Saturday, 30 May 2009

Three elements of happiness: routine, progress, and achievement

“Never trade a risk for a lie,” is a sound investment principle. Placing our hopes on uncertain possibilities is a better approach than believing apparent truths that rest on false premises and unrealistic promises.

If you look around, you will find no lack of recipes for happiness. Believe this and avoid that. Don't go there and come here. Throw away the old batch and start from scratch. “Our solution is not hard,” you will be told, “I just need your credit card.”

Here is a list of methods that don't work, never have, and never will:
  • Dubious or unethical practices.
  • Abusing people in any way.
  • Seeking short-term gains that wipe out future progress.
  • Complaining about deficiencies.
  • Trusting luck.
Even under the best circumstances, attaining peace of mind and happiness requires substantial work. Without the right principles, those endowed with prodigious gifts by heredity will just bury themselves in sorrow through mistakes and inconsistencies. You can find evidence of this by opening any newspaper.

What is the essence of happiness? How is it determined? How can we steer our life in its direction? These questions can be answered only by pointing out the main difference between human and animal psychology.

Animals' moods are indissolubly connected to their immediate perceptions. For humans, this link is immeasurably more complex. Since ancient times, philosophers have wondered why different individuals react to the same event with anger, fear, anxiety, or happiness.

Relativism does not explain anything and serves only to obfuscate truth. “Anything can be good or bad,” is not a valid proposition, in particular when one faces catastrophe or personal tragedy. Arbitrary valuations of events are nothing but sophisticated lies aimed at manipulating the naive.

What really creates contrasting levels of happiness is how individuals interpret events according to their convictions about the past, present, and future:

1.- ABOUT THE PAST: No matter how painful, past events can often be reinterpreted as learning experiences. When this approach is unfeasible, preceding mistakes or bad luck must be simply accepted stoically. Each human life is unique and must carry its own past, whether positive or negative. From old days, draw lessons if you will, but above all, develop your acceptance skills.

2.- ABOUT THE PRESENT: Difficulties and, in particular, boring or unpleasant work are much better accepted by individuals who link them to their long-term personal objectives. Men and women of high ambitions know that performing daily routines well is a requisite of progress. The contentment of those who look beyond the present remains incomprehensible to short-term mentalities. This is why the same work can be experienced, depending on individual goals, either as dead-end or as a step forward.

3.- ABOUT THE FUTURE: Progress derived from focused routines leads to achievement. The path to success might be irregular, advancement slow, and results below expectations, but you can always find another road that will take you father. Animals cannot assess their actions by linking them to long-term objectives. Human happiness is, to a great extent, the result of making such connection and anticipating those goals.

Routine, progress, and achievement constitute the sequence of happiness. Viewing the unique thread that links our past, present, and future is a fundamental gift of philosophy. Peace of mind and happiness start and end with personal responsibility. May all your present routines fit well your chosen destination.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by kevindooley under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Three elements of happiness: routine, progress, and achievement

“Never trade a risk for a lie,” is a sound investment principle. Placing our hopes on uncertain possibilities is a better approach than believing apparent truths that rest on false premises and unrealistic promises.

If you look around, you will find no lack of recipes for happiness. Believe this and avoid that. Don't go there and come here. Throw away the old batch and start from scratch. “Our solution is not hard,” you will be told, “I just need your credit card.”

Here is a list of methods that don't work, never have, and never will:
  • Dubious or unethical practices.
  • Abusing people in any way.
  • Seeking short-term gains that wipe out future progress.
  • Complaining about deficiencies.
  • Trusting luck.
Even under the best circumstances, attaining peace of mind and happiness requires substantial work. Without the right principles, those endowed with prodigious gifts by heredity will just bury themselves in sorrow through mistakes and inconsistencies. You can find evidence of this by opening any newspaper.

What is the essence of happiness? How is it determined? How can we steer our life in its direction? These questions can be answered only by pointing out the main difference between human and animal psychology.

Animals' moods are indissolubly connected to their immediate perceptions. For humans, this link is immeasurably more complex. Since ancient times, philosophers have wondered why different individuals react to the same event with anger, fear, anxiety, or happiness.

Relativism does not explain anything and serves only to obfuscate truth. “Anything can be good or bad,” is not a valid proposition, in particular when one faces catastrophe or personal tragedy. Arbitrary valuations of events are nothing but sophisticated lies aimed at manipulating the naive.

What really creates contrasting levels of happiness is how individuals interpret events according to their convictions about the past, present, and future:

1.- ABOUT THE PAST: No matter how painful, past events can often be reinterpreted as learning experiences. When this approach is unfeasible, preceding mistakes or bad luck must be simply accepted stoically. Each human life is unique and must carry its own past, whether positive or negative. From old days, draw lessons if you will, but above all, develop your acceptance skills.

