What we get wrong about Happiness

January 19, 2019
January 19, 2019 kwaku Abedi

What we get wrong about Happiness

courtesy Phope -Unsplash

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck; a book by Mark Manson has received rave reviews due to its hard-hitting, gut wrenching opinion about life, happiness, ego and pride.

We love a writer who gives us a stiff dose of reality once in a while and Mark Manson does just that.   

Reading the book made me question a lot of the things I care about and why I actually care about them. I have also questioned my happiness and the things that truly make me happy.

For a long time, I saw happiness as a destination, a place tied with perks, such as fame, status, recognition and money. There are deep flaws in this type of thinking and it’s dangerous.

The truth is enough will never be enough. Physical possessions evolve, new iphones come out every year and the latest models of my favourite consumer gadget will be released without fail. There’s always something new money can buy.

Beyond a certain income, an increase in monetary wealth does not stoke the same joy as it did during the wealth building process. I don’t think Bill Gates will be fazed when he wakes up and an extra $10,000 dollars has been added to his net worth.

I’m sure as he was growing his net worth, having millions got him stoked but at a point it doesn’t anymore.

That’s why he’s shifted to charity and helping the world access clean and environmentally sustainable lavatories, fighting Malaria, Global Warming etc.

Here’re are my lessons from Mark’s book

Collect Little Wins

Mark Manson talks about happiness coming from a place of achieving our goals and finding joy in the process.

This is true. When I reflect on my life, my happiest was when I come back from a 5K run and sweating. Although every part of my body hurts. I feel good. I feel happy. I feel alive.

Waking up right after my alarm goes off and taking a shower gives me joy.  On the other hand, hitting the ‘snooze’ button one too many times and literally having to force myself out of bed makes me grumpy the whole day. Sticking to my personal rule of “1 hour of social media on weekdays” makes me happy when I go overboard, it doesn’t make me feel good.

This type of happiness is not tied to any material possession or money yet sustains me through out the day.

Setting Big Hairy Audacious Goals

 Have you wondered why people set world records?  What is it for? Why do people desire to set records by swimming in freezing waters, jumping off of buildings, cooking large chunks of food etc.? Knowing very well it comes with astronomical time commitments and energy to achieve these things.

They are on a path to happiness, to find joy and pleasure in having achieved something remarkable.

There is strength and happiness in sharpening their skills and an added benefit of being the world best. Notice how the audacity to set world records is not tied to financial/monetary goals. It is more a willingness to test strength, endurance and resilience.

The idea of happiness emanating from pushing myself to my maximum limits currently influences my writing. Writing is a skill I admire and want to sharpen by the use of deliberate practice.

I’ve set out a 90-day writing challenge. Every day, I’m going to write 500 hundred words and deliberately practice various writing approaches to sharpen my writing skills.

We’re Not Extraordinary 

The idea that I’m not extraordinary, I’m normal and maybe nothing extra ordinary will happen to me in my lifetime is disturbing but also freeing. What do I have to lose? This has broken the mental barriers of the false sense of prestige and highbrow ego I have about myself. I am no prodigy!!!

Although this hurts the ego, this frees my mind to try a little harder, to push myself a little further and to take my creative process seriously allowing me to genuinely create things with a growth mindset and a learning approach. My understanding of my own normality has led to increased happiness.

Building Relationships

One meme I enjoy looking at reads “the true miracle of Jesus is having 12 close friends in his 30’s”

 In this social media heavy, superficial world we find ourselves in, finding a friend to share a true bond and connection is rare. As I mature in age and experience, I deeply value the three real friends I have (9 less than Jesus) and cherish the moments I get to share with them.

What happiness means is getting skewed towards materialistic possessions and a jolt to reality once in a while is a good thing. Thanks to Mark Manson

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kwaku Abedi

Kwaku Abedi is Marketing, Public Relations & Digital Enthusiast

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