Structure a happier life

Posted by Mohammed Nazari on Friday, December 6, 2013 Under: Logic First - Emotion Third
Structure a happier life

Author: Mohammed Nazari

What is Happiness?
And how do we get there?
Is happiness a multiplication of pleasure?

You can't have a home if you don't have a house, but you can have a house, that is not a home.

Logic and practicality is the structure and foundation of a house, while emotions and feelings are the furniture and the decor.

You can't be the happiest if you are not realistic. Although you can be realistic, and not the happiest.

I believe happiness can be achieved the best when we have a logical approach.

A logical foundation is required for genuine happiness.

Dr Martin Seligner, uses the term "Positive emotions" instead of happiness, and believes we can get there through PERMA (Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationship, Meaning, Accomplishment). Although I do believe in the same principle, I tend to word and structure it differently which I believe is easier to understand and apply to our daily living.

My main objective is to demonstrate the logical principles that affects our happiness level and how we can improve on those in our lives.

These are my beliefs on how we can achieve a structured happier life:

Life is made of two parts: 1. the Facts of life (objective), 2. our Understanding of these facts (subjective)
Education and Feedback help one to be more objective.

Happiness is a combination of A. Peace B. Excitement C. Goal

A. Peace:

Peace is a key in the line of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Please remember these are rather a simplified explanation and my version and does not exactly represent what Maslow has said.

We must grow through the following stages to accomplish and be in a Peaceful stage. Again growing out of these stages is when we FEEL we have got enough, hopefully in a realistic manner.

1. Physiological needs: which mostly can be addressed by Money for purchasing food, shelter, clothing. Which unfortunately even in this era a lot of us get stuck in this stage and have difficulty growing out of it by wanting more, believing we require more money to be happy.

  A friend of mine is a good example, lets call him Ahmad Abdulla or a simpler name Bob, who is a surgeon and is very well off and earns a very good income; more than $600,000.00 a year.  Bob gets his excitement by working hard and making more money. Is this a problem? I believe it is. By focusing on money he is stuck in the first step of Maslow's hierarchy of needs and Although he gets his excitement, seems happy and receives his immediate satisfaction from making more money, this grasp of positive emotions is not long term and becomes more difficult to repeat. It will get boring sooner or later. I am sure in the long run he will lose on other aspects of life e.g. his family. I am sure if he doesn't change, he will end up with a divorce.

I can't wait till that happens, I am gonna marry his wife, she will be rich enough to be Loveable:)

Success of a business is measured by money, while success of a man is measured by happiness. Life is not a business.

2. Safety and security
from being harmed or attacked by others, animals or having your belongings taken away from you.

A client of mine was a Professional Cage Fighter. He was a bit paranoid and was constantly concerned of who approached him at all times. So his solution was to be on guard all the time, by carrying a knife.

My concern was that his paranoia of his safety could interfere with the safety of other peoples, e.g. attacking someone who mistakenly bumped into him. I tried to help him understand that cage fighting was rather a sport, not my favorite, but that the other party was a good person, like himself and was in that cage only for the purpose of the sport or … but not for the purpose of hurting people outside of that cage.

To protect our material belongings, insurance does it for me.

3. Love and belonging, having a loving family, relatives or close friends around, who care about you, and who you care about.

An example is my Grandma. She had four daughters including my mother.  three of her daughters lived in Shiraz. Only my aunty Ehteram, in Kazeroon where my grandma lived at the time. Living on your own in Iran, is very difficult and expensive. Need is one reason the family is tight. In another word 1. we can’t afford to hate each other or 2. we learn how to live under one roof when hating each other. This is how some people carry on with their friendship when hating each other, I am not talking minor or respectful disagreements. They find this a norm to have a hateful friendship/relationship.

Aunty Ehteram was the main person who looked after my grandma. This went on for years.
As my grandma became older, she also became more ill and needed more help. However more than anything, she needed attention. Using her health challenges as an excuse, she looked for more help and attention than she truly needed. Nothing was as important as she focused on what went wrong in her life and health. This situation became bad enough that in a short time, the four sisters were passing my grandma around to one another to be taken care of.

Once she went to a doctor in our neighborhood. The doctor asked my Grandma, “What is the problem?” My grandma replied, “You’re the doctor. You tell me what my problem is.” :) She even refused to explain to the doctor the symptoms she was complaining about. I believe this was not just because of her lack of education, and rather lack of responsibility and expecting others to do things for her.

After the death of my great grandma, my family was able to use her inheritance to buy my grandma a small house close to us. I did help my grandma from time to time. She wanted me to become a doctor treating all her illnesses. At times I pretended and gave her injections and acted as if I knew what I was talking about:)

If my grandma had read my blog, she would have known better to focus on the final goal in Life which is happiness and not as much on her own health and needs. And probably this would have helped her keep her dignity and that people would be happier and continue to help her.

My grandma passed away around age of 75, only few years after being relocated to the new house and being forced to live independently. I miss you grandma.

4. Self esteem and self confidence. Feeling satisfied with who and where in life you are without any need to pretend to be a different person (e.g. pretending to be rich, or strong and influential, or a show off), strongly wish to have more of something else in your life or wish to have someone else's life.

