Happiness, for us, is almost always the product of event and experience. We can’t stay happy for no reason.
We are in ‘sad mode’ by default. If we want to experience happiness then we require some type of event. I personally think that’s where the root of sadness lies.
Happiness starts to depreciate after the first moment we experience some event. What’s even worse is that, we can’t take our happiness to the existing level next time we experience the same event.
You’ll never be able to experience the same level of happiness once you've experienced a moment, or event. Happiness starts to fade away eventually.
Human needs are insatiable, after you fulfill one need another will emerge automatically.
Let’s say, you don’t know how to ride a bike. You’ll think that you’ll always have same level of happiness once you’ll be able to ride it. First, you try to learn it. During that period, you’ll find it really difficult to ride it. Eventually, after practice it starts to get easier and you’ll finally be able to ride the bike.
The happiness you experience at that particular moment will be unforgettable. And you’ll think that you’ll always be able to maintain the same level of happiness when you ride bike.
Now fast forward two years, and you won’t be any happier than you were when you first learned to ride bike. Your happiness won’t be there anymore. It starts to feel normal, and when you feel something to be normal you won’t feel happy.
And believe it or not, we live a normal life because we feel safe. You should divorce your normal routine life to experience happiness. That's where the magic happens. Magic never happens in your comfort zone. Once you leave your comfort zone, you'll start to experience happiness.
Happiness will eventually fade away - that’s what most people fail to realize.
Since this is the only life we’ve got, we need to make full use of it. And there’s no time to live an unhappy life.
So, there are two ways you can always be happy. Either you need to experience new events everyday or be happy with what you’ve got.
Hedonist people usually try and experience new and pleasurable stuffs everyday as much as they can, so that they can live a happy life.
However, It’s tricky to be happy with what you’ve got. To be happy with what you’ve got, you need to engage in negative visualization (Note that negative visualization is not the only method of experiencing happiness. It's one of many.) I’ll write about negative visualization on upcoming blog posts. But for now, you only need to know that it’s visualizing your stuffs getting stolen or lost. When you visualize in such a way, you’ll be happy that you have those stuffs now.
People don’t realize what they’ve got, until it’s gone. So, the trick is to think of your stuffs getting lost or stolen. Which will make you realize the stuffs you have, and that’ll make you happy. You’ll think about the loss of the stuff you have. That way you’ll be thankful for what you have, instead of wishing to buy or have something else. You don’t search for new stuffs and events, you figure out what you have and think how lucky you are to have those stuffs.
You have eyes that help you to see but it’s not exciting or surprising anymore. So, visualize that you’ve gone blind and that you can’t see anything, ever. You’ll feel really bad. And remember that there are people who are blind and can never see anything. And after that, when you realize that you haven't gone blind, you’ll be thankful that you have eyes through which you can view this beautiful world.
Think about your hands and legs. There are people who are handicapped. Think that you’ve become one of them, that you lost your hands and legs. And think what you’d do if you had hands and legs. And slowly, when you find out that you haven't lost your hands and legs, you’ll feel happy. You’ll also start to appreciate what you’ve got.
See? We didn’t experience any type of event. We just practiced negative visualization and, as a result, we became happy. That’s the one of the secret for staying happy, which many stoics advocate.
The technique is to trick yourself. It’s worth it if your main concern for life is tranquility. If it’s something else then you’ll be better of focusing on other stuffs.