It’s been a long time between posts, but here are some of the things that have been rattling around in my head and heart lately….
I recently listened to Tim Ferriss’ podcast with Mr Money Mustache (MMM). There were some really great insights on the podcast – in particular the reflection about happiness coming from reducing ‘life suck’ (ie. reducing or removing something negative in your life) rather than adding something more positive. It’s such a great question to ask before making a purchase or committing to doing something – is this thing removing a negative, or just adding a positive that I don’t really need? For example, while a new computer may make my life better in some way (faster, more storage, and upgraded OS), my life really doesn’t suck at all with the completely functional computer that I already own. The other excellent insight was about ‘optimising your life for happiness’. Often I choose to do things or buy things that I think will make me happier (or that society (or clever marketing) tells me will make me happier), without really critically reflecting on whether they do or not. Further, I know that there are certain things that I know make me happier (like bushwalking and simply being in nature), that I don’t make enough of a priority in my life. This prompted me to start a Mindnode with branches for things I know make me happier (stuff I should be optimising my life for), things I think would make me happier (and should create experiments to test and reflect) and things that definitely don’t make me happy (that I should seek to optimise me life to reduce/remove).
After the podcast, I spent a bit of time exploring the MMM blog and this blog post, ‘Happiness is the Only Logical Pursuit’, really resonated with me – particularly the part about consumption often being driven by a desire for self-actualisation, which then undermines a more basic need for financial security which leads to feelings of unease/unhappiness.
In another recent podcast, Krista Tippett and Tim Ferriss spoke about anger really being just how pain or fear manifests in public. This insight prompted me to reflect on how I can best respond when people I love are expressing anger. If their anger is really pain/fear, then me pointing out the anger and why and how it’s hurting me is really like throwing fuel on the flame – it’s just likely to cause more pain or fear. So, in the moment, it is really helpful for me to try to look behind the facade of anger and try and see what else might be going on.