Prioritizing happiness is hard. When you are a startup founder it’s hard squared.

Usually, instead of letting it simply be, founders try to chase happiness. Or they give up the idea completely. But these are two very radical approaches that we want to avoid.

Let’s start with defining what causes unhappiness.

Cause 1. Overthinking.

The biggest cause of unhappiness is your own mind. No, mental chatter will never stop. Yes, you can learn how to control it and use it only when you need it. You can start by focusing on what’s in front of you right now.

Cause 2. Being in a bad shape.

When you don’t work out & eat only junk, you feel bad physically by your own doing, and not being able to unrecognize it, you automatically feel bad mentally. Being sick or injured is a different thing. You can start with carefully planning your healthy meals ahead of time or let your caring partner help you with it.

Cause 3. Toxic relationships.

Some humans are simply not a good fit. And that’s ok. When you try to force a relationship, it never works. Start with practicing being alone, sitting with yourself, noticing what you need and want, becoming your own best partner. Don’t be stuck in the middle.

As you’ve spotted, unhappiness is very easily created, and not so easily transformed.

You need to learn the art of making difficult choices in order to be happy.

What choice would you make first? What about the next one? And the next? Presuming that you know you can’t bring happiness into your life by just tolerating negativity.

Tolerating works to some extent and in specific situations, for example, for achieving your SMART goals. But it doesn’t work for happiness.

All three causes are within your control, and your goal here is to create your personal system of prioritizing happiness every day. Happiness is not a given – it’s a choice and a responsibility.

So, which cause will you work on first?


  • Alla Adam

    Smart Human | Lean Startup Coach | Investor | Author


    Alla Adam is an investor, and a master certified coach with an MBA, MS & BS in international economic relations and marketing. Alla also holds two executive education certifications from Yale School of Management and Harvard Law School, both in negotiation strategies. She is an affiliate member at The Institute of Coaching, McLean/Harvard Medical School, and HeartMath Institute. Alla is proudly future-proofing humans across the globe since 2003. Alla's Client list includes smart humans from such companies & institutions as Amazon, Google, Kraft Heinz, Red Bull, Coca-Cola, Danone, PepsiCo, Nestle, JTI, Ernst & Young, BlaBlaCar, Forbes, London Business School, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, etc. She is an advocate for womxn & LGBTQ rights, and an author of two Playbooks: Million Dollar Coach Playbook and Million Dollar Investor Playbook.