Happiness Life Strategy: How to be happy while waiting for the bus

image ‘How long till the bus gets here?’

‘Should I walk instead?’

‘Maybe it’s just around the corner and then I’ll miss it.’

‘But if it’s not around the corner then how long till it gets here?’

If such Shakespearean dilemmas plaque your daily commute, you’ll be relieved to know there’s now a definitive, mathematically sanctioned solution to the bus-catcher’s bind.

New Scientist reports that Scott Kominers and some fellow Harvard mathematicians have come up with a formula for making the choice between waiting and walking – and you don’t even need a calculator.

Happiness life strategy

If neither option is clearly preferable (it doesn’t work if there’s a long wait between buses and a short walk to your destination or vice versa) then the formula says waiting, however vexatious*, is the preferred option.

Of course you can still choose to walk and get there later, but Kominers suggests you’ll save yourself frustration by making this decision pre-bus stop.

So put an end to vacillating and adopt Kominers’s solution. You’ll have a less stressful wait and a more relaxed ride – and you’ll probably be happier when you get where you’re going.

That is, unless you think you should take the train?

*My tip for making the wait less vexatious is to actually do The Bus Stop – simply copy the moves from the video. If nothing else, you’ll likely have the waiting area to yourself.

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