2.- ABOUT THE PRESENT: Difficulties and, in particular, boring or unpleasant work are much better accepted by individuals who link them to their long-term personal objectives. Men and women of high ambitions know that performing daily routines well is a requisite of progress. The contentment of those who look beyond the present remains incomprehensible to short-term mentalities. This is why the same work can be experienced, depending on individual goals, either as dead-end or as a step forward.

3.- ABOUT THE FUTURE: Progress derived from focused routines leads to achievement. The path to success might be irregular, advancement slow, and results below expectations, but you can always find another road that will take you father. Animals cannot assess their actions by linking them to long-term objectives. Human happiness is, to a great extent, the result of making such connection and anticipating those goals.

Routine, progress, and achievement constitute the sequence of happiness. Viewing the unique thread that links our past, present, and future is a fundamental gift of philosophy. Peace of mind and happiness start and end with personal responsibility. May all your present routines fit well your chosen destination.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by kevindooley under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The only thing that counts


There are too many rules to live by. Too many principles to memorize, clues to follow, and lies to swallow. Too many ideals to discard and too much junk in our yard. The moment has come to simplify.

Every few years, we read about research performed on twin brothers. This was particularly popular in the seventies, when researchers checked twins' moods, ask them what they ate, and watched them go on dates. Later they recorded how some twins took courses, found jobs, and travelled around the globe.

At the end of each study, facts are typed, tabulated, and debated. Results are never what scientists expected. Why are some subjects doing great while brothers live in a sorry state? How come that often one twin thrives while the other barely survives?

From time to time, more money is poured into such studies and researchers talk again to every twin and his brother. To everyone's surprise, old data is usually not just confirmed, but magnified. Subjects who are successful feel not at all resentful, while apparently, to those who wail and cry, every chance in life has been denied.

Although the outcome of studies show clear differences between subjects, scientists continue to be clueless about the cause. How is it possible that each twin fares a way that cannot be compared? If not family and background, what makes some people mess around and others rebound?
  • Are there so many factors involved that no conclusion can be drawn?
  • Is every man nothing but destiny's pawn?
  • What is the secret that turns ugly ducklings into swans?
In my view, such investigations have never been able to teach us much because they are based on faulty premises. Undoubtedly, family and origin play a certain role, but so do educational opportunities, an individual's health, the state of the economy, luck, and many other factors.

Complexity in the method cannot overcome imperfection in the system. Even when computers are fed overwhelming streams of data, they remain unable to grasp what human intuition can instantly deduct by means of fuzzy short-cuts.

In life, action is the only thing that counts. It is what makes your days valuable or sells them at discount. It does not matter whether two men are twins or not. Neither origin, background, or talking can equal the impact of a man walking.

Statistics won't reveal the clue. They can determine neither when nor who. From the many rules to live by, most are not even true. Action is the key, a habit that we must daily renew. Decide what you want to construe, take action, and follow through.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by jasonb42882 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The only thing that counts


There are too many rules to live by. Too many principles to memorize, clues to follow, and lies to swallow. Too many ideals to discard and too much junk in our yard. The moment has come to simplify.

Every few years, we read about research performed on twin brothers. This was particularly popular in the seventies, when researchers checked twins' moods, ask them what they ate, and watched them go on dates. Later they recorded how some twins took courses, found jobs, and travelled around the globe.

At the end of each study, facts are typed, tabulated, and debated. Results are never what scientists expected. Why are some subjects doing great while brothers live in a sorry state? How come that often one twin thrives while the other barely survives?

From time to time, more money is poured into such studies and researchers talk again to every twin and his brother. To everyone's surprise, old data is usually not just confirmed, but magnified. Subjects who are successful feel not at all resentful, while apparently, to those who wail and cry, every chance in life has been denied.

Although the outcome of studies show clear differences between subjects, scientists continue to be clueless about the cause. How is it possible that each twin fares a way that cannot be compared? If not family and background, what makes some people mess around and others rebound?
  • Are there so many factors involved that no conclusion can be drawn?
  • Is every man nothing but destiny's pawn?
  • What is the secret that turns ugly ducklings into swans?
In my view, such investigations have never been able to teach us much because they are based on faulty premises. Undoubtedly, family and origin play a certain role, but so do educational opportunities, an individual's health, the state of the economy, luck, and many other factors.

Complexity in the method cannot overcome imperfection in the system. Even when computers are fed overwhelming streams of data, they remain unable to grasp what human intuition can instantly deduct by means of fuzzy short-cuts.

In life, action is the only thing that counts. It is what makes your days valuable or sells them at discount. It does not matter whether two men are twins or not. Neither origin, background, or talking can equal the impact of a man walking.

Statistics won't reveal the clue. They can determine neither when nor who. From the many rules to live by, most are not even true. Action is the key, a habit that we must daily renew. Decide what you want to construe, take action, and follow through.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by jasonb42882 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]