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”

Act Like the Person You Want to Be

This is an article that I have had kicking around in my head for quite some time.

It was originally an uplifting and positive article. The context has changed, though. The world has changed.

The idea centers on a Kurt Vonnegut quote.

“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be very careful what we pretend to be.”

This is a very powerful truth. One that I firmly believe we should harness to become better people. Continue reading “Act Like the Person You Want to Be”

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”

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”

You Have More Money Than You Think

When we focus on wealth inequality, we always focus on the people above us.

We think of Occupy Wall Street protesting outside of investment banks. We think of Bernie Sanders gesticulating wildly while telling us about millionaires and billionaires. We think of Mitt Romney and friends with money coming out of their suits.

How we view the 1%.
How we view the 1%.

Continue reading “You Have More Money Than You Think”

Happy Giving Tuesday!

You may have noticed that the last few days have been quite geared towards consumerism.

First, you had Black Friday, which in many places now actually starts on Thanksgiving.

Next came Small Business Saturday, which came about as a response to Black Friday intended to help smaller companies keep up with the big box stores.

And finally, yesterday, we had Cyber Monday, when the online retailers follow suit.

That’s quite a few days aimed directly at getting us to buy more things.

If you’re frustrated by the increasing consumerism and focus on buying stuff that has consumed the weekend after Thanksgiving, you are not alone. One group is trying to shift the focus from consumerism to charity. Continue reading “Happy Giving Tuesday!”

Happiness Through Kindness

The first trick to becoming happier: doing what your mother taught you.

And here I don’t mean making your bed (although Gretchen Rubin in her book The Happiness Project argues strongly that that helps as well). Today we’re talking about being kind to others.

A number of studies have proven what you may have suspected anyway: practicing acts of kindness increases your happiness.

So be selfish. Do things for other people. Continue reading “Happiness Through Kindness”