To boost your confidence, practice and become good at ONE thing. Education and Feedback helps you to be realistic as how good you are, otherwise you might become unrealistic by becoming cocky or yet feeling in confident.

One good example is some beggars in Iran who come to you asking for help but they act as if they are doing you the favor by saying they will pray for you in return and very proud of themselves (I believe they call themselves Morshed)

I do run long distance, ONLY in summer, I hibernate as soon as the temperature falls below zero. In one of the post running race parties (Queen City Marathon), I asked one of the runners that is a cardiac surgeon, if he knew of the effect of running on the life expectancy. He responded that he knew a bit and did not make any solid comments. Interesting enough another runner who was not in the health profession nor self educated by any means, lets call him Johnny, started making very solid comments on how running makes life healthier, knowing I am a Physical Therapist with some training in sports injuries, and its effects on life expectancy, knowing the other guy is a cardiac surgeon . Regardless Johnny was confident. (Not recommended)

Often, confidence is due to lack and seldom due to a lot of knowledge. The ones who have average knowledge don’t make solid comments and say “I don’t know”

A wrong way of gaining self confidence is putting others down in order to feel superior towards them. This becomes a war zone and this makes one become defensive and not open to constructive criticism.

In order to reach the final stage, stage 5, one needs to be rather satisfied with the first 4 stages in his/her life.

At times, due to lack of knowledge or being bold enough, one may achieve self confidence and get to the stage of Self Actualization, while others with more knowledge are yet pondering on their credibility. Where do I stand?

5. Self actualization
, where you start to give from your abundance and not from your need.
Giving out of abundance: giving and helping with no expectations in return.
Giving out of need: giving and helping with an expectation in return. e.g. loving or helping others hoping they will love or help you back.

Since we are living in a society and not all alone, to have a better life we MUST give back to our community, in any way we can. This will make our own lives better, not only because of the satisfaction of helping others, but also the sense of community and caring, which will come back one way or another.

Keeping in mind, good things happen in good places. In some communities you may not get as much back as you give. Do you give back, helping others when you can?

At times one gets stuck in one stage e.g. one can have millions of dollars yet feel poor, or even feel rich, but seeks more and cannot find their way out of that stage.

Or one might receive a lot of love and attention and have lots of family and friends around but feel they need more love and attention.

Often we never grow out of one of the above first 4 stages and keep asking for more, more love and attention, more family and friends, more money, more safety, more confidence, but not satisfied enough to move forward. Finally we will never get to the Self Actualization and peace. What is it that you want more of? Have you been realistic? Is it in or out of your control to change things? What do you want to do about it?

One can be at Peace, have nothing specific to complain about, but not have a happy life and live in a boring life. Nothing to drive them forward, a reason to wake up in the morning and do something. While they have all the basics for a good life.

Question: Do you know people that fit this category; someone who has everything but do not seem happy?  Who are satisfied with their life, and give from their abundance e.g. volunteering here and there, but not quite happy!

Consider Peace as a lake; the deeper the lake(more money, safety, love and belonging, confidence and finally giving from abundance), the less chances of hitting the bottom, however if there is no movement, it starts to become boring and grow algae then begins to stink.

Peace is long term and stable, neither gained nor lost easily.

When there is no peace, the excitement hits the bottom more easily and frequently. A person who has more highs and lows in their life are more vulnerable and more addicted to the excitement and partying. They usually go through more of “very happy” or “very sad” days.

It takes more work and time to receive peace. Since there are different contributing factors, some are out of our control, e.g. our society or family and surroundings.

Self actualization and being peaceful, such as life, is partly objective and partly subjective. That is why some may have less than others in all of the first four stages, but have reached the 5th stage, self actualization, and feel peaceful.

I might be a good example. Some of you may be better than me in the first four elements of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, but you may not think of yourself as such, while I come and write this blog. Am I qualified enough to write this blog? Your feedback will help to understand if I have been objective enough.

B. Excitement:

“Excitement” is what fuels our daily lives, e.g. getting together with friends, traveling, daily work, sports, hobbies and so on.

Excitement is like the waves on the lake. If the waves are strong and the lake is shallow, there are more chances of the waves hitting the bottom. This is why when one does not have deep peace, the smallest wave can make him/her very happy or sad. This is how we get to be a bit moody or vulnerable. If you can change your feelings easily, e.g. deciding today is a good or bad day, then you need to get some depth in your “Peace”. A more peaceful and stable life does not rock as much or as easy.

Excitement is short lived and in the near future. Excitement without a goal is like waves on a rope with a loose end, which can take control of the direction of the rope, although where there is a goal, then the excitement can't take control or change direction.

e.g, one Christmas, I noticed that a friend of mine's child got around $700.00 on gifts, while she was not wealthy, and regardless that was a waste of money. I expressed my disagreement, but she replied, “Look at the excitement he has when opening those gifts, that moment is worth the money.” I replied, “So what you are teaching him is to spend money you don't have only to get excited for a moment?” Maybe the next thing can be drugs, you get high for a moment, or jump off a cliff, you get a rush for a moment, till you hit the ground. What about if you would teach him to save or to give a portion of the money to the poor children across the world.

