How To Be Happy

A long, arduous road—but effective nonetheless.

I've spent the past decade scratching and clawing for anything that would take away the pain of feeling worthless. For as long as I can remember, trepidation and fear filled my heart without remorse. Here, I’ll explain how the engulfing darkness was finally met with light.

1. Become Apathetic About Who You Want To Be In Life

Take up residence in a dark cave of resignation after your parents’ divorce. Alienate yourself from family and friends, never allowing your feelings to see the light of day. Find solace in anger. Project it outwardly to form an identity that was otherwise non-existent. Begin lifting weights to build muscle and stay consistent with the subsequent bad-ass persona you created. Get addicted to the superficial results and attention you never received before, over-identifying to cover up your deepest-seated insecurities. Become a slave to your ego. Step over everything anyone else does for you out of unconditional love and set sail on a path of despicable selfishness on which every other relationship thereafter is predicated. Attend the only college you applied to. Drop out two years later.

2. Further The Identification That Masks Everything You’re Hiding

Start working full-time as a personal trainer so you can attach to the stereotype. Excel at it immediately. Receive praise from managers and peers in regards to your skills and abilities. Let it go to your head. Mistake arrogance for confidence and wield it like an iron sword. Deepen your insecurities until they transform into something far darker — something you know you can’t handle but don’t possess enough self-respect to interrupt. Decide this is what you’re going to do with your life, working seven days a week to avoid spending time alone. Embellish in your masculinity with steroid usage and misogynistic behavior, unhinging your inauthentic self to the point of no return.

3. Make A Series Of Blind Financial Decisions

Accept a promotion. Earn more money than you know what to do with and spend without restraint. Practice short-sighted and absent-minded financial management and ask your parents to bail you out on more occasions than you can count. Lie about why you need the money until you’ve talked yourself into your own disillusioned rationale. Get offended when the reaction is anything less than enabling. Further their negative distinction of you and find other means to acquire advances, each attempt more starry-eyed than the former. Watch your monthly expenses billow like an ocean swell, berating your employees to meet quota and surmount your poor choices. Lose their respect and resent them for walking out.

4. Continue Filling Voids

Posture yourself as the portrait of inscrutable countenance — ignorant to the fact everyone knows you’re full of shit. Build layer upon layer of inauthentic values and behaviors to fit the bill society created for you. Become obsessed with maintaining consistency with how you define yourself, even if it’s subject to your own spiritual harm. Seek daily praise and recognition by whatever means necessary. Piece yourself together with words of affirmation and balloon them until you’ve forgotten how depressed you are inside. Continue to run on this treadmill for years, wreaking havoc on anyone that dare grow close to you. Suppress your attraction to men and over-extend yourself with women, stifling the former and objectifying the latter.

5. Travel The Country Attempting To Get Away From Yourself

Get fed up with the cyclical nature that is the effect you have on others. Blame everyone but yourself as to why you always end up alone. Take whatever opportunity to leave your current city that comes your way, no matter how impractical or quixotic it may seem. Move more times than you have close friends. Quietly lose your grip on reality. Get further depressed. Revel in your loneliness and self-pity. Ambiguously cry for help, seeking solutions while avoiding the source.

6. Take One Last Stab At Conventional Success And Fail Miserably

Agree to move across the country once more for an opportunity you aren’t far enough along in your awareness to truly appreciate or capitalize on. Promote to everyone on social media how well you’re doing and lead them to believe you have an effective plan in place. Wallow in your unmet expectations, produce unremarkable results, and diminish in mental toughness until you have no choice but to relinquish your position. Ignore the glaring common denominator that is your unrealized sense of self and blame a combination of circumstances and timing for your demise. Convince yourself you need a change of scenery and get a place on the beach you can’t afford as a last-ditch effort to try to save you from killing yourself. Rack up unflattering amounts of debt on top of the preexisting mountain you haul around from previous abdications of self-discipline — all for the sake of preserving status and symbol.

7. Push Yourself To The Apex Of Diminishing Returns

Continue to leverage lying as a primary means of communication, disregarding the gut-wrench impact it has on your heart and soul. Explore your sexuality with over-arching forbearance and imprisoned self-expression. Get nowhere. Hate yourself for even trying. Fall back on your debilitating self-talk to distract you from the desire to cut short the monotonous dance of life. Realize you’re far too grand a coward to ever follow through on such a formidable task. Sit still in silence for the first time. Decide to give it one last go. Bury yourself in positive, psyche-nourishing content, not leaving your mind unattended for even a second. Develop some new rituals. Get up earlier. Spend time in nature. Count your blessings. Learn about self-awareness. Apply it in your work. See marginal results that inspire shreds of hope. Sign up for a seminar that forces you to confront what you need to confront, getting present to the wiring that makes the machine go. Own your shit.

8. Let Go Of Your Need To Have It All Go Exactly As Planned

Clean up with the people that were impacted by your cognitive dissonance. Acknowledge how much they really mean to you, no matter how uncomfortable you feel doing so. Detach from the outcome. Stay committed to what’s important and what’s true. See things as they are, not worse than they are. See things better than they are. Decide to be happy and create a structure that leaves nothing to chance. Start being kinder to yourself. Show love and compassion for the little boy inside who’s been hurt by reality. Tell him it’s going to be okay and to never give up. Do the same thing with others, pushing yourself to new levels of patience and acceptance. Start giving people credit for simple stuff. Let them know you notice them and they matter. Tell yourself the same thing. View your breakdowns as growth opportunities and potential victories over the past. Relish in your weirdness and let your freak flag fly. Showcase your speedos on the beach and your thongs in the locker room (even if some people aren’t thrilled about it). Be unapologetically you. Stop giving a fuck about trivial shit. Give up the defensive posturing and avoidance of vulnerability. Spread love. Love hard. Cry often. Laugh more. Capture the beauty in every moment. Keep it forever. Put things in perspective that allow you to become grounded in reality. Use your newfound sense of calm and peace to make a difference for people. Choose joy over all else. Never forget where you came from. Never forget who you are.

At the end of the day, your desire to be happy must be greater than your need to be perfect.

It won’t always be pretty. It won’t always be kind. But it’s yours. Shape it however you like. Try on different lenses until you see it clearly. Leverage others for guidance and support along the way. Share without restraint. Do the things that scare you. Find a way to be incrementally better than who you know yourself to be.

  • Learn & Grow
  • Collaborate
  • Enjoy The Process
  • Play & Discover
  • Be Your Best — the world desperately needs you