I have never met a person who suddenly became happy simply by “finding their passion.”
If my passion had come crawling across my bed during any of my lowest 50 moments in life and started nibbling on my ear, I would’ve just pushed it away.
Usually I wanted money or sex and I felt passion would get me those. But in those low moments I felt I was a failure and undeserving.
For instance, I thought if I published a book I would be happy .. and get money and sex. Or if I became a millionaire (one MILLION dollars!) then there would be the trickle down theory of happiness.
Ugh, so wrong. What a fool I am!
Life cycles. So when you see yourself in a low point: start with the below and the rest follows (sex, french toast, smiling, money, and maybe some passion).
Don’t forget that when the lights come on inside of you, everyone in the world can see a little better.
Good bye and good luck. I do these three things:
1. INNER ACTIONS
What you do on the inside affects your brain and chemistry and blood and DNA much more than anything you can do on the outside.
I know many people who decide they will never be happy again. Never make money again. Never find romance again.
And, of course, there’s no way to argue with them. It’s often hard to listen to them. And eventually you avoid them. They will prove themselves right.
This is not law of attraction. Money doesn’t rain down on the lucky (mostly) or the optimistic. But it certainly doesn’t arrive at the doors of people who barricade their houses.
And it can’t happen if you are stuck in bed. Or bloated with the enormity of your problems. Or satiated with the tiredness of your daily routine.
- Take a walk. Be a mover and not a statue.
- When you get tired, sleep instead of eat.
- Read books that are inspirational. For me, this helps rewire the brain for a few hours. It’s hard at first. The brain tries to slap you: “I don’t need rewiring”, but for me it works.
MOST importantly, feel the bonds of friendship. For three million years, we live for the tribe. This triggers oxytocin and makes us happier.
Sometimes your friends and family change. Instead of talking to someone who is labeled a “friend,” talk to someone you “like.”
Even when I’m depressed, someone I like can sometimes find their way through the maze and make me laugh.
Be creative. Yesterday I was feeling down. I had just flew in from Miami to New York. It’s cold here. It was warm there. Did I waste my time in Miami because I was too busy? Too many thoughts!
So on my waiter’s pad I did two things: I drew a picture of Claudia. It was horrible. I can’t draw. But I wasn’t aiming to be in a museum.
I just wanted to light that part of my brain on fire.
And then I wrote down a list “The art of creativity” by examining the ways a friend of mine is insanely creative. That was my list of ten for the day.
And then I was grateful. I’m in New York! I was in Miami! I’m reading a good book!
Your inner actions light you up, turn you on fire, send laser beams out of your eyes, teleport all the negative muons away and only positive tetrons surround you and light up the world around you.
2. OUTER ACTIONS
Inner actions get the fire going. But now they have to burn the house down.
I think of the last four podcasts I’ve done and one piece of advice from each:
- Gretchen Rubin – author of “The Happiness Project” – hug your spouse for six seconds to get the oxytocin going. Six seconds! When I read it, I tried it on Claudia. It worked. Claudia was saying “Mmmm” by the sixth second.
I told Gretchen I did this and it worked. “The six seconds are longer than you think, right?” And she was right. But it works.
- Scot Adams, author of “Dilbert” – “Science shows that when you fake a smile long enough, you’ll eventually be happier”. I know that when I listen to music I smile. So I’m listening to Kashmir by Led Zeppelin right now. And smiling.
- AJ Jacobs, author of “Drop Dead Healthy” – “Fake it til you make it” – He was telling me sometimes when he begins a project he feels like, “Who am I fooling here? I can’t do this!” But then he acts like he can. And then he does it.
I’m a victim of outrage porn almost every day. Someone always wants to yell at me. “You can’t do that!” Only one solution: I hit delete on them in my head.
- Jairek Robbins – Author of “Live It” and son of Tony Robbins, “Burst out of your bed! Just burst out! That will tell your body it’s ready for an exciting day.”
I did it in the AirBnB I was staying at. I didn’t know that the bed was broken. The two front legs collapsed and the front of the bed fell to the ground.
That’s okay! EXCELSIOR!
Care for each person you meet as if you secretly know they are going to die tomorrow but they don’t know it yet. They need your compassion.
Or, if that is too morbid, pretend you are their mother. My baby!
These outer actions make me happy.
3. SAVE THE WORLD
What are billion-people problems? Problems that hurt a billion people.
Energy is first. Clean water is another. Brutality against women another. Hunger is another. Pollution. War, terrorism, lack of education, problems of aging, poverty, etc.
Forget about your problems for a second. I know there is the mortgage to pay. Most of my life I have never made enough to pay my bills and I have lost homes, family, friends as a result.
I can obsess on these things. Or I can save the world.
Is it really that easy? Can I really save the world?
Sure. I just called a friend of mine who is a chemist. He has a technology that might improve the way we get energy. Make it cheaper. Less pollution. I have no idea about chemistry.
But just talking to him and encouraging him I felt like I was helping the world.
Another thing: my kid’s school just started a chess program. I wrote to the head of the program. I said I could help. I could be available to teach or play games or whatever. Education!
I know that when I drop a teeny pebble in the middle of the ocean, eventually the tiniest of ripples hits every single continent.
If we all did that the world is saved. But I don’t need to worry about everyone . Just me. That’s what choosing myself is all about.
And then I’m happier. Today. And start over tomorrow. It’s every day I have to do this.
Just remember: Inner, Outer, Everybody.
Money, sex, french toast, and passion are just byproducts of those three things.
I threw out almost all of my items a few weeks ago. I didn’t want them anymore. They were anchoring me too much to the ground.
But I kept one item. An original animation still from the theme song of the 70s TV show “I Dream of Jeannie”.
It’s right in front of me as I write this. Jeannie made all of Major Nelson’s dreams come true. He was an astronaut.
I don’t know. But when I fake it til I make it, I’m an astronaut who lives in warm weather who has a genie that makes all my dreams come true.
And then I get out of bed to begin the day. And then I hug someone for six seconds.