Emotional Self Portrait

Update: You can now download the spreadsheet here.

This post unveils a little bit more of my weirdness :-p Every Sunday for the last two and a half years I have set aside five minutes to grade myself on a scale from 1 to 10 on eight different aspects of my overall happiness. I then take this feedback and use it to prioritize the tasks for my week to come. For example, if I am feeling unhappy about the physical shape I am in, I add more gym appointments to my calendar. I call this exercise my emotional self portrait.

As you can see from the radar graph above, I grade my happiness in the following areas:

  • Romance
  • Sexual
  • Social
  • Spiritual
  • Mental
  • Physical
  • Professional
  • Financial

When I first started this project, I built a spreadsheet to automatically draw up some cool graphs (can graphs really ever be cool?) for me. Spreadsheet available here.

I included some of my favorites below:

Overall Happiness

Above is the average of all eight areas of happiness graphed over time. This roughly shows how happy I was overall for the last two and a half years. One note of interest is that I was quantifiably more happy when I was living in Argentina than when I was living in Los Angeles. :-) It also shows the happiest week I have ever had. (This is illustrated in the spike 3/4ths of the way through the graph.) At the time I was living in Argentina and living with both my girlfriend and one of my best friends. Good times :-D

Sexual and Romantic Happiness

This shows the relationship of my sexual happiness vs my romantic happiness. As you might have guessed, they correlate. ;-p My guess is that the latter led to the former as me not being romantic tended to have me sleeping on the couch more often. lol... tear.

Physical and Mental Happiness

This illustrates the relationship between my physical and mental happiness. As you can see when I was physically feeling unhappy, my mental happiness also declined.

Financial and Professional Happiness

This graph shows the relationship between my professional (job) happiness and my financial (money) happiness. I find this interesting because it is clear from the data that being more financially happy did not necessarily make me more happy with my job.

Note: I changed the dates in the graphs above so that the people who know me well won’t be able to figure out how my involvement with people and companies impacted how I was feeling at the time. It would be really weird if the Internet knew exactly how my sex life differed in relation to the girls I dated at the time ;-p That is too much sharing.

I have been working on a hobby project for about five years trying to figure out the best way to quantify happiness :-) In a roundabout way, this was one interest of mine that eventually led to the creation of my life list. I imagine this whole area will be the topic of my next book.

If you find this process or topic interesting, let me know in the comments below and I will write more about it. If people are interested, I’d be happy to open source the spreadsheet and go into more details about how this has impacted my daily mindset.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Of course this process is interesting..and tks for sharing your idea to put in graphs (even though they are not cool) happiness… Anyway, good thing to open source the spreadsheet and share ideas
    ps. In my opinion graphs are more sexy when they are naked (very simple, when they tell a story with simple line for example..)
    look forward to see details

    • Good to hear from you Franco (as always). Give me about a week as I am just about to leave the country and I’ll write a post about my whole process as well as link to my spreadsheets and files.

      • Great Danny! waiting for your work ;)

  • Milo

    Danny, great blog and I love your happiness categories, however I would probably add another being family.

    If you could make the spreadsheet available it would be great. An interesting project for me is attempting to get the work, life balance right as both my family and professional career demand my time and it is a challenge to balance both. So your methodology would definitely be of benefit.

    • I have put a lot of thought into that actually. I used to have relationships instead of romance but ended up switching it back.

      As of right now, I include family within social and spirituality.

  • Hans

    I want to see the spreadsheet.

    • Cool, let me finalize them and finish a quick vacation and I’ll post them on the site.

  • Nathan Didier

    Hey Danny!

    I’d LOVE this process in my own arsenal. I’ll even give you a dollar for it! =P It seems that it would be fairly intuitive to set this idea up on my own, though I’m sure you have it a bit more perfected than anything I’d come up with.

    It’s interesting to see how happy you are, as it’s a decent struggle for myself to stay happy day in and day out… though I think it’s likely due to my lack of structuring in my own life. I think your next book should be ‘The Dover Handbook, Guide to Success through Happiness.’ Regardless of what the book is titled, know that I’m envious of your lifestyle and fully intend to live it in the near future. Any bits and pieces of advice would be great, even though I know you can’t cover them all in a simple comment.

    Thanks again for the inspiration Danny =) Take care in your next adventures.

    • Always good to hear from you Nathan :-)

      Its fairly simple but I’ll post the files to make it a little easier.

      With regard to the book, I like your idea of separating out success and happiness. They are related but certainly not the same thing. Keep reading the blog and I’ll do my best to give advice and share experiences here. It turns out this stuff is quite complicated and I am only able to chip away at learning it myself one small piece at a time.

      Wishing you the best buddy!

  • Mark

    I too would be extremely keen to get a hold of the spreadsheet

    • Will do! Give me about a week and I will write a post on the whole process and link to the files.

  • Very cool concepts of mapping happiness. When I first saw the graphic, it made me think of the personality testing done through work. I like the octagonal representation best as a snapshot – quick way to see an imbalance, although, as I read through, I saw the correlations with time easier to make in the linear representation. Interesting post. May try something along those lines – as my life is going through some big changes – would have been cool to start as little as one month ago!

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