This is the latest installation of a 27-part series, featuring my book, Chasing Unicorns. To read the previous installation, CLICK THIS LINK. For the next post in this series, CLICK THIS LINK. To start at the beginning, CLICK THIS LINK. To read the entire book at once, tap the book cover. Thanks for reading!
RECAP: In the previous installation, I pompously asserted that there are wrong ways to seek extra happiness, that aren’t effective. The final paragraph read as follows:
“But where there’s a wrong way there’s also a right way. And it’s simple. I’ll show you. I’m going to describe a worry-free way to turn around. U-turns are only stressful when there’s a cop watching. But right now they’re all on a donut break, so you can relax and spin that steering wheel. And even do a few donuts of your own, in the process.”
Happiness Isn’t Fun, Part 2
If you know what you’re doing, genuine, extra happiness is as simple to find as breathing fresh air on a mountaintop. And it’s much more impressive. When you’re genuinely more happy, no one will doubt that you’ve met society’s mandate to always have a nice day. They might doubt your sanity sometimes, but they won’t doubt your positive frame of mind. It will be obvious. And in fact it may be so obvious that some may actually become jealous. They’ll say “Oh Shit!” when you say, “Bingo!” Then you’ll be very happy, while they’ll be very mad.
So relax. Open up your mind. Don’t sweat. You’ll feel relieved to know that the method for finding more and more happiness is such an easy-to-learn method. And so natural. It involves a process that is as natural as the movement of your bowels after a steady diet of prunes and refried beans.
And when you find it you’ll be able to flush that unnatural fake smile of yours right down the toilet.
And think of what you will save:
Put away your credit card. You’ll save money, because it won’t cost you a cent. You’ll save time, because the simple method to boosting your happiness can be followed as you go about the business of your everyday life. You won’t have to do anything embarrassing, so you’ll save face. And the effort you make will be a natural and productive effort. It will require some extra energy, but you’ll save energy in the long run.
More importantly, the durable smile you’ll paint on your face will be as genuine as the beaming visage of someone who just inherited their great-aunt’s vast estate. So you’ll save yourself from the mental effort of trying to prove to others that you’re happy.
The key is in understanding how your mind produces happiness. Once you solve this mystery you’ll know what you must do in order to increase its productivity levels. No one will be able to fool you anymore. You’ll see how to loosen and release yourself from the fetters of unreliable methods and suspicious sources. Expensive psychologists (who often shrink minds, rather than expand them), demanding religious institutions (where the virtue of generosity seems to be preached in every other sermon), mind-altering substances (where the Stone Age is romanticized), and other dead-ends to delight will lose their power over you.
Enjoyment can come from nowhere except your own mind. You’ve probably heard something like this before, usually from someone with a smarmy, know-it-all attitude. “Happiness comes from within,” they might chime, like some wise guru expostulating on a mountaintop. This is a cliché that we’re all familiar with. But it can be a maddening cliché when you don’t understand how that happiness is produced from within.
No one likes re-runs. But when you don’t know how happiness is produced, there’s a temptation to try to repeat an enjoyable experience, to lift your sagging spirits. Maybe you do this—maybe you try to recreate the circumstances that were present at the time of the experience. But if you try this often enough, you’ll learn how impossible it is to succeed.
So for instance, let’s say you’ve had a rip roarin’ good time in a whorehouse. In order to repeat the feeling, you might try going back to that same bordello and finding the same prostitute to do business with. But the second time may not be the same as the first. Maybe the hoebag doesn’t work there anymore. Or perhaps she’s in a bad mood, or feeling real tired. Or maybe your own mood has turned. Or perhaps the ambiance of the facilities has changed.
It’s impossible to exactly recreate the circumstances of any prior experience. But even when you come close, the amount of happiness produced may still be very different.
This is because happiness depends mainly upon the inner workings of your mind, and not upon external circumstances. What triggers happiness in you today may not trigger the same amount of happiness tomorrow. So if you try to recreate an experience, it’s just like dropping a few quarters into a defective vending machine. Last time, you liked the Doritos. So you push the button for the Doritos again, but alas, they fail to fall to the bottom. So then you shake the machine, but alas, it tips over and squashes you.
No, don’t depend on defective vending machines. There’s another kind of machine that’s much more reliable. It’s the machinery of your own mind. And it has cogs, flywheels, pulleys, and belts that won’t fail you. As long as you understand how they work. You’ll learn in the next three chapters how these machinations of your mind produce happiness. And in the final three chapters, you’ll learn about things you can do to better operate this machinery. It has something to do with hunting unicorns, but that’s all I’m saying about that for now. I want to avoid confusing everyone by getting too far ahead of myself.
After you read the next three chapters, you’ll be like an engineer following a blueprint. You’ll realize what must be done to up your mind’s happiness production. And you’ll discover that the task is surprisingly simple, even when not obvious. In fact, you may discover that all of your best efforts you’re currently employing are actually just throwing a monkey wrench into the works. And so you’ll be able to drop those efforts like a hot anvil, and stop toiling so hard.
And this is a very natural way to become happier, this cessation from fruitless toiling. Especially if you’re as lazy as me.
Let’s take a look at this mental machinery right now. Let me stick this otoscope in your ear. And let’s have a gander at the inner workings of your mind . . .