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This week we are talking about happiness, awareness, and how to get rid of what doesn't matter.
As a brief disclaimer: any links for items, books, etc. that are available for purchase are done through an affiliate program. This means that I get paid a small pittance of money for everything you buy using my links. I don't recommend things I haven't read/used, so using these links helps me out and gets you great products!
What is happiness?
What does it take for you to be happy? This is a question that many people ask themselves on a daily basis. The problem with this question is that it sets you up for failure from the outset; the key to happiness is not addition of anything, but subtraction.
In order to be happy and satisfied in life, we must learn to subtract a whole slew of things: expectations, labels, opinions, goals. When we tie our happiness to the expectation of something in the future, or say that we will finally be happy when X occurs, the feeling of accomplishment when we finally achieve that thing tends to be hollow and empty.
Self-awareness is the first step to happiness, but becoming aware is easier said than done. It's a complicated process, one in which we must deprogram a lot of what we learn in society growing up. Think back to when you were a child (if you can remember); how many times were you worried about your future, what you were going to do for a job, or how you were going to "make it?" Chances are, you may have had an idea of what you wanted to "be" when you grew up, but I would wager that your happiness was not affected by this label in any way. Chances are you went back to playing with your friends, laughing, smiling, and enjoying every minute of that day however you could.
As we grow older, we absorb expectations and labels from society. Instead of focusing on who we are, the self in its purest form, we focus on how we express ourselves. We focus on the career we have, the possessions we have acquired, or the way others perceive us and our achievements. All of these things pull us further away from our own identity, from the awareness necessary to truly be happy.
It's not an easy feat, but take some time to focus on the version of you that you want to become regardless of society's expectations, the labels placed on you by friends and family, or even your own aspirations. Think about why you want to be who you are or do what you do. Take a step back and realize that if you simply subtract those expectations then you become free to enjoy life and to enjoy the people who make it meaningful.
It's easy to get caught in the trap of "I'll be happy when" -- we tell ourself this story often, especially in a modern world where we are constantly confronted with images of "success" through social media. If you can't learn to be happy now, to be aware of who you truly are, then that elusive when will become the carrot on a stick you will never quite reach.
The most interesting things I've read, heard, or encountered this week:
For more of the above: Awareness by Anthony De Mello
The wisdom of De Mello is hard to summarize here, but this book is life-changing. It consistently makes the list of "most recommended" books by some of the world's best thinkers, and for good reason. It's relatively short, but dense, and asks you to take a look deep inside to confront your notion of self.
What else I'm reading: Red Notice by Bill Browder
This book had been in my "to read soon" pile for awhile, and I finally picked it up and dug into it. The events in Red Notice are all true, but the book reads like any great thriller. The biggest takeaway for me was a greater appreciation for how hard it actually is to pass meaningful legislation in this country; given current events, this look into "how the sausage is made" was enlightening.
What does a "Shark Tank" investor invest in: Mark Cuban on CNBC
An interesting article in which Mark Cuban discusses his recent investments, and the type of projects he puts money into that are not related to Shark Tank. Cuban is very bullish on crypto, and his viewpoint on the capabilities in the space are worth reading for anyone who doubts the long-term viability of this technology.
What I'm listening to: Jon Stewart's latest podcast
I have always been a fan of Jon Stewart both as a comedian and as a voice of the times. Despite his personal political views, his ability to cover a story well and with common sense (an exceedingly rare thing these days) always earned my respect. He recently launched a podcast called The Problem with Jon Stewart that is well worth a listen.
Speaking of Mark Cuban: Mark Cuban Launches Digital Pharmaceutical Startup on BuiltIn
One thing you can't deny is Cuban's ability to shake up the system. His recent startup offers generic medication at a fraction of the cost of traditional suppliers. This is a huge step in the right direction to disrupt an industry that has been raking people through the coals for generations.
This app allows you to generate completely customized workout plans based on your equipment, available time, and goals. It has been in development for quite some time and the team behind it has a ton of collective experience in health and fitness.
As a disclosure: I am an angel investor in Deep and helped vet the results coming out of their AI platform. In my opinion, this is the future of remote coaching and programming.
That will do it for this week! Please let me know what you liked, didn't like, and what you want to see more of. Do you want it to be longer, shorter? Do you want specific topics covered more? Less? Have a wonderful week, and remember to please forward this to your friends -- helping get the word out and get more eyes on this newsletter is hugely helpful and greatly appreciated!
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