A great contrast to many books screaming ‘Do more, act more, care more’. Comments on a focus on the things that make you up, spending a lot of time comparing happy perceptions versus happiness. Satisfaction comes from control.
Self-improvement and success often occur together. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the same thing.
The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.
And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fucks to give. Very few, in fact.
In fact, research has found that our brains don’t register much difference between physical pain and psychological pain.
Problems never stop; they merely get exchanged and/or upgraded.
Happiness comes from solving problems. The keyword here is “solving.” If you’re avoiding your problems or feel like you don’t have any problems, then you’re going to make yourself miserable. If you feel like you have problems that you can’t solve, you will likewise make yourself miserable. The secret sauce is in the solving of the problems, not in not having problems in the first place.
Everybody enjoys what feels good. Everyone wants to live a carefree, happy, and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired and a total baller to the point that people part like the Red Sea when they walk into the room. Everybody wants that. It’s easy to want that. A more interesting question, a question that most people never consider, is, “What pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?” Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.
It’s strange that in an age when we are more connected than ever, entitlement seems to be at an all-time high.
The more exposed we are to opposing viewpoints, the more we seem to get upset that those other viewpoints exist. The easier and more problem-free our lives become, the more we seem to feel entitled for them to get even better.
Our lives today are filled with information from the extremes of the bell curve of human experience, because in the media business that’s what gets eyeballs, and eyeballs bring dollars. That’s the bottom line. Yet the vast majority of life resides in the humdrum middle. The vast majority of life is unextraordinary, indeed quite average.
Technology has solved old economic problems by giving us new psychological problems. The Internet has not just open-sourced information; it has also open-sourced insecurity, self-doubt, and shame.
Self-awareness is like an onion. There are multiple layers to it, and the more you peel them back, the more likely you’re going to start crying at inappropriate times.
When we feel that we’re choosing our problems, we feel empowered. When we feel that our problems are being forced upon us against our will, we feel victimized and miserable.
Instead of striving for certainty, we should be in constant search of doubt: doubt about our own beliefs, doubt about our own feelings, doubt about what the future may hold for us unless we get out there and create it for ourselves. Instead of looking to be right all the time, we should be looking for how we’re wrong all the time. Because we are.
The comedian Emo Philips once said, “I used to think the human brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.”
The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it.
I try to live with few rules, but one that I’ve adopted over the years is this: if it’s down to me being screwed up, or everybody else being screwed up, it is far, far, far more likely that I’m the one who’s screwed up.
Header photo © stuff.co.nz
Body photo © amazon.com