Reflections on MTI’s “Happiness Formula” & How It Has Shaped My Personal and Professional Life

By Anna Woodring, MTI Strength and Conditioning Coach 

Being a subscriber to MTI, I made a consistent effort to go through each published article. While certain articles resonated with me more than others, I still enjoyed diving into topics that were unfamiliar to broaden my knowledge. Many of these articles caught my attention to the point where I recommend them to my fellow Marines. However, there was one article in particular, titled “The Happiness Formula,” by Rob in 2019, that left an impact on my life.

The Happiness Formula:
Doing work you love +
Living in a place you love +
Being around people you love = happiness

Getting 2 out of 3 and you’re doing good. 

In 2019 I lived in Yuma, Arizona and led over 100 Marines. Weekends were seen normally on the sand dunes with my guys off roading, after a morning slay fest in the gym. At this point in my life I felt satisfied to a certain degree at where I was both personally and professionally. 

For those who have not read The Happiness Formula, do so. The Happiness Formula shifted the way I felt, to feeling like I was settling. The article it led me to realize that I might be more content, than actually happy.  

I started to focus on the 3 items after reading the article. I definitely would not have selected Yuma if I was given the choice, the military decided for me. Yuma does not have the seasonal outdoor activities I enjoy. These include snowboarding and mountain biking. Not to mention it is hot as hell 70% of the year.

I was around my Marines, but not my family. My mom slowly started to get sick, so this made it even more challenging. My job transitioned over time with promotions to more of a planner, than a boots-on-the-ground role. I embraced the role as that is what the need of the Marine Corps was, but at the same time I knew I hated being behind the desk. 

I slowly saw that I had 0 out of the 3. I kept the article on my computer throughout that year, going back to it and asking myself how my perspective changed from one read. It made perfect sense over time that I needed to move on. I couldn’t just play it safe. Those 3 items are potentially what I needed to focus on to have a more fulfilled life. 

It came time to sign a new contract with the Marine Corps, and I made the decision to part ways. I headed home to Georgia to start graduate school. This led me to having 2 out of the 3. I was with family and loved what I was doing, which was strength training the UGA football team, and getting a degree in what I was passionate about. I was still missing living in a place I loved, and being with the military community. I grew up in Georgia and while there are many things I like about Georgia, it just doesn’t provide the outdoor activities that I wanted for myself. 

About a semester before graduation I started applying for jobs. I applied to a variety of jobs within the tactical strength and conditioning community. I made sure the focus was put on accepting a job at a location where I actually wanted to live. Jobs were offered to me in North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas. All great jobs and tempting, but not places I eagerly wanted to live, making me hold out on accepting these offers. 

Finally, a posting came up at a place I wanted to live and a job I felt would be a perfect fit. The place was Boise, Idaho. Idaho offered all the mountain biking, paddle boarding, snowboarding, hunting, fishing, climbing, and off roading I could ask for. The job was perfect, working as a strength coach for MTI, and within the military community at a state of the art facility. 

I found it highly ironic that the one article that shifted my thinking about ways to be happier, ended up being the company I am working for. 

This led me to having 2 out of 3, when I started at 0 out of 3 in 2019. Currently, my family although still in Georgia, is considering moving to Boise and is actively planning visits due to it being a fantastic location. I feel that 3 out of 3 is on the horizon, as I know that the living around people you love could be the most impactful. 

Looking back, I did not think one article would be the guide that led me to making many of my life decisions. The Happiness Formula helped me understand the direction I needed to go to feel fulfilled both professionally and personally. 


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