When Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was young, he defined a successful life for himself — one that, despite its radical simplicity, has worked for almost 50 years.
"I thought out my philosophies when I was about 20 years old ... How do you do in life? ... How do you become a good person?" explains Wozniak, speaking at the at the Nordic Business Forum in Stockholm on January 24.
He continues, "It if I died and had all this wealth and yachts and all this stuff, would I be as happy as when I laugh? And I thought about pranks I played and jokes I had told and music I would hear that would make me smile, and I came up with my formula that life is about happiness."
Yes, a formula. Always the engineer.
"Maybe success with money makes you happy too — but for me it was really just down to earth laughter and smiles. So I came up with my formula: Happiness equals smiles minus frowns," says Wozniak. "H = S-F."
"The Woz," as he is affectionately called, determined a key way to maximize happiness is to decrease the amount of sadness in your life.
"How do you get rid of the frowns? I worked on that," says Wozniak, who is now 67.
"Don't care that much that you are going to frown. Let things happen. Things do go badly in life and just say, 'Hey, my car got scratched, I will fix it,'" he explains.
In these situations, complaining or blaming others is just going to make things worse, says Wozniak. So will judging other people.
"And don't argue. Don't argue! You don't win an argument, you just walk away unhappy," says Wozniak. "You only have to convince one person in life, and that is yourself.
"This kept me so happy, to this day. My mind just kind of floats in a state of happiness and I just don't really have a lot of always being upset," he says.
Indeed. Speaking in Stockholm, Wozniak continually smiles, gestures and is easily excited. It's that genuine enthusiasm that drove Wozniak to work in computing. Building computers was not a plan to get rich.
"I was never into money in any way — finance — to this day I have never used Apple stock app, I don't buy and sell stock," Wozniak says.
In fact, Wozniak sold virtually all his bitcoin holdings when the price shot up so he wouldn't be compelled to watch the price yo-yo. "I don't want that kind of care in my life. Part of my happiness is not to have worries."
Of course, Wozniak is worth millions, by one account as much as $100 million, so perhaps that's easy to say.
But there is one thing that makes him mad, he says: illogical, counter-intuitive machine user experience.
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