I went to this talk by a Buddhist monk about happiness. I’m not a Buddhist, but one thing I like about Buddhism is that it’s more of a philosophy than a religion (from what I’ve seen). There was absolutely no talk of a religious greater power. And no attempt to convert anyone.
The talk was pretty simple, logical, and grounded in reality. It was basically just useful life hacks.
After the talk, I told a classmate, “That all seemed pretty simple.” And he said, “Simple to understand, but really hard to do,” So happiness is like chess in that sense. 🤷🏻♂️
Anyways, here’s the quick guide to happiness, according to this class.
Happiness is about a peaceful internal state, i.e. a happy mind.
External rewards (like money, status, etc.) are fine, but they won’t give you lasting happiness. (I know this sounds self-righteous, but it is also self-evident. There’s nothing wrong with being rich, but we all know about rich people who are unhappy and poor people who are happy. 🙃)
To reach an internal peaceful state, act on things you can control and don’t worry about things you can’t control.
If you can do something about it, don’t worry about it.
If you can’t do anything about it, don’t worry about.
Example: Stuck in traffic on the way to a doctor’s appointment? Call your doc and say you’re running late. If they can work you in later, great. If not, reschedule. Then relax and don’t worry about it. And don’t get mad at your fellow drivers. They’re all in the same situation as you.
Also, a happy mind is a clear, uncluttered mind. This is why mediation is so helpful. It is a quick way to clear out the clutter of your mind and reset to a more relaxed and productive state. It’s like cleaning out a cluttered closet.
And that’s it! Simple and hard, just like life.
💁🏻♂️ As a side note, it’s funny that this guide to happiness comes from Buddhists, who say that life is suffering. There is something kind of perfect about the people who embrace suffering to be experts on happiness.