Happiness is a side effect. Thanks for the fails 2017
It’s been a challenging year, no doubt. But it really isn’t the year’s fault. A stoic view would be remembering that it is never the thing, only your belief about the thing that makes you feel how you feel. I’m actually grateful to 2017 for teaching me so much and helping me to learn a bit more; grow a bit more.
What have I learned? If I could distil twelve month’s ups and downs, loves and losses into just a few key lessons to take into 2018 it would be these:
Run towards your fountains and your fears. Your people mean everything, most importantly spend meaningful time with those that push positivity, strength, compassion, empathy and FUN. Yes people; HELL yes people. Avoid the drains where you can.
The things you’re afraid of, do them. A lot. Not just once, keep doing them until they aren’t fears anymore but new skills, hobbies, passions, careers. If your demons stop you, stop calling them demons, that suggests they’re stronger than you. They’re not, they’re just irrational beliefs. Call them that.
Don’t have New Year’s Resolutions, they’re short-lived, filled with sacrifice and work about as well as diets. Have a new philosophy of life to take you forwards. Preferably a balanced one. We’re all busy, we don’t find time, we make it. But if you’re frequently frazzled learn to say no more. This year I’m aiming to only say yes when it’s HELL YES! Otherwise, it’s a no.
Try and say HELL YES to the adventures, big and small, you’re passionate about and opportunity will pop up everywhere. Opportunity beats goal setting hands down. Setting a goal is saying, I’ll be happy when I get ‘there’. But happiness is not a destination. It’s a side effect of living well, embracing opportunity. Don’t try to be happy, don’t look for happiness. Happiness is a side effect.
More meaningful solitude. I don’t mean alone with your smartphone – I really don’t mean that. Just be, with nature, unplugged, disconnected. Meditate, move, walk, appreciate what’s around you and don’t be afraid to go inwards.
“People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills. There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind…So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.” Marcus Aurelius
Help others more, even strangers, especially strangers. Compassion is powerful, it helps you both in so many ways.
Walk more. Not to anywhere, just walk, preferably near trees and water and just listen. I reckon every good idea I’ve ever had was sparked on a walk. All the bad ones seem to be sparked by booze. Except tequila. Tequila is ace. But definitely walk more.
Be grateful, for everything you have, everything you’ve done and all the things you get to look forward to. Don’t dwell on the wants and the material things. Simplify. There is not a thing in the world you ‘must’ have that will make you complete. Don’t mustabate. You’ve got it all already, look around.
If you can’t sleep, don’t know how to help, feel lonely, struggle with gratitude or can’t slow down, write it down. Journaling helps a lot. No dear diaries – just unfiltered braindumps that you can burn later on. Out of your head and onto the page will give you space to rest. Writing things down also gives you clarity. It’s a good way to figure out who your fountains are, what you want to achieve this year, what soothes your soul, fulfils you, makes you happy.
These are some things I’ve learned and some things I’ll be trying to get better at. I know they work because they are working.
I hope that whatever you resolve to do or be this year, that you take some time to get ready for the inevitable obstacles. Then you can face them head on as amazing opportunities.
Amor Fati dudes.
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