Comfort is Not Happiness

I spend a lot of time reading, thinking, and writing about happiness.

For years before I started writing here, I was just looking for ways to improve my own life. I wanted to understand why people who seemed like they had everything were still unhappy.

I wanted to find the traps that others fell into so that I could avoid them.

It is quite clear to me at this point that most people are not as happy as they could be. 

And I believe that the main culprit is mistaking comfort for happiness.

Continue reading “Comfort is Not Happiness”

Does the Meaning of Life Matter?

One fast track to a happy life is meaning.

Research repeatedly shows that individuals with a sense of meaning in their lives are happier than everybody else.

A sense of meaning or purpose gives us a feeling that we are part of something larger than ourselves. This, in turn, fuels self-worth, a sense of identity, and a feeling of community and belonging.

All of these are traits that boost happiness, so you can see how meaning can be a super booster.

So all we need to do is figure out the meaning of life.

Continue reading “Does the Meaning of Life Matter?”

Make Your Life More Like a Video Game

When I was growing up, the consensus of the intellectual crowd was that video games were bad for you.

No good could come of sitting in front of a screen instead of going outside. Video games were going to turn our brains into mush.

In some more extreme cases, violent video games were blamed for school shootings.

Since then, however, there has been a quiet revolution. Continue reading “Make Your Life More Like a Video Game”

As Happy as an Old Person

As I’ve noted before, I’ve done a lot of reading on happiness. One consistent finding of studies across the spectrum is that older people are happier than the rest of us.

Despite the declining health that accompanies old age, study after study finds that happiness increases into our senior years.

The freedom of childhood is less happy. The health of young adulthood doesn’t compare. The financial stability of middle age doesn’t do it for us.

So what is it about seniors that makes them happy? And what can we learn from them?

Continue reading “As Happy as an Old Person”

Is It Worth It? (Why I Save So Much, Part 4)

Over the last couple weeks I’ve run through a lot of my philosophy behind saving and investing. I discussed that I invest at least as much as I spend every month because I want to buy options for my life, because I see the value of labor declining over time, and because I don’t want to need to start a new career path if mine gets automated out of existence.

The big question for most people at this point is: “Is it worth it?” Continue reading “Is It Worth It? (Why I Save So Much, Part 4)”

Lessons Learned from Lives Well-Lived

On Tuesday I wrote about the recent death of my grandfather. I was planning to write and post that article earlier, but could not convince myself to write after that event was followed up a week later by the death of my other grandfather.

After going most of my life without having to deal with many deaths of loved ones, there have been quite a few packed into the last few years.

This has been hard. I continue to remind myself that death is what gives meaning to life. It is natural and necessary. It is important.

It still sucks. Continue reading “Lessons Learned from Lives Well-Lived”

Death and Happiness

My grandfather passed away recently. It has been a tough few years for my family, but we have felt a lot of love and support from each other as well as from our community and network of friends.

My cousin gave an excellent eulogy at the funeral. One thing that he noted is that Papa has been insisting that every encounter with him could be the last for years. For at least the last decade, he has insisted that he is almost out of time. Continue reading “Death and Happiness”

Happiness Causes Success

Last week Cait Flanders wrote about how some people treated happiness as a general vibe that they exude and others pursued happiness as a destination. Thinking about this idea started me on a path that had me digging back through my notes on happiness research.

Our culture tends to treat happiness as a destination. Happiness is a goal for which you strive. And of course, the most surefire way to reach happiness is to be successful.

If we stop and think about this premise though, it falls apart. If success causes happiness, then we should be able to see the results. Continue reading “Happiness Causes Success”

Find Your Own Tribe

A lot of advice for succeeding involves being different. Avoiding blending in. Not following the crowd.

Just be yourself! Be weird! People will appreciate it!

And that may all be true. But it doesn’t make it easy.

Even if being different makes sense and is logical, our brains are not built for it.

We have an evolutionary need to fit in.

Continue reading “Find Your Own Tribe”

You Do Have Time

It has become a sign of success in the modern world to say that you’re busy.

Being busy signifies that you are a hard worker. You have plenty of opportunities. You are important. And everyone wants to be important!

So you will often hear “I don’t have time.”

“I’d love to have a weekend away with my family, but I don’t have time.”

“I’d love to take up skiing, but I just don’t have the time.”

“I wish I could read as much as you do, but I’m always so busy that I don’t have time.”

You do have the time, though. We all do. We’re just choosing not to use it on that particular activity. Continue reading “You Do Have Time”