. someone sent me a link.

Anonymous said...

love ya

John said...

Very interesting survey. You should put it on myspace.

Toni Grunner said...

Another unhappy soul, another shooting.

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