How to set up your life to make you happy and high impact with little long term effort - passive happiness.
An idea that is very transformative is the idea of a passive benefit. It’s usually applied to income, but it can apply to any goals you have. The basic idea is that you can invest some initial effort, then the benefit will keep going with little to no additional effort on your part. In income, this is usually done either through capital (e.g., buying a house or apartment building, then renting it out) or through creating a business that you then step back from (think Silicon Valley serial entrepreneurs).
The thing is that you can apply this to happiness and impact too. You can think about things that, after you put in the initial effort, require little maintenance and still produce emotional well being or less suffering in the world. For example, with happiness, where you live and who your spouse is requires some up front investment, but then it continues to provide happiness for years to decades afterwards with little maintenance. Likewise, with impact, if you start or fund a new charity then step back, that charity can keep producing impact long after you’re gone.
Some general principles of creating passive happiness include:
Change your environment
If the idea of passive impact or happiness appeals to you, I recommend taking a moment right now to think about how it might apply to your life, then come up with a plan on how to implement it.
The Parable of the Boy Who Cried 5% Chance of Wolf
The most important lesson I learned after ten years in EA
Why fun writing can save lives
I'm an effective altruist who co-founded Nonlinear, Charity Entrepreneurship, and Charity Science Health (Suvita)