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[Editorial] Am I happy? What is Happiness?

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That is the ultimate question in life. Am I happy? If not, how do I become Happy? If you turn on the television according to the ‘programming’ the answer may be the following:

New Food
New Car
New House
New Prescription Medication
New Girlfriend
New Boyfriend
Lots of Sex
Lots of Traveling
Watching more Television Programming

The list of external validation and material objects can be listed ad nauseam and that’s all it is. External. Material. Objects. Rarely does the Mainstream Entertainment Media (MEM) ever discuss the path to internal growth and happiness.

Instead of encouraging philosophy, introspection and outside the box thinking the MEM pushes, group-think, cookie-cutter colleges, and dead-end careers that often pay very little, take your soul, blood and tears, all while in return telling you to ‘keep up the good work!”





We are taught from an early age to be jealous of anyone who is prettier, richer, and smarter than we are while at the same time judging anyone who is uglier, poorer and dumber than we are. Yet none of these traits seem to promote happiness, do they?



After college, I worked several sessions in the Alaska State Legislature and then eventually I came back home where I was raised. I was fortunate and secured an amazing full-time job and then on my free time, for fun, I started working a part-time job as a pizza delivery driver.

You can imagine the shocked faces of my teachers and friends whenever I would pull up and they would see their ‘most likely to succeed’ model student and motivated neighbor back from college and hand them their pizza. The looks were priceless and yet I felt very judged the entire summer I was working this job.

In fact, that same summer a coworker at my full-time job asked me in a condescending manner “Arthur, what are you still doing here? You have a degree in Political Science, you shouldn’t be working this bad job and living on Prince of Wales Island. You should be going out into the world and making a difference.”

Upon reflecting I answered, “If this place is so terrible what are you still doing working this exact same ‘bad job’ and living on this same Island with me?”

She answered, “I’m Happy where I am in life!”



We often get caught up in the rat race of life doing what other people tell us to do and we end up becoming miserable. Well intentioned or not, but my parents encouraged me to go to college and it was one of the biggest regrets of my life (Read: What Ever You Do, Don’t Go to College!). This one decision of ‘going to college’ spiraled into a series of events shortly after graduation that left me with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans and working in the Alaska State Legislature. I vividly remember walking down the stairs of the Capitol building after a stressful day of work asking myself a pivotal question: “Do I want to continue and work for other people in a high stress, fast-paced political field or do I want to move back home and see if I can find something better?”

If I listened to all the external forces in my life at the time (from my girlfriend, to my parents, to my awesome landlords) I firmly believe that I would have been utterly and completely miserable working in that particular political environment.

And guess what, five years later with the current state of Alaska politics and it’s irreparable mess, I made the best decision of my life. However, it wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t look inside of my heart and tease out my strengths, my weaknesses, my wants and my goals.

Happiness Can Only Come From Internal Growth


In a lot of ways I envy homeless people because they have something that nearly everyone desperately craves: ‘being stress free.” Homeless people and bums have no home, they have no need for a job, they have no debt, all they need is a few dollars a day to put food in their belly and they are as happy as a lark.

A majority of us make the mistake of ‘judging’ these transients asking ourselves how could people possibly want to live in a tent and under a bridge all their life? Yet reversing that question, how could someone possibly want to work a job that they absolutely hate, live in a house that they absolutely regret purchasing and getting a loan for a car that they can't afford?(1)(2)(3)

Happiness is not Stagnation


Life consists of change. Some days you wake up with the perfect bed hair and lots of energy pulsing through your veins. On others, you wake up with spittle down your cheek, groggy and emotional for no reason whatsoever. Life is unpredictable which is why it’s important to have long-term goals and focus on them so you don’t get caught up in the mundane daily routines that seem to keep you spiritually listless.

Five years ago I asked myself:

What are your strengths?
Answer: Confidence, work ethic, charisma, extremely and ridiculously incredible good looks.

What are your weaknesses?
Answer: Addictive personality, bad finances, beautiful women.

What are your wants and goals?
Answer: To become debt free, start a family, have a stable secure job, and be happy.

Today I’m getting closer to becoming debt free, I’m still looking for that pretty lady (feel free to message me xoxo), but I do have a great stable secure job that I love and which really does make me happy.

Fundamentally, happiness is a mental mindset that can only be created by your own will power and not by any will power from an outside force. If you are in a fork in the road with your life or feeling depressed and unhappy, take the time and meditate on what you want in your life. The answers won’t come to you immediately and may even take months but don’t let that stop you! Take out a piece of paper and ask yourself, what are your strengths, weaknesses, and goals in life?

The list of your goals in life will be long and varied but I can guarantee one thing that won’t be on it: “watching more Mainstream Entertainment Media that wants to sell me a bunch of materialistic products.

Until next time,

Cheers!

[Link to an inspiration comic on the subject of the article]


Sources:

1. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/70-u-s-workers-hate-job-poll-article-1.1381297
2. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/14/almost-half-of-americans-have-buyers-remorse-about-their-house.html
3. https://mises.org/library/auto-loan-bubble-ready-pop


Read More: [Editorial] Who Am I To Judge? Why it’s Okay to Judge People and Cultures.

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