The Confluence of What You’re Good at and What Turns You on

I have a theory about happiness. I’ll present it to you using this feature in the new iPhone OS that lets me draw pictures with my finger. Why they added this feature into text messaging is beyond me, but I’m enjoying it.  Maybe too much, as evidenced by this picture I made the other day.


It’s a ninja chopping someone’s head off.

Anyway, my theory about happiness.

Each of us has certain things that turn us on, in an existential sense. That looks like this:


Each of us also has things we either are good at through natural aptitude or can progress toward being good at through working to develop a particular skill. That looks like this:


There’s a place where these two circles intersect. It’s called the sweet spot. It looks like this:


My theory is that people who expend time and energy in that sweet spot are happier and more satisfied with how life is going than people who don’t. Furthermore, I believe that we can increase both the size of that sweet spot and the amount of time we spend in that sweet spot.

Engaging with things/people/activities that turn us on, that make us feel alive, create feelings of connection. I call these Yes! Moments. They’re a really important part of living.

What we’re good at, on the other hand, indicates where we have value to offer the people around us. Offering value is an important piece of making a living.

Living with an intention to make the world a more beautiful/connected/happy/loving place in the daily hustle is hard. Sometimes really fucking hard.

This sweet spot indicates where we can figure out how to both spend more of our time and energy doing the things we care about AND avoid living in a perpetual state of anxiety about having enough money not to end up on the street. It’s a tough line to walk, but I believe it’s worth pursuing.

Do you know where your sweet spot is?

If so, there’s value in figuring out how to spend more time there.

If you don’t know where it is, then I’d suggest your long-term happiness would benefit from putting some time and energy toward asking that question and then following where it leads.

Thanks for reading this far. Here’s a bonus picture of me giggling.


This post is influenced heavily by Seth Godin’s Linchpin and Cal Newport’s So Good They Can’t Ignore You


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s