Over the last couple weeks, my wife and I have been all the way on the other side of the world in Australia and New Zealand on my honeymoon.
Overall it’s been pretty awesome. We discovered how ridiculously expensive Sydney is (seriously, it makes New York look like Boise); went on the “Lord of The Rings” horseback ride in Queenstown; almost got killed driving 120 km an hour on the wrong side of the road on the cop-less highways of NZ; saw the crazy post-earthquake devastation in Christchurch; experienced the awesomeness of actually-functional public transportation in Melbourne and got really, really wet in Port Douglas (because it’s a rainforest and it . . . rains.)
And even though this trip has been awesome (and if you saw the photos you’d be “jealous,”) all this vacation is quickly making me absolutely miserable.
In fact, right now writing this for you I’m probably happier than I have been in a couple weeks.
Well, here is a “3 Key List” you should always remember:
1. Remember, Happiness Comes From Satisfaction, Not Idleness…
You ever meet a “trust fund” kid?
You’ve probably seen these kids…young and rich, because their parents or grandparents did something amazing.
You ever notice how many of these kids are addicts, assholes and generally entitled and miserable wastes of space?
It’s not the money that ruined these kids (and they are truly ruined,) it’s the IDLENESS.
So many folks (especially in the US) seem to think that happiness comes from idleness…
You ask most folks what they’d do if they won the Mega Millions and they emphatically say “NOTHING.”
But doing NOTHING (or spending your day doing things that mean NOTHING even if they take up a lot of time) is a great way to end up hollow and bitter and very, very sad.
The fact is the happiest people in the world aren’t the ones with the most time on their hands, they’re the ones who do something SATISFYING with their time and who see CONCRETE RESULTS from the work they do.
For me, my personal happiness went through the moon as soon as I started this whole “Digital Romance” business for two reasons:
• I get incredible satisfaction out of helping all the folks who write in for advice.
• I get to help other experts and my employees grab on to things they never would have had otherwise.
Now, not everybody can (or should) start a business. And if you have a job you hate but need to keep to pay the bills I totally understand (I hated every job I ever had before this one.)
But if you want to be happy, don’t fantasize about crazy cars, big houses and long formless days.
Just try to give yourself 15 minutes a day where you work on something that satisfies you. Something that makes you feel like you’re making some kind of mark (no matter how small) on the world.
2. Love More, Care Less
I actually keep meaning to write a little book with this title. But here’s the basic idea:
We live in a world of constant connection where every bad thing in the world is delivered to our eyeballs in hyped up and obnoxious stereo.
We hear about every death, every shooting, every car crash, every environmental disaster, every scam.
And under that CRUSH of misery and anger our synapses and adrenal systems go haywire, our brains get flooded with chemicals and all we want to do is stuff our heads under the pillow and wait for it al to be over.
So here’s what I want you to do:
Not about everything, but about most things.
The fact is that you personally can’t have any impact at all on 99.9999% of the world’s problems. You simply don’t have the time or the bandwidth to fix the environment AND kick a$$ at your job AND be the perfect husband or wife AND raise incredible kids AND form a crazy new political group AND keep up with the Kardashians.
So stop trying.
Absolutely stop caring (and stop paying attention) to 99.99% of everything you read about now and just pick 3 things that you’re PASSIONATE about.
For me that’s my business, my drums and human rights.
That’s it. I just don’t have the bandwidth for more.
And finally the biggie (and the hardest part.)…
3. Be Grateful For Your Tragedies, They Make You Who You Are…
I was reading a magazine I picked up on the plane the other day and found this great quote from Helen Keller . . .
“A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.”
Damn that’s beautiful.
Listen: We all have tragedies. We all have horrible things that have happened in our lives that have melted our resolve, brutalized our hearts and made us want to give up.
For me, the short list includes: my dad dying really young, getting hit by a semi-truck and barely being able to walk for three years, getting fired from every job I’ve ever had, suffering abuse when I was 6 years old, getting framed for a crime and coming really close to going to jail for it, getting so sick I lost 20 IQ points and couldn’t think straight for 6 months, having my heart broken to pieces, nearly going bankrupt, accidentally almost ruining a great friends life . . .
And more and more and more.
And it sucks.
And I wouldn’t wish any of this on anybody.
But I’m grateful for it too.
I’m grateful for the emotional roller coaster I’ve suffered because when a friend is going through a loss I know exactly how to hold on to them as they sob and moan and let it out.
I’m grateful for the body ailments I’ve gone through because it makes me appreciate every healthy (or close to healthy) day.
We all go through crap. All of us. Yours is worse than some and a lot better than others. You can either live life as a victim or you can pick up your chin, be grateful, help others and survive.