The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha is the most therapeutic book I've read. The book's central thesis is straightforward:

Want Nothing + Do anything = Have Everything

But I believe the most paradigm-shifting insight came from the first chapter. We are accustomed to believing that in order to be happy, we must work hard and achieve great success, i.e., happiness is a by-product of hard work and success. However, according to the book, this is backward: happiness is the precursor, not the byproduct, of doing great work that will eventually lead to success.

Although it may appear to be counterintuitive at first, the "Be happy first" mindset is reasonable. You are more engaged and focused when you are happy. And when you're engaged and focused, you produce excellent results! In addition, the book suggests research-backed activities that can make people happy in order to start a happiness-work-success flywheel:

  1. Three walks
  2. The 20-minute replay
  3. Random acts of kindness
  4. A complete unplug
  5. Hit Flow
  6. 2-minute meditations
  7. Five gratitudes  

This simple shift in mindset has far-reaching consequences. For one thing, I've noticed that this mindset makes me less frustrated with my output and less likely to overthink whether any activity will be fruitful. I believe the most significant effect was the shift from seeking personal validation for my performance to simply accepting the inherent joy I felt while doing the work.

This book has so many insights, and I'm glad I read it before starting college, where most of us were emotionally challenged and tested. It's also one of my go-to books when I'm feeling down. Most insecurities and unhelpful anxieties are eliminated by adopting this mindset. To be honest, it just makes my daily activities more enjoyable.