Friday, August 19, 2016

Be Happy

More of a comment than an article today. I am super proud of my kids. They are amazing little human beings. :) My youngest is the best people person I've ever met in my life, and that's not the dad talking. She is just amazing with people. The oldest is more of an introvert. What amazes me with her though is something I've only ever found with maybe a handful of people in my life: she's always truly looking to better herself.

I know that everyone likes to talk about self-improvement, but let's be honest. For 99% of humanity that's just talk. Few will actually try to improve themselves. Heck, most are so not-self-aware that they don't even realize they have flaws. A few are such assholes that they are proud of their flaws. And of those who do recognize their flaws, many will tell themselves they can't be fixed and others will pretend they can't fix them. They will buy self-help books (huge industry) and pay people to tell them what they already know, but they won't change. Oh they'll try any number of long-shot fixes, but they aren't willing to take the hard steps it takes to make real change. They just keep failing and looking for the next quick fix.

And then there are the few who do change. My daughter has made changes most people would say are impossible. My dad quit smoking when we were young. He also went to college at night to improve himself. I'm so proud of that.

Change is one of the hardest things you can do. You need to start by being honest with yourself. You really need to look at who and what you are without excuse and without sugar coating. You're fat because you eat too much, not because of some conspiracy or rare medical condition. People don't like you because you're an asshole. You don't have a good job because you're lazy. You're dumb because you refuse to take the time to think and to learn. You're not interesting because your only interests are staring at Pinterest. That's hard to accept.

Then you need to decide to make a real change. There are no short cuts either. And more importantly, it takes a lot of mental work. You can do that, you just need to be willing to. Leo Tolstoy said, "If you wish to be happy, be." That's amazing advice. It's probably the most important thing anyone can ever tell you in your life. Why? For the same reason it's also impossible for most people to understand. If you want to be happy, then stop making yourself unhappy. That's all it takes... and there's no other way.

Stop bitching about everything and accept that the world isn't perfect. So what if the grocery clerk is slow, it happens? So what if your boss is an ass, do you want to let that ruin your life? Stop reveling in schadenfreude, sarcasm and cynicism. You can't be happy reveling in bad things. Spite is not success. Spite is poison. Stop coveting crap you haven't earned too. If you want something, earn it. That's the only way you'll ever get it. It's the only way you deserve it... all the rest is whining. And most importantly, start finding the joy in things you ignore today. Sunsets are beautiful. Silence is serene. To be or not to be is brilliant. Dogs are a miracle. People all around you are amazing, talk to them... listen to them. Find the joy in the things the find joyful. Seeing people in love is beautiful. Life is amazing!!!

Be happy.


AndrewPrice said...

Ironically, this wasn't where this article was headed. I was going to point out that my 13 year old has already recognized that going online makes her unhappy. I think this article is more important though.

Be happy. Seriously folks, give it a chance.

BevfromNYC said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you. We can be our own worst enemies and sometime quiet introspection is enlightening. We are the only ones who can make ourselves happy and it is a choice! Being happy is a choice.

I have downsized my presents on social media just because I find it has become constant distraction and left me completely irritable all the time. Off Twitter, Facebook and a few other SM (ironic, yeh?) sites except for a few very good friends, fun people, and people I am using to train myself to not comment when I disagree.

Okay, well, I agreed up until the point of "sarcasm". If I can't use sarcasm i might as well just give up on life altogether! It's the tie that binds me to this Earth! It is my very essence! PLEASE DON'T TAKE AWAY MY SARCASM! And it would really helpful if someone would come up with a sarc/ Emoji to make life more bearable.

BevfromNYC said...

That's "presence", not "presents"...though it is a gift I give when I comment! See..."sarcasm"!

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, There is nothing wrong with sarcasm when it's done in a good-natured way. The point really is to change your mindset to be happy and not angry.

I came to this realization years ago. I became very unhappy living in DC and being a lawyer where everyone is a smug and angry and just lives to find fault. I realized I was doing all the same things. I set out to change that.

It was hard too. I was amazed how many little things I let get to me and how addicted I was (for lack of a better word) in getting upset about things. So I focused on realizing which things mattered and which didn't. I tried to be nicer to everyone. I decided to look for the good in all things.

