5 Rules For A Happy Life


Charles Murray’s 5 Rules For A Happy Life:

  1. Consider Marrying Young
  2. Learn How to Recognize Your Soul Mate
  3. Eventually Stop Fretting About Fame and Fortune (Fame and wealth do accomplish something: They cure ambition anxiety. But that’s all. It isn’t much…)
  4. Take Religion Seriously
  5. Watch “GroundHog Day” Repeatedly

#4: Now that we’re alone, here’s where a lot of you stand when it comes to religion: It isn’t for you. You don’t mind if other people are devout, but you don’t get it. Smart people don’t believe that stuff anymore. I can be sure that is what many of you think because your generation of high-IQ, college-educated young people, like mine 50 years ago, has been as thoroughly socialized to be secular as your counterparts in preceding generations were socialized to be devout…I am describing my own religious life from the time I went to Harvard until my late 40s. I still describe myself as an agnostic, but my unbelief is getting shaky…Start by jarring yourself out of unreflective atheism or agnosticism. A good way to do that is to read about contemporary cosmology. The universe isn’t only stranger than we knew; it is stranger and vastly more unlikely than we could have imagined, and we aren’t even close to discovering its last mysteries. That reading won’t lead you to religion, but it may stop you from being unreflective.  Find ways to put yourself around people who are profoundly religious. You will encounter individuals whose intelligence, judgment and critical faculties are as impressive as those of your smartest atheist friends—and who also possess a disquieting confidence in an underlying reality behind the many religious dogmas. 

Read all five rules here.

Image Credit


  1. So timely…and I believe it’s true..find the religion somewhere…Can’t say I could watch Groundhog Day over and over again (sorry for the pun)…Marrying young? Sure – if you’ve accomplished #2. If not, then I’d hold off until you’ve mastered it. 😉


  2. Marrying young with your soul mate is not really that simple. It takes time. I married late and happy about this. For what concerns point 4, I am an agnostic myself and I understand that my life could be smoother having religion as answer to all my questions, but I do believe in reason and I have doubts. I loved the movie, but once a year could be just enough 🙂 Stefy


  3. I believe in God… but I don’t believe in religion! There’s a huge difference. I’m with Spinoza, when he says “the relationship between God and a human being is something very personal; no one else should be interfering with that!”. So, for me, no priests, no Pope, no ministers, thank you very much. Just me and God. It’s a private conversation.


  4. My take on Murray’s #4 is that he’s not promoting religion, per se, but consciousness and a healthy sense of wonder. Labeling oneself an “ism” of any kind shuts us off from a plethora of life and experience (IMHO).


  5. #1 – married young. did not go well, except for amazing daughters.
    #2 – i hope i do.
    #3 – fame and fortune never appealed to me or motivated me.
    #4 – have done all i can do to move away from organized religion. spiritual in my own way. most closely align with the approach of eastern religions.
    #5 – liked it, but an occasional view is good now.

    sorry for such a long answer, but as you know, i like to speak my mind. b


  6. Reblogged this on ROYAL & ROAR COMMUNICATION.


  7. betternotbroken says:

    I follow your blog, I will continue to do so, but I stopped following the Wall Street Journal on Facebook when it presented this list as “news.” Marrying young and promoting the idea of soul mates to inexperienced people who have not developed themselves can be very, very bad advice and to me extremely outdated. I did that, I don’t recommend that thinking to anyone. I will give you #3 and replace religion with spirituality and pass on Groundhog Day.


    • Hi. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate your candor. Like many/all of the Top 5 Rules of anything, I find some of the shared “wisdom” applies to me and much not. I didn’t care much for the movie Ground Hog Day, yet his thinking on #4 Religion resonated very much with me – and I excerpted this section in my Sunday share. I married young and it worked out much as he said in his article, but I know many others close to me where this was a very poor choice. And because #4, made me pause, think deeply about my path, I put it up hoping maybe others could benefit as well. Thanks again.


      • betternotbroken says:

        Yes, I thought perhaps he was joking with Ground Hog day, a dreadful film. Keep lying to women until you get it right?. At any rate, I have to admit religion and participating in its rituals have helped me yet I am vastly aware of how it can be misapplied to cause harm hence my emphasis on spirituality. I am glad that you married young and it worked out, it is nice to hear of successes in that department.


  8. Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? … from the King James Bible Online (KJV Bible).


  9. #4 taking religion seriously and the search for a greater meaning to life takes on more weight as one gets older. Picking up from the daily grind to answer the fundamental questions of how did this all start and what is my role here, brings people back to religion and/or drives them to doing things to help other people. I think Murray was right on with this one.


  10. It’s been quite a time when I started to know you & this post is a proof of the change in your perspective (regardless of the percentage of increase as am not sure about it) of GOD and being religious in fact let’s call it being conscious nonetheless I am glad about this change.

    P.S. Loved the post.


Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: