Finding happiness can be elusive. I know the feeling. I chased happiness for years before I realized that the more I chased it, the more miserable I became. It’s similar to meditating. The harder you try, the tougher it gets. The whole purpose of meditation is to go with the flow and enjoy the process. That same reasoning applies to finding happiness as well.
Happiness isn’t the destination, it’s the journey. The more you slow down to embrace what you have right now, the happier you will be. Ancient philosophers taught that finding desire in what you already have is the true secret to happiness. There’s a lot of truth to this statement, philosophically and scientifically as well.
The reason why most men struggle to find happiness is that they are constantly desiring what they don’t have. They don’t have the money they want; they don’t have the sex they want; they don’t have the time and freedom to enjoy their life to the degree they want. The more you focus on what you want versus what you already have, the less you appreciate what you have now. The true secret to happiness is being grateful for what you have at this time in life, right now.
Philosophically this makes sense. If you’re not grateful for what you have now, how are you going to be grateful for what you have in the future. We all know that when you reach a certain milestone in life like getting that bonus or getting hit on by the hot waitress, the joy is short lived. You automatically think “what’s next?” What’s that next milestone to get that feeling of happiness? It becomes a vicious cycle that never ends.
Don’t get me wrong. Ambition is great but it if you don’t control it, it will control you and squash your level of happiness. I’m one of the most ambitious men I know but I also know how to appreciate what I have now. My parents taught me to appreciate every little thing as they came from near poverty. They always use to say “there’s some child out there who doesn’t have what you have.” It’s true, there are men out there who are homeless, or alone with no one to love them. If you looked at your life in comparison to theirs, you’re probably doing pretty good. So appreciate it.
Here’s the neuroscience behind this technique as well. Much of your thinking is done based on a principle of contrast. It’s one of the basic core functions of your brain’s thinking. You’re constantly contrasting and comparing because everything you do has an opportunity cost. If you do one thing, you may miss out on the other. The challenge with this is that you contrast your level of happiness as well. When you feel that you’re doing better than someone else, you feel better about it. When you feel that you’re doing worse than someone else, you feel worse about it.
So if you want to be happier, simply compare yourself to some other man who is less fortunate and appreciate what you have now! Do this for the next 30 days and watch your happiness increase by 10X.
All the best!
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