One idea I always remind myself is I don’t need anything outside of me to be happy.
Not the hedonic happiness – they’re not real happiness anyway – but tranquility, being free from suffering, or “headspace”, a deeper sense of calm.
This idea distances myself from all the ego-driven activities and saves me from mental turbulence.
But if I can sit like a monk and feel content, why would I want to do anything?
The reason has to be for something bigger than myself.
It doesn’t mean I suddenly become an altruistic machine.
What it means is I try to do what interests me and what is good for others.
What interests me?
- Having deep conversations with another human being
- Walking in the woods, hearing the birds sing, watching clouds flow
- Finding new perspectives to challenge my mind
What is good for others?
But lots of things fall into these two categories.
There is a third piece to help me decide: how to be smart in doing them.
I’ll figure this out by doing, failing and learning.
(Thanks Derek Sivers for his post happy, smart, and useful.)