I used to think that happiness came from being lucky.
Maybe something good will happen eventually, I thought. When that happens, then I’ll feel happy as a result.
Over time, I learned that this was a very passive way to live my life.
I realized that I didn’t need to wait for happiness to come to me.
I could create my own happiness, and I think you can too.
Now, there is no foolproof system that is going to work for everyone all of the time.
Anyone that tries to sell you that is not of this world, and you should take a picture of this extraterrestrial to share with the government.
But, I know now that happiness doesn’t need to be this thing that just sort of happens to you when the time is right.
Happiness can be constructed, just like anything else.
It doesn’t happen immediately, just like you didn’t learn to ride a bike immediately, or drive immediately, or immediately complete all the prerequisite steps to fly on an airplane.
But if there are systems to do pretty much anything, why can’t it be the same for feeling happy?
Here are some things I’ve done to feel happy that may or may not work for you.
I prime my brain for happiness.
This works best if I start this process in the beginning of the day.
For example, I watch positive YouTube videos to give me uplifting ideas for the day.
The same logic applies to other media that I enjoy, such as books, poetry, and daily affirmations.
I mentally rehearse what could go wrong during the day–and then decide that I’m just going to deal with whatever happens.
The Stoics called this premeditatio malorum, or premeditation of evils.
The idea is that you take some time in the morning to think through the negative things that could happen to you today–and then create a proactive plan for action.
Knowing that you are in charge of your reaction to whatever happens is beyond powerful.
But Jordan, these don’t seem like full-fledged systems!
You’re right, they are more processes than anything.
But they can become systems if you commit to them and make them more robust with intention and persistence.
- You could start a meditation habit that includes a mental rehearsal of potential negative events that could happen
- You could use your morning commute to listen to positive podcasts or audiobooks
It’s completely up to you.
You’re a smart, capable human being.
Build systems that are extensions of who you are.
Build systems that improve your life for the better.
Because you can.