One should learn how to celebrate the simple things and to experience the joy of giving.

C. Goal: Which can be short or long term.
We require both short and long term goals. This is our reason to wake up in the morning and have a drive in life.

I believe this is a main part in the west that we lack and need to focus on, having a healthy and reasonable goal in life. In the east people often have a goal, providing the basics for themselves and their family and their next generations, since there is not enough financial or political safety.

Those who have a “Goal” in life, do not become too happy nor too sad. They choose the type of excitement in their life.

Having a goal provides a direction and anchor to stabilize things a bit more, while excitement alone has a loose end and can rock your world in the wrong ways. Your goal will be the stabilizer, stopping one from getting too excited or loosing direction. It is beneficial to enjoy the process and celebrate the results.

One should make sure the excitements he/she chooses are repeatable and that are aligned with the long term “Goal”. Eg jumping off the cliff is exciting but not repeatable, having expensive parties can endanger your wealth.

Based on one’s personality you may choose goals that are easily reachable or rather challenging. One main principle is:
Your Goal in life must be in welfare of yourself at the same time not against the welfare of the general human being.

People with a goal choose their friends, otherwise friends will choose their goal. Surround yourself with smart people. Keep me around :)

Home work:

Assess your life, what should you focus on?


1. Physiological: Do you have enough money or income to get to where you want to? If not What are you going to change, make more money or lower your expectations, or a combination of both?

2. Safety and security: Are you concerned of being harmed or your possessions taken away? If not, you have it pretty good

3. Love and belonging: Do you have a family and friends around. Are you a part of a community? If not what is your plan?


If I would say I would give you $1,000,000.00 right now but you would never ever see your wife/husband, child, friend... Would you take it?  This can simply be used to see how much you care about your loved ones.  You can change the dollar amount or compare with some other valuable things in your life.

4. Self esteem and self confidence: How happy are you with yourself?  Do you wish to have someone else's life?  Not just a portion of it, the whole life of someone else. Do you put others down to feel better yourself?

5. Self actualization: What is your abundance?  What do you do for others with no expectations? Remember in order to have a happy life you need to help others when you can and if you qualify, e.g. if you are not a mechanic don't offer help in fixing cars:) stick to what you are good at.

Which one of the above 5 needs more attention? Can you change things or it is out if your control?


Do you have enough excitement in your life? Getting together with friends and family, sports or hobbies . Do these excitements align with your Goal or make it harder or even impossible to achieve those Goals?

What are your short and long term goals in life? Are they realistic  and achievable?

Do you celebrate what you have or Mourn on what you don’t?

In : Logic First - Emotion Third 

comments powered by Disqus

Translate This Page


A Personal Journey (Speech)

Author: Mohammed Nazari

Please find the link to the YouTube videos below

Part 1:

                               Part 2:

  •  It is amazing, when you have a big "goal" in mind, most other big "problems" look like small "challenges"       
  • Education in Canada is more practical than in the east which is more theoretical. After all you can find the theory in books or online, without needing to go to school.

Reasons for my failure as an employee:

1. Higher Canadian standards and sensitivity level  

2. My defensive behavior    

  •  Blaming  your behavior or action does not mean blaming you as a person
  • One for all, All for one

3. Inability to be honest with my own feelings  

  • Pride that has no basis, doesn't allow you to be honest.

4.  Canadian are too polite to be honest   

  •  If you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything
  • Read between the lines


  •  Knowledge of higher/different Canadian standards and simply following versus questioning them
  •  Longer orientation
  •  Welcoming comments and asking for further explanation versus defending our self
  • Being honest with our feelings and abilities:

o   Acknowledging your weakness is a sign of honesty and makes you stronger.

  • Asking versus commenting:

o   Don't assume, ask question

o   Don't comment, ask question

o   Don't judge, ask question

o   When in doubt, ask question

o   When you think you know, ask questions to clarify

o Comments are not welcome, questions are

·         What kind of question?

1. Open ended and unbiased questions

2. Yes-No questions to clarify

When you have a car problem whom you ask for help? your Doctor, mother or mechanic.

Although this question seems silly, we make this mistake all the time, asking a professional question from people outside of that profession and building opinions.

  • Ask questions from the right person(s). The ones with proven success.


You will learn more from the successful people who can show you how to succeed.

Unsuccessful people can show you how not to fail the way they did.

 While the pathways to success are few, there are multiple pathways to fail.

Which one is easier and more effective to learn?

 Uncle Google and my cousin YouTube can help you with any questions.

Starting my own business

  •  In order to have a good society/business, good structure is more important than good people.
  •  The main sources of work/interpersonal problems are: communication and expectations.
  •  Interpersonal skills are not just talking nicely but much more importantly is to follow a structure and    framework, even if it is not the best structure.
  • Having a poor structure is better than having no structure

I would I would recommend that you ask my uncle and cousin, Google and YouTube, about the following:


  • Active listening
  •  Critical thinking
  • Yes-No question
  • Open ended question
  • how to be honest with oneself


After all My success and happiness depends on your success and happiness.

Let us make life better for all of us.