Counterintuitive Values of Truly Happy People That You Can Adopt
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay
“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?”, Steve Jobs said to John Sculley, head of Pepsi-Cola, in hopes of convincing him to join Apple as the Chief Executive.
Jobs thought he had made a smart move by pursuing Sculley for more than a year.
As it turns out, he hired his own Kryptonite.
After Sculley joined Apple, he took over marketing and other important aspects of the business. All this while, Jobs was busy doing what he did best — making insanely great computers.
But Jobs wasn’t exactly the best person to work with. He was hard on employees, expected a lot out of them, and didn’t really care about the costs or the price of the machines he was making.
This led to a war between Sculley and Jobs. Sculley and the board wanted to either cut the costs by using lower quality hardware or increase the price.
Jobs wanted neither — he wanted to use the best parts and keep the price low.
The board ultimately sided with Sculley, increased the price of the computers, and relieved Jobs all his operational duties including the Macintosh project.
“They basically stripped Jobs of responsibilities and gave him an office that he referred to as ‘Siberia.’ Well, someone like Steve Jobs could not sit in Siberia,” said Alan Deutschman, author of “Change or Die, The Second Coming of Steve Jobs.” “Jobs told his closest friends and colleagues that it was a betrayal.”
The happenings ensued a mid-life crisis for Jobs. He spent that summer thinking about all sorts of career possibilities like politics and becoming an astronaut. What happened soon after that was the formation of NeXT, which was later acquired by Apple, putting Steve back where he started. (Though being an astronaut would’ve been fun to watch)
And so the legendary story goes. He built Apple, alongside Pixar, into the world’s most valuable company.
Jobs’ level of tenacity and grit is rare to find.
Dave Mustaine had a similar problem. Out of nowhere, he was kicked out of Metallica, the greatest rock band of all time. Dave then spent his life trying to make Metallica regret their decision. And he did, to some extent.
The band Mustaine founded after being let go was the legendary Megadeth. Selling over 25 million albums worldwide, it was a huge success.
The problem? Metallica sold 180 million.
Both Jobs and Mustaine were fabulously successful and wealthy in their own ways. Both overcame adversity which would otherwise cripple others.
But Jobs ended up happier and much more satisfied than Mustaine who cried on being kicked out of Metallica. Even after all those years of success with Megadeth!
This not only reminds us that material success doesn’t mean shit, but also how the circumstances in life rarely affect our happiness in objective terms.
Whether we see something as a success or a failure depends largely on our values. And there are some values that harm more than others.
If you can work on only these four, you’ll find yourself in a much better spot no matter what you do in life.
Don’t Try to Stay Positive
What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size — Carl Jung
Trying to be positive is great. You can see the other side of the coin.
Lost your business during the pandemic? At least you can spend time with your family.
Lost your limb in an accident? Nice! You can sit all day and observe others.
There are positives and negatives about every problem in life. We can live on the sunny side of life.
But most of us look to the sunny side, for the wrong reasons.
It’s temporary gratifying to deny the problem in front of you. To deny the emotions of anger, resentment, contempt, irritation, betrayal, and so on.
We think we can deny them forever. By turning our back to the darkness, we think we can get out of it. It’s like taking all your clutter and smashing it in a cupboard because you’re afraid to sort it out.
But the only way to declutter, the only way to truly be happy is to deal with them. “But wouldn’t that mean I’m being pessimistic?” No. You’re just acknowledging what has happened. You’re being truthful with yourself. For the first time, you’re seeing things as they are.
By accepting your emotions and situations, you can let go. If you resist it, you’ll always fear it. Always afraid of opening the cupboard to face the trash the flows out.
Mustaine kept denying his anger and resentment against Metallica. What happened to him was devastating. But he resisted coming to face with reality. He kept the dust under the carpet. And he never could throw it out.
Bad things happen to everyone. But the ones who are happy, accept it and move on.
Don’t Try to Be Right
If you don’t mind being wrong on the way to being right you’ll learn a lot — and increase your eﬀectiveness. But if you can’t tolerate being wrong, you won’t grow, you’ll make yourself and everyone around you miserable — Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio is the founder of Bridgewater, the largest hedge fund in the world. And he’s the first one to admit, he doesn’t know a lot relative to what he should be knowing.
Whatever success he’s had has come from his ability to deal with his not-knowing. And when Ray advises you on success, you should listen.
Most dangers in life come because of things we didn’t know about.
We can’t fix this ourselves because we don’t know what we don’t know.
To know what you don’t know, you have to be willing to be wrong more than you’re right.
“That is the biggest challenge of mankind. It is certainly the individual being attached to opinions that can be wrong or being attached to the ego or needing to be right. If one could give those things up and open oneself up to the possibility of being wrong, one could learn and make better decisions.” says Ray.
If you’re tied to the feeling of being right, you miss out on opportunities and information that can catapult you to the next level of your life.
Being willing to be wrong helps you live in a constant state of self-improvement and learning which is the only way to excel at what you do.
Don’t Chase Success
The problem is not in chasing success. The problem is looking for it in the wrong direction.
Most of us have a foreign idea of success formed by our environment, parents, friends, the media, etc. You didn’t wake up one day and thought of being a programmer, an entrepreneur, or a musician. You likely saw someone doing something you liked and decided to emulate them.
It’s not bad to emulate. You need role models. But you also need honest introspection to decide whether the path you’ve chosen is good for you.
Amongst all the conventional definitions of success, the ones involving fame, and money are the most harmful. First, they’re based on something you cannot control. Yes, you can control to an extent whether you’re famous or have enough money to flaunt. But it’s on others to decide whether you’re good enough.
Another problem, which everyone knows but no one understands is the relationship between material success and well being.
Research has shown once you’re able to meet your physical needs, the relationship between happiness and money dwindles. If you’re making $100 every month then making an extra $10,000 dollars would be great. But if you’re earning $90,000 dollars then those extra $10,000 wouldn’t mean anything.
Your riches will drain you out soon.
Don’t Chase Pleasure
Pleasure only fuels businesses, not your happiness.
Companies market pleasure of eating a burger, having a bigger home, watching a new Netflix series, and having a better-looking spouse. Only because they get to make money some way or the other.
Pleasures don’t give us happiness. Even if they do, it’s gone before you can grasp it. It’s fleeting beyond words. Still, we indulge in it — ask any drug addict and he’ll tell you.
Not only it makes us dumb and numb, but it also makes us depressed.
Some argue it’s necessary for life to an extent, and I wouldn’t disagree. But those who over-indulge and structure their life around pleasure, generally turn it to hell.
Lasting happiness comes from solving problems and overcoming obstacles. It comes from being face-to-face with reality and not using pleasures to escape it.
The transgression of these values only leads to empty highs, not permanent satisfaction. But the good news is, even if you nail one of them, success can emerge as a natural result.
You don’t need to change your situation, only how you see it.
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