The traps of self development and the pursuit of happiness
Have you ever experienced or felt at times that things were easier before you started trying? When you pursue happiness or anything really "too hard" it actually has the opposite intended effect. When I say too hard I mean when you're worrying too much about getting results.
When you do this, our built in monitoring system ( u will find this link boring unless you're pretty geeky like me) kicks in and starts to asks questions like, am I happy, am I sad etc.. Even if the answer to the 1st question is yes, it leads to problems.
The 1st problem is that it gets you out of the moment and inside your head. You're not focusing on what you're doing, you're focusing on the result of what you're doing. This fucks up not only the enjoyment of everything but also your performance which then further fucks up the enjoyment (a vicious cycle). Go back to some of the best sessions or best times in your life and ask were you neurotically asking yourself these questions all the time?
Secondly when you answer yes, the analysis doesn't always stop there. Perhaps you start to worry about how to hold onto it and then think about what you can do not to lose it. Ever go deep in a poker tournament and start to worry about fucking it up, or how bad it would feel to lose? Not only are you not in the moment you're also prone to making decisions from a point of fear. I don't need to explain how bad this is.
I haven't even gotten to all the problems when the answer is no. You have all the same problems as when you say yes but what also might happen is you perpetuate the unhappiness by focusing and holding onto it. You start to feel bad about feeling bad (another vicious cycle). The negative self talk ensues and you talk to yourself about what a loser and fuckup you are. This is a straight path to depression.
So what the fuck do we do? How do we achieve happiness without trying? You don't. It's not the trying thats the problem, its the mindset with which you try from. Are you trying from a point of passion, interest, love, excitement, curiosity or are you trying from a point of fear, anxiety, and stress ( I'm sure I'm leaving a bunch out)?
When you do it from the mindset of the former, the process is the goal, the actual doing is the reward and the result is just an added benefit. This gets you out of your mind and frees you to be yourself, make mistakes and be creative. This is the poker session you loaded up just for fun, the book you read just because it looked interesting or the laid back night with people you love that turned out to be great.
I'll leave you guys with this awesome quote from Viktor Frankl, a guy who lost everything when he was taken into a concentration camp and still found happiness and nirvana while in there. He went on to help a ton of people in the world of psychology hugely in part because of what he went through in there. Watch the 1st 10mins of this Elliot Hulse video which explains his story beautifully. Peace
“Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”
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