How to be happy: 5 unconventional life lessons


(Justin Brown) #1

Read the full article here: https://ideapod.com/how-to-be-happy-5-unconventional-life-lessons/

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard the following advice: The path to happiness comes from looking after yourself first. It’s good advice for people in toxic relationships. They need to take a stand for themselves. But this advice isn’t so useful for the majority of people. In fact, more often than not…


(Julian Noel) #2

Nice article Justin. I particularly liked point 4, start being useful to others. I will follow through on that today, it is wise advice. I also liked the point about not making happiness a goal… this is my greatest challenge… avoiding misery can become a full time exercise… I have found there is a deeper place beyond good, bad, right and wrong… but, geeze, on a bad day… it sure is hard to connect to that place! Thanks.


(system) #3

(Justin Brown) #4

Thanks @juliannoel. Giving up on the pursuit of happiness has been really useful for me. It seems counter-intuitive but I’m now just content to live the moment much more.


(Julian Noel) #5

This is such an important insight to share. What do you focus on now?


(Justin Brown) #6

I do my best to focus on what’s in front of me. I’m pretty clear on my purpose in life, and I am doing my best to work towards achieving it every day. This gives me a lot of meaning in what I do. It makes it easy to just focus on what’s in front of me. It seems like common sense, but I think there the desire to be happy can really get in the way. It encourages short term thinking.


(Bill Ames) #7

" Happiness comes from being satisfied with what you have right now"

So, Ideapod is finished?


(Justin Brown) #8

@BillAmes I don’t understand how this comment is related to what we’re discussing here. I’m not looking for happiness. Rather, I’m in the pursuit of fulfilment.

Sometimes I experience frustration with Ideapod, and I do my best to channel this frustration into taking steps to keep on improving it. At other times I feel a spontaneous expression of joy and happiness. For example, I felt this today when publishing an article that was submitted via our guest contribute feature. It’s only a small thing, but it shows that one of our new features is being used to share an idea.

I don’t want to control my reactions so much, but rather want to keep on channelling these reactions into a productive direction moving forward.


(Bill Ames) #9

“I felt this today when publishing an article that was submitted via our guest contribute feature. It’s only a small thing, but it shows that one of our new features is being used to share an idea.”

There is nothing wrong with this feeling. But may I ask, would not the enjoyment by those experiencing the article be more rewarding? Have we not seen a business where the proprietor was very pleased with their establishment but it failed because of a lack of customers? I am not comparing this to Ideapod. Ideapod is not a business yet. But it can not become a business if it is just a hobby. For something to be successful it must support some demand, not enough demand and it just goes away. I am my most critical customer, what I do in retirement is for me and if there are others that enjoy what I do I make sure I share it. People who do not enjoy what I do are not a failure, we are just different people. The kinds of material Ideapod posts is focused at an audience I do not understand. When I was in that age group I had been drafted, taught some technical stuff and after 2 years released and quickly started a family. Because I lacked formal education, just a GED the Army gave me for passing a test, I had to do all of the things I did by teaching myself as I moved from job to job. Because of my focus on Science Fiction I was able to ride the wave of tecnology to my retirement. I truly do enjoy helping others using my skills. Not all that many people today can use these skills, people today are not participating in the world anymore. I see at a table in that web camera I mentioned, 4 people at a table and three are on their cell phones. How can I help them? How many conversations have you had with people like me concerning Ideapod? Do you talk to people that are critical of what you are doing? I have a friend on Facebook, he is about 50 or so, and we argue all the time. However I am learning from him because I am learning to see things as he sees them. Very helpful in my story writing. Can you put on the hat of any person who might coe across Ideapod and see it as they see it? I have user manuals for my digital cameras that seem to have been written by people who have no photographic experience. All they do is say “button A does this” but they never say when it should be used, why it should be used and how it should be used. Can you write a manual for Ideapod that will help potential users?

There is no reason to be frustrated with Ideapod because if you see something that is not working you just talk to a dozen differnt people about what you observed and get their opinion? From what you learn you make any necessary corrections. This is how I learned to program, when it just did not seem to be working I found insight from others. I found that “others” often enjoyed helping me and I was not reluctant to ask as what I was doing was mostly work related and they had an investment in all of our jobs. Never be reluctant to ask and ask the same question in a dozen different ways, words have meaning and one must find the right combination. Just like I am doing in this reply.


(Mel Saint) #10

It runs counter to Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand Theory” that dominates American society.


(Margaret Murphy) #11

I’m Margaret from Texas. I’m retired from the mental health profession and am very impressed by this young man’s thought. Happiness requires taking action. It is a result of living a life that is commiserate with our belief system. I, like Justin, am happiest when sharing the gifts God gave me to be a kind-hearted, listener. On the outside, my life doesn’t look very happy but it is. Over the last three years I’ve developed three chronic illnesses which have placed me in a wheelchair living in a nursing home. I’m only 60 and it’s hell. I cry everyday about it but just for a little while because I choose to do those things that bring me joy…hanging out with the other residents, listening to the staff members life stories, etc. I also surround myself with beautiful things, music, books, plants, and art. I dress nicely everyday because it makes me feel good. Happiness is an inside job that, for me, comes from these little things and my relationship with the God I worship. I have a 100+ year old Stitchery of the Serenity Prayer that my grandmother made hanging over my bed. It’s my life motto. I believe happiness is a choice and an inside job.


(ACD) #12

I think that this gets it backwards. Our purpose is to pursue happiness and life in society is arguably the key to that pursuit.


(Bill Ames) #13

Please give creativity as your purpose in life and use society as part of your toolset to this end. You provide the community with enjoyment when they experience your creativity and those that have helped you get the well-done job feeling. We must strive for more than a cat’s life.


(Justin Brown) #14

@masmurphy60 thanks for sharing so beautifully your experience of life right now. It’s very humbling for me to read.

Yes this makes a lot of sense. It brings me satisfaction knowing that you have a relationship with the God you worship and that you get meaning from your life in a number of different ways.

Yes, I think I haven’t phrased it very well. There’s a better article (in my opinion) on finding purpose here.

For me, I’ve found that giving up the pursuit happiness has brought me a great deal of satisfaction. I think that we would probably end up agreeing on many things when given the chance to flesh out our understanding. I suspect that it may come down to what it means to “pursue” something. I see “pursuing” things as focusing on them, and I find I have a better relationship with the feeling of happiness by not focusing on it so much. But I pursue many things in my life that enable me to create the conditions that allow for the spontaneous feeling of happiness.

Just like with happiness, I choose not to make my creativity a focus. It could simply come from my own inadequacies of “getting in my own way” and being an “overthinker”. I find that creativity is something that surges through me all of the time, every single day. It’s an inherent part of being a human.

My own pursuit or focus is about dismantling structures or relationships of power in my life so that my creativity is more effective. It’s an “anarchist” goal in terms of political philosophy. It’s something I “believe in”, so no doubt it’s something I should do quite a bit of self-inquiry about.


(Bill Ames) #15

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(Bill Ames) #16

You said, " It’s good advice for people in toxic relationships. They need to take a stand for themselves. But this advice isn’t so useful for the majority of people. "

and then you said, “My own pursuit or focus is about dismantling structures or relationships of power in my life so that my creativity is more effective.”

Does this mean the top article “How to be happy: 5 unconventional life lessons” does actually apply to you as you are not in the majority?

I believe you need to go the path of creativity, that is the only path for the preponderance of humanity.