I heard a song on the radio today: “Tengo El Derecho a Ser Feliz.” The translation? I have the right to be happy!
It sounds nice…like it should be correct.
But happiness is not a right; it’s an opportunity.
Think of yourself as an animal on the Serengeti. You’re hungry and you have to eat. But the plains are filled with danger, with animals that want to kill you! And somewhere in the dark is your food, waiting to be pounced on. Do you have the courage to fight? Can you overcome your fear? Can you rise above the challenge?
Happiness is an opportunity: and it’s something that you win via courage and strength.
See Related Article: The “Nice” Man is Not a Great Man
The topic is dealt with in The Idiot by Dostoyevsky (via the character Hippolyte).
“Oh, you may be perfectly sure that if Columbus was happy, it was not after he had discovered America, but when he was discovering it…What did the New World matter after all? Columbus had hardly seen it when he died, and in reality he was entirely ignorant of what he had discovered. The important thing is life-life and nothing else! What is any ‘discovery’ whatever compared with the incessant, eternal discovery of life?”
Hippolyte is speculating of course, but his point is well taken. A goal is never the orgasm; instead, the pleasure lies in foreplay. It’s getting from point A to point Z that’s fun – the magical moments on the highway of life.
For Colombus, pleasure most likely came from the process of exploration; not the act of discovery.
I know this to be true. When I was younger, I wrote music that was performed on a major TV show. Prior to that accomplishment, I spent thousands of hours practicing: doing scales, taking singing lessons, etc. And finally, one day, something came of it. Boom! I got a placement.
But the pleasure was fleeting. After a few moments, the elation disappeared and I was left with a nagging question…what next?
Happiness lies in a process….the joy you get when you chase goal. So enjoy every day and embrace every moment. And if achieve the goal, then great! But don’t be fooled…the prize can never complete you.
Once your stomach is full, it’s only a matter of time before you become hungry again.
There’s an old saying: “The devil loves a pair of idle hands.” Well the same applies to your thoughts. In other words, “The devil loves a mind at rest.”
The mind – if it wanders aimlessly – will veer into negativity. The trend is exacerbated by a corrosive media. Everywhere you look – from television to film – it’s one piece of poison after the next.
So what to do? The solution is twofold:
Make a “To-Do” List
A “To-Do” list will keep you focused. You’ll be centered on a goal, whatever that may be. Include a large goal with a small one…it doesn’t matter, really. You can place the items next to each another, under one another, etc. The main idea is that you’re smashing. You’re climbing the mountain of achievement.
By spending time on a “To-Do” list, you’re robbing the media of your attention. That’ll drive ’em crazy. Remember: They’d love to be feeding on your flesh, devouring your soul like a zombie. You don’t believe me? Take a look at Kathy Griffin….
Limit Your Television Viewership
95% of television is propaganda – and the goal is the destruction of the family. Television died after Leave it to Beaver, essentially. And now the powers-that-be have a 24/7 war against America. They’re a demonic force, operating from the 405 to the Capital Beltway.
They want to see Ward Cleaver masturbating in the corner of a Motel 6, while his wife gets spit roasted by the offensive line of the Miami Dolphins. They want Wally Cleaver to have an arm-sleeve tattoo, a heroin addiction, and a fatal case hepatitis C. And they want the Beaver to throw a Molotov cocktail at a police officer during the Antifa rally.
You have to fight to be happy. And the best way to fight is twofold: Make a “To-Do” list and limit your TV viewership. You’ll find that your days are brighter and your nights are warmer.
See Related Post: Put Thought Before Action
I don’t sell hope.
Instead, I provide people with advice on how to overcome obstacles. In addition, I listen to advice from others on how to overcome obstacles.
Let’s me give you two examples:
- A woman wants to lose weight. She can listen to a self-help guru, telling her to “just believe in herself.” Or, she can listen a personal trainer that provides a comprehensive fitness plan: a man willing to kick her ass every day with rigorous training. A man willing to push her to greatness, to fight through pain and sweat. The first individual is providing hope; the second is helping her to overcome an obstacle.
- A man wants to become rich. He can listen to an enthusiastic speaker, telling the audience to “reach for the stars.” Or, he can read from the wisdom of millionaires: i.e. The Millionaire Next Door, The Art of the Deal, etc. Books that take away time from his pleasure-filled weekend. Books that force him to re-examine his wasted life. The first individual is providing hope; the second is helping him overcome an obstacle.
You get the point.
I refuse to be a “hope dealer.” I don’t sell the crack of platitude, the needle of self-help. I don’t peddle the cliche. I’m not here improve my self-esteem by telling pretty lies. I don’t need the Facebook likes or Retweets. I prefer the truth.
I refuse to sell a Pollyanna principle. Rose-colored glasses are too small for my face, too blinding for my vision. I’m not here to misdirect or to obfuscate. I don’t need a book deal, a record contract, or a tenure-track position. I speak the truth.
May the children of tomorrow hear my cry! And may they say one thing alone – he was a man that spoke the truth. He broke the chains in Plato’s cave, he pointed to a naked leader and yelled: “The Emperor wears no clothes!”
What can I say? Nothing more than what Nietzsche already gave us:
“…it is my ambition to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a book — what everyone else does not say in a book.”
I prefer to help one person than lie to a thousand.
To be content is to accept the conditions of life, good or bad. You don’t have money, so you accustom yourself to eating tuna fish from a can. You don’t have a car, so you accustom yourself to taking the bus. You don’t have a job, so you accustom yourself to receiving food stamps.
To be content is to supplicate. You change the insult to a complement, the loss to a gain. You play the Pollyanna.
Conversely, to be happy is to struggle. You don”t have money, so you knock down every door until you get some. You don’t have a car, so you work your ass off to buy one. You don’t have a job, so you pound the pavement until you do.
To be happy is to battle. You refuse to accept mediocrity, to conform to defeat. You punch back against the punches. You break free of the chokehold.
In short, it’s better to be happy than content. Happiness is the pursuit of a passionate life: contentment the acceptance of a denigrated one.