Happiness Is Free
Source: Thought Pollution
I don't really care that much whether people
to me. I used to think, once upon a time as a young lad, that I'd make
a name for myself, do something grand and impressive, change the world
and all that stuff. I don't care about that anymore.
Now, I'd rather not be famous. The more I've
learned, the more I've come to lean toward the conclusion that the best
thing in the world is for the world to leave you alone.
There is ultimately nothing to accomplish in life. You don't need to be
rich or well-liked or of prestigious social standing. You don't need
much of anything to be happy. You just need to focus on being happy,
because you can only do one thing at a time in life.
If you try to do more than that, nothing gets
done because your intentions conflict with each other, one hand pushes
against the other. You must choose. Career or family, money or love,
success or happiness… you cannot have it all. You can really only have
one thing in life, and you'd better choose carefully.
can choose money, spend all your days in gradually expanding offices
and finally die of a heart attack in a board meeting while your
gold-plated Ferrari sits quietly in the garage of your fifty-room
mansion in the most exclusive neighborhood in the state.
You can choose family, be buried in a 2-for-1 bargain plot with your
children weeping over your headstone and be as forgotten as a dead
squirrel in the forest in a matter of generations.
You can choose anything you want in life and probably get it, but you
can only completely achieve one thing. If you split your priorities,
you will achieve split results as well. You can have a little bit of
money, a little bit of prestige, a little bit of family and a little
bit of everything else, but none of them will be complete for you.
If you want 100% success with anything, that
thing must comprise 100% of your priorities. Each goal you set for
yourself takes away from all your other goals, because circumstances
will always force you to further one at the expense of another and to
choose between them every day.
My advice to you is to focus
on happiness, on enjoying life. You probably don't want to hear this,
but this means you will not have money or status or anything else.
Conversely, focusing on money, status or anything else means you will
not achieve happiness. Happiness is not success. Happiness is the
opposite of conventional success.
It's not having things,
it's ceasing to want things. When you stop caring about everything that
could be and focus completely on enjoying what is, you are happy.
You are unhappy when you think your life isn't
way it should be, that you need to change X and Y and then your life
can really begin. It doesn't work like that, though. This is your
life, RIGHT NOW, THIS IS IT! Are you happy?
truth right there, but I don't suspect that many readers want the
truth. I've noticed that the more truthfully I write, the less people
like it, and the more I write what people want to hear, the more they
That's why you can't build a business on the
The truth is that the price of happiness is everything else, but in the
commercial version the price of happiness is whatever you can
comfortably afford. Three easy installments of $39.95, ten minutes a
day of meditation exercises, a few months of approaching girls in the
street. Something like that. Something that doesn't require you to give
up any of the things you really want.
Because people mostly
do not want happiness. They want something else, something like money
or success or status or respect, a beautiful wife or a wikipedia entry
that says they were important. They want other people to think they are
happy more than they really want to be happy.
When you want to be happy even if it means
everyone you've ever loved and everyone you're ever going to meet will
think you're a pathetic loser, that's when you're ready to be happy.
Being happy is the simplest thing in the world. Just do
something that completely occupies your attention.
This is why people do extreme sports – the
requires their complete attention so there is room for nothing else in
their brain, and their internal monologue about everything that they
think is wrong in their life quiets down.
You don't need to risk death, though. Watch a
good TV show or play a video game, something that really draws you in.
Once you get better at giving your complete attention to the immediate
present moment, you can do anything. Cook dinner, go for a walk in the
park, sit still and do nothing. As long as you can stay out of your
head and out of the range of that internal voice that nags about
changes it wants made, you'll stay happy.
Happiness is your natural default state. Do
think lions lying in the sun berate themselves over what an
ex-girlfriend said about them on Facebook?
That's the secret
to happiness right there. It doesn't seem that impressive since I
didn't stretch it out to 180 pages with exciting Sanskrit words and
made-up spiritual-sounding terms thrown in and charge 29 bucks for it.
But it is the truth.
I've said what I wanted to say on this blog and I could probably have
said it a lot quicker. What does the future hold for me? I might just
go and do something completely normal and boring. I think I might be
done with this teaching thing. I've gotten so used to writing that I
wonder if I can quit. Maybe I'll post something occasionally just for
fun. I've still got something planned that I didn't have time to do yet
that isn't exactly writing but it's sort of related to the topics of
Aside from that, I guess we'll see about the future when we get there.
No one can know the future, and don't ever let anyone convince you they
can. Those people on TV and on the internet trying to tell you what
"will happen" in the next ten or twenty years are full of shit. All of
them. Especially the experts.
that a stock market expert can go on TV and say something
about the future of the stock market, or that a military expert can
know about the future of the military, is like going back to 1999 and
asking an Iraq expert what the next decade would look like for Iraq, or
going back to 1935 and asking a Poland expert what the next ten years
will look like for Poland.
problem with anybody who tries to
predict anything is that they fail to understand that the specialty
area that they think they know about is always being affected by a
million external factors they know nothing about.
Any scientific endeavor to connect what you think is a cause to what
you think is an effect is already at least 50% voodoo anyway, and
trying to predict the future is like voodoo squared, it's a whole
different level of inaccuracy.
Don't listen to anybody about the future who
an expert on everything and all of the ways in which everything affects
That is, don't listen to anybody.
Related Article: How
I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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