I know we have all been there, stuck in a rut of depressoin that for some reason or another we can’t get out of. It’s a helpless feeling, a feeling that I could honestly live without for the rest of my life. During those periods of time all I wanted to do was be unconditionally happy, nothing more nothing less. For a while I thought that unconditional happiness was some unatainable pipe dream. Then I started to really think about what it meant to be happy. Did it mean I had a lot of money? a lot of friends? a really good job? All of these sound like really good things. What more could anyone want than to have a lot of money, a ton of friends, and a really awesome job. But the more I thought about it the more I started to wonder, maybe there is more too life than those things. All of those sound really good on a superficial level but what do they mean on a much deeper personal level. So I started to pick apart each question and this is what I came up with.
Clearly money is not the cause for unconditional happiness, in fact money actually can cause more problems. With more money comes more responsibility on how to use that money wisely. Also, having too much money can certainly Money also has a habit of changing peoples personality to be even more greedy than before. Once a person acquires a thousand dollars they want ten thousand, then a hundred thousand, then a million. Basically too much money can cause and endless cycle of greed. If you don’t believe me then watch any VH-1 reality show involving money, you’ll get what I’m talking about. Personally, I really don’t think that it is all that it is cracked up to be. One of the few advantages of the economic collapse in this country is the fact that people have been focusing more on the good things, like friendship, trust, and loyalty, than just getting as much money as fast as possible.
So then is having a lot of friends the key to true happiness? The answer is yes and no. Having too many friends may seem like a really good thing on a surface level, but dig a little deeper and having too many friends can be a bad thing. Not only are you being pulled in multiple directions by all of the influences from these friends, but there is also the pressure to not piss anybody off. After a while these pressures can build up and actually create more stress to maintain all of those relationships. On the other hand, having a few close friends, I’ve found, can lead ot much happier social life. The reason being is that the relationships you do have with those close friends are going to be more personal and intimate.
So what about work? Having a good job is a very nice thing. You get paid to go do something everyday that you, for the most part, enjoy, what could be better than that. For me, I really hope that is how my future career will work out, whatever that might be. That being said having a great job, or so I’ve heard, isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. Doing the same thing every day over and over, regardless of how much you enjoy it, will get boring after enough time passes. Either way, I firmly believe in the idea that who you are is what you do, not the other way around.
Too often as a society we are caught up in the quickest way to make money with complete disregard to other things in our life such as relationships, family, and generally relaxing. This story, I think, really captures what it means to truly be happy.
“An American tourist was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.
Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The tourist complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.”
The tourist then asked, “Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”
The Mexican said, “With this I have more than enough to support my family’s needs.”
The tourist then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life.”
The tourist scoffed, ” I can help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat: With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor; eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you could run your ever-expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
The tourist replied, “15 to 20 years.”
“But what then?” asked the Mexican.
The tourist laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
The Mexican in this story really captures what it means to be alive and happy. For him, it’s not about what you do in life neccessarily, but rather how you do it. Too often we forget that all we need to be happy is the knowlege that if we want to we can live a busy and fufilling life, just like the Mexican fisherman. By simplifing our lives we can remove a lot of the excess stress and overall bullshit that comes with it, and work on actually starting to live. The goal is to remove the sense of happiness from external factors and shift if more twoards an internal state of mind. Unconditional happiness truly lies within and has nothing to do with the external world. Things change, that is the natural order of things, and when our happiness is dependant on those changing things it becomes a very temporary and waivering thing. Knowing that you have the power to control your mood regardless of what happens to you is a very liberating thought. No matter what happens, be it getting fired, being dumped by your girlfriend or boyfriend, too many bill to pay, or loosing someone close to you, the ball is still in your court. As crappy as all of those things are they still cannot force you to be in a certain mood. While it is easier to mope and say woe is me, it also makes it easier to live a life of apathy and depression. By not letting those external things eat at you, the ability to stay happy becomes easier. Whenever you are feeling like your life is over or you are feeling sorry for yourself remember this, you are one of six billion people on this planet and in the grand scheme of things the problems we come in contact with from day to day really do not matter. The only thing that does is the ability to be and stay happy. After all, isn’t that what we’re all after?
“You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis. You are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.”- Tyler Durden