I slowly found my life improving dramatically. That's not to say there aren't bad things, but life is better when you don't shut out the good and embrace the bad.

Unfortunately, that's how so much of our culture and the internet and so many people live... shut out the good and embrace the bad.

BevfromNYC said...

Not to change the subject completely, but if anyone is on Twitter and really wants a lesson in aviation history, follow @GenChuckYeager He loves to talk about planes and all of his experiences. He is so cool and he's 93 yrs old!

Backthrow said...

Andrew Price said: "Silence is serine."

What the--? Silence is a proteinogenic amino acid or a French wine grape?

I've heard it said that "Happiness is a warm puppy", but this... I just don't know...

AndrewPrice said...

Fixed the typo. Thanks Backthrow.

I thought it was happiness is a warm gun? ;-)

BevfromNYC said...

No this is what Happiness Is... truly.

ScottDS said...

Bev -

Yours is the second reference to Chuck Yeager's Twitter account I've seen today. Weird! :-)

Andrew -

When it comes to cynicism and schadenfreude, I totally agree with you. As for changing, well, that's something else. And I think the worst position to be in is when you recognize what needs changing but lack the willpower to do it (that would be the category I fall into). If you don't even recognize it, then, hey, ignorance is bliss!

Oh, and if dogs are a miracle, what are cats?

ArgentGale said...

I hear you on that one, Scott. I feel the same way quite often. Anyway, you've definitely given me something to think about, Andrew. I'll hopefully have more to say once I've processed it. Finally getting a break from overtime is already helping me clear my head. And Scott, cats are all kinds of awesome! My tortoiseshell in particular always brightens up my day.

- Daniel

ScottDS said...

Daniel -

I don't have any pets but if I ever get one, it'll be a cat. Apparently, spending time over the last few years with a friend who's a cat owner (a lazy orange tabby named Flippy) has had an effect on me. :-)

ArgentGale said...

They're definitely a good choice if you need a low maintenance pet. I've had cats my whole life and kept looking after mine and my mom's cats after she went into a nursing home. One of them is 19 so I ended up taking in the aforementioned tortie, Halley, because of it. She was worth it, though!

- Daniel

BevfromNYC said...

We all have days where we can't see "happiness", but the trick is to keep moving forward. "Contentment" and "happiness" are not the same, btw. Another hint: keep challenging yourself. Keep learning new things no matter how trivial it may seem.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, The happiest people are the ones who are always interested. Interested in other people, in what is going on, in finding something new, in whatever they are doing. The unhappiest dismiss everything around them.

AndrewPrice said...


Two thoughts.

As for changing, well, that's something else. And I think the worst position to be in is when you recognize what needs changing but lack the willpower to do it (that would be the category I fall into).

I think you would be surprise if you just decide to do it. I know that sounds like a platitude, but it isn't. Don't try to make changes with fanfare and don't analyze. Just do it. Tell yourself, here goes and do it. I've found that is much more effective because it strips away all the excuses which kill willpower as you try to explain to yourself why you can't overcome those.

If you don't even recognize it, then, hey, ignorance is bliss!

Except that these are the types of things that make people unhappy and they don't understand the cause. So ignorance is not bliss in this case, it is self-sabotage.

As for cats, they are evil.

AndrewPrice said...

Daniel, I'm glad you got some time to relax. :)

ArgentGale said...

Thanks, Andrew! I guess it was pretty obvious I was getting a bit twitchy from all the pressure, huh? Well, hopefully things will be back to normal soon enough.

- Daniel

Patriot said...

Andrew......I've found that in order to first find out what you need to improve, you MUST listen to those 2:30 AM internal thoughts inside your head. Whatever it is that bothers your sub-conscious is something you need to work on.

I've found that positive life-changes happen when we dissect those thoughts and act on them. I believe it is our mind giving us unexpurgated advice if we just learn to listen to it. No rationalizing away actions or deeds, just who you really are at your core.

To change, listen to that voice in the middle of the night. (Not the one telling you to quit moving and go back to sleep!)

Excellent advice in your article for everyone.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Patriot. I agree. Those are the exact thoughts you need to listen to to decide where your flaws lie and what changes you need to make.

AndrewPrice said...

Daniel, Hopefully, you'll get a chance to relax. :)

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