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We're Pursuing Happiness in the Wrong Way (Here's the Right Way)

We're Pursuing Happiness in the Wrong Way (Here's the Right Way)

Years ago I read a few books that altered my outlook on happiness, or, rather, affirmed what I knew to be true. While society was telling me one thing about happiness, my experiences taught me something different.

I'd travelled to Italy for 3 months, then to Argentina and Uruguay for the same amount of time. Not searching for anything, like a quest to find myself or any of the garbage, but just as an act to exercise some hard earned freedom, and to experience different ways of life, find adventure, eat good food, and work hard while feeling like I wasn't working at all.

The books: Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, The Way to Love, by Anthony De Mello, and Seneca's Epistles (all volumes), among a few others.


I am at my peak, my 'happiest', when I'm both challenged and in deep work. When I have a project that has opportunity to be something good, that has the potential to 'work', even though it's difficult, risky, and will take many hours in days over months and years, I'm a happy man.

The science behind this is insight into how humans work, and I'd say, especially how men work.

We have it hardwired within us to create, to build. 'Happy' endorphins are released when we grab dirt with our hands, for example. We get a boost in testosterone when we compete, and again when we win.

Testosterone, itself, is an ambition hormone. When we compete, we get a boost, but that increase in testosterone makes us want to compete more. It's incredible.

When you're working on something challenging, that takes all of your attention, time stands still. You forget to eat. You're so engrossed in this task that negative emotions, even the stress of whether or not you'll actually be able to do it, dissipate. 

You are in the moment, and nothing else exists, which is where happiness lies. It's not in the past or the future, it can only be present.

Our regrets are in the past and our fears, worries, and stresses are in the future. Happiness is in the present, and deep work, or flow, brings us to the present like nothing else.

The mistake many make is chasing the perfect job. What we need is weight to our actions and decisions. They need to matter. So, the more we stay with something, a job, a career, the better we get at it, and the more responsibility we take on. 

You don't chase happiness, you do happiness.

Men are bred to build. Give yourself time to get good at something, anything. The better you get at that thing, the better your work gets, the deeper your work gets, and the more periods of flow you have in your life, the happier you will be without really having to reflect on whether or not you're happy or not. You're just doing happiness, and because it's work, it has cascading positive effects outside of the area of happiness as well. 

Good work makes your life better, it supports happiness, but also hormones.

The Way to Love & the Epistles

Where many men run into trouble, is with attachments. We work to get, not to do or to become great at that skill. 

We work to buy a car or a house, then our costs increase and we have to work more so we can pay for this shit. Work becomes a burden, not an exercise in happiness.

Happiness also simply, is. It cannot be attached to something, anything. Not a relationship, another person, a car, a house, a victory.

To counter that, sadness, depression, cannot be attached to anything either. 

Nothing can make us depressed, no world events, no failures, break ups, or losses. These are just things. When we detach from positive and negative things, we're free to live in the moment, to be

We're right back to the present. Our worries and fears about the future are released, because we're attached to no outcomes, there is no albatross hanging by our necks. We are simply doing, improving, getting better, simply because that's how to best live, not because it gets us something.

We're also not weighed down by past mistakes. Maybe we made some bad decisions that brought us to a stressful period. What can we do? Nothing but our best. Nothing but our work. Again, we're right back to the present.

We're chasing nothing and running from nothing. 

That doesn't mean we're not working hard, training hard, being disciplined, and so forth. We know that discipline is the path to everything because pleasure gets us nothing.

Pleasure is a cheap hit of dopamine. It's fleeting. It isn't the same as happiness. 

Happiness is constant. Let's call it, joy, instead. Joy exists when we're down, when we fail, when everything goes wrong. Seeking pleasure to bring ourselves out of the negative is cheap, quick, and un-earned.

Sitting on the beach in Elba or Uruguay, I enjoyed it. It was nice. I was present. It was earned, too. But the feeling of sitting on a beach doing nothing can't compare to the joy of a fight, a challenge, of deep work. They're just not in the same league.

Fook Happiness. Find Meaning.

When most set out to be happy, they confuse happiness with pleasure. They think that by working hard they'll be able to buy happiness some day. 

In working for something, an attachment, they ignore or are ignorant to the fact that it's the journey that brings happiness. 

We get to a destination and we'll once again look for a new journey. We're men, for fook's sake. We need to be doing something, anything, even if it's practicing a skill, we need that challenge and that improvement. Maybe that's why so many retired fellas get into golf or hunting or shooting or whatever. They need to improve at something. They need a challenge.

If you want happiness, look for it in what is, in what exists right now, in your challenges.

Release attachments. Have goals, but release the attachment to the outcome. Don't trick yourself into thinking that the goal will bring you happiness when the journey, the challenges, the struggles, and the improvements are already doing that.

Support your ability to focus and get into deep work with these supplements...

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