I Trained for Happiness

Here’s how — it comes from the most counterintuitive things. And therefore can be learned by all, all the same.


A man goes out in nature to feel small. He looks up in awe at the mighty mountains, overwhelming waterfalls, bottomless canyons or expansive oceans to feel how infinitesimally small he is. His mere existence is as fickle as a firefly on the dimensions of space and time. Life’s purpose is a puzzle that I’ve taken a shot at cracking here. And yet, to be amongst such insurmountable natural forces gives him an unparalleled sense of peace which brings him happiness.

“Because happiness is peace in motion. And, peace is happiness at rest.” — Naval

Herein lies the first thing I’ve learnt in search of happy.


Feel Small


We arrived at the stroke of midnight on 31st Dec of the universe’s cosmic calendar and will be gone by the wee hours of Jan. So why be overburdened by the weight of our existence. Nothing matters…. in the long run. Then why be unhappy about it in the short run? It’s not cynicism, it’s the truth.


Go where the pain is


Evolution wired us to seek pleasure. More food, more money, more sex. Short term pleasure is indirectly proportional to long term happiness. Conversely, things that are painful in the short term will always reap dividends for the long run. Exercise, honesty, discipline, hard work — they always have happy endings. The art is to incentivize the short term pain by breaking it down in smaller chunks of achievable goals and creating the right environment for its completion. To write a book — write a sentence every day. To lose 10 pounds — exercise 15 mins every day. To build happy relationships — invest in win-win scenarios.

“How to apply power of compounding in relationships — business & personal. There are only 4 types of relationships — 1) win-win; 2) win-lose; 3) lose-win; 4) lose-lose. Always choose win-win cos that’s the only type that compounds overtime” — Shane Parrish

Don’t Change


A: If things change, I will be happy

B: If I’m happy things will change ;


When put that way, it needs no genius to know who has a better chance at happiness. Often we look for changing this and that, tinker something here and there. Whereas the need of the hour is not to do more but less. Not to be happy, but just be. You know the moment after you have had your most exhausting workout. Heart galloping out of your body, sweat dripping from every nook and corner. You flat on the ground, with eyes closed, with not an ounce in your body left to do anything else. That’s the moment of being. Just being. So what lets you be that way? For me it was reading, closely followed by writing.



Think Less


There are many ways to solve a life-problem, the worst of them is through thought. The victory is not in controlling thoughts but in not letting them control you. In conquering yourself before you win the battles outside. In short Meditate. Because silence is full of answers. Internet is abundant with resources, techniques, positive results, apps, teachers and my footprints are here.

“ When you own your breath, no one can steal your peace ” — Bhagvad Gita


Be the reason for others to be happy


I can write reams and reams about this but whatever is to be said is captured, beautifully, in these lines.

“To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Just Love.


Care.


For anything or anyone. Enough, that it makes you forget about yourself in true moments.



Train. For. It.


Often the most important things in life, we take them for granted. We put our best foot forward 8 hours a day, every day and the moment we set foot in our homes we become our grumpiest selves with the ones we love the most. Happiness is a skill — it doesn’t come automagically. Much like a muscle, it needs to be trained. You don’t wake up one morning and wish to just somehow know how to code. It needs to be learnt. Each of the above steps is counterintuitive. By definition, it doesn’t come naturally. It demands work. But then which good thing in life came without hard-work?


There is always a risk of being preachy when it comes to topics like this. So a disclaimer is needed. These are some of the things that made sense to me as a result of my life experiences. This write-up is an attempt to distil them into actionable insights. My hope in sharing them is if it touches even one life, it’s worth it!

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