Self-help books and conventional life advice tells us to focus on being happy. But this suggests that you aren’t already happy and that you need to change in order to live the life you want.
Ironically, the desire for more positive experiences makes us more unhappy. And the acceptance of one’s negative experiences makes us happier. This is why Mark Manson suggests that the secret to life is simple – don’t try.
If you care less about something, you’ll do better at it. Accept your insecurities and flaws and you will build courage and perseverance. To try and avoid suffering is a form of suffering in itself.
The secret is to learn how to pick and choose what matters to you and then ignore the rest.
This doesn’t mean being indifferent; it means being willing to overcome adversity for the sake of one’s own values. To have the strength to push through adversity, you must first care about something more important than adversity.
Whether you realise it or not, you always have a choice about what to care about. So find something meaningful, otherwise, you’ll only care about frivolous things instead.
The Problem With Happiness
Happiness is not a solvable equation. Dissatisfaction and unease are necessary parts of life. Suffering is inevitable. It sucks, but it’s also useful. It teaches us what is good for us versus what is bad for us. It teaches us how to avoid making the same mistake in the future. It nudges us in the right direction for beneficial change.
To chase a problem-free life means we lose the benefits of experiencing healthy doses of pain, and thus, improvement. Problems never stop; they merely change.
Don’t hope for a life without problems, hope for a life full of good problems.