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1,986 words on happiness, clarity, speed, introversion, attachment and confidence

Johnny boy

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May 9, 2017
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All that matters in life is that we are happy with it. After all, who did we build big businesses, amass fortunes, and live so extravagantly for in the first place? If it was for others, our own happiness was never pursued. If we happen to be content, it is only out of circumstance and not out of intent. Instead, our joy is what we must chase.

Primarily, we must know ourselves, and at a depth that no one can attempt to rival from the outside looking in. As an added side effect of knowing ourselves so intimately, we can easily ignore the opinions of others, which is necessary in being truly creative and living freely.

In knowing ourselves, we can understand what makes us happy. To start to understand ourselves, we must have experience. We must taste different things in life to see what is favorable and unfavorable. With an open mind, it becomes easy to learn about yourself rather quickly. Speed is important, because time is the only thing that we cannot get more of.

What makes us happy, as well as knowing a whole mess of other things about ourselves, will allow us to pursue it with clarity. Clarity is what most people lack. Most people are living in the middle; neither 100 or 0. In the middle, without clarity, is where most people rot away until their time is finished and there is nothing to show for their existence on this earth. They dip their toes in a little bit of everything except for excellence, and then it’s time to die.

People ask me for advice for growing their business, and I wonder if the answer they are looking for is the answer I should give. I know how you should grow your business, but do you know yourself? Do you have clarity? Have you tasted enough life to know what you like? Are you chasing happiness, or an extra $20,000 a year so you can afford a nicer boat than your neighbor? I can’t help but think even the best and most detailed advice is quite pointless because it is likely falling on the ears of someone who isn’t ready, or is chasing the wrong things, or has no idea about who they are deep down. It isn’t my place to assume, so I give the advice anyways, even if I think the most realistic best-case scenario is you turning out to become a wealthy businessman who realizes he still missed out on really living.

Usually, when questioned about taking one path vs another, I tend to prefer a path that takes less time, expecting to take many other paths eventually for the sake of speed and experience. I think that life is long enough to make mistakes over and over again if we only prioritize the principles of making quick decisions, taking risks, adjusting constantly, and avoiding things that hinder freedom such as major debt commitments, going to jail, and marriage/children. I recommend moving from that boring city, quitting that boring job, starting that business, asking out that girl, and taking one leap of faith after another, all well before you think you’re ready. It probably will not work out, and that is just fine. I see success as the internal choice of how you made your decision, not if the decision turned out “good” or not. (Did you trust your gut? Did you make your decision based on fear or passion? Etc…)

We can only know looking backwards, and we must go forwards before we get the luxury of hindsight. I am not more intelligent than others, I just say “yes” a whole lot more, and become blessed with hindsight and clarity at a faster rate than others. I move faster because I am just not afraid of the consequences. All because there are none. First of all, no one is thinking about me in the first place. Everyone is too focused on themselves to care. Second of all, you’re gonna die, just like me and everyone else who ever lived. Everything will become dust and I don’t have the slightest worry of any of my mistakes lasting all that long. This gives me the stomach to do things that would keep other people up at night paralyzed in fear while I don’t have a moment of hesitation. It allows me to be in a peaceful and zen-like state. This is the only way of managing chaos, the chaos that comes with taking risks and growing businesses. I’ve found that other people worry more about me than I do about myself.

I have a highly sensitive distaste for anything that takes away my freedom to choose and therefore taste new things and learn more about myself. You could not pay me any reasonable amount of money to get married, join the military, give up x number of years from my life, stay in a job for too long, buy a home that requires me to stay in it and make payments for years, etc. But I would very quickly decide to enjoy a relationship, risk my life fighting abroad, take other possibly life-ending risks, try out even the most unenjoyable jobs, pay a high amount for rent, etc. The difference is that the first set of options reduces my ability to choose and learn about myself after a period of time, and the second set of options allows for me to try new things, learn and move on. And to me, that is the biggest priority.

Another way I like to gain clarity is to be alone. The next moment you spend time with someone, you will notice that it is difficult to have deep and introspective thoughts. It is similar to how a powerpoint presentation is either in “edit” mode, or in “present” mode. Around others, your brain is preoccupied with the focus of how you are presenting yourself in that moment, and it is more difficult to think with any real depth. To edit the website or the presentation, we must take it “down”. We must do the same for ourselves and spend enough time alone for our brain to use all of its power and focus on finding clarity in our lives. But without enough stimulus, our brain can lose its edge. We need to be alone, but we also need stimulus that comes from the world.

Another way our thoughts become shallow is from having too many things stealing our attention, as well as holding us hostage through attachment and ego. Not “social media” and our phones, but real things in our life such as hobbies, possessions, commitments, etc. It is said that the things we own end up owning us. That is true. All things require maintenance, as the universe loses order through the law of entropy. This means we have to take care of these things and we assume responsibility to keep them from deteriorating. The things we collect, as well as the people, hobbies and commitments we collect and associate as part of “who we are”, all end up becoming attachments that steal away space in our brain in order to maintain. I pay a little more for rent to live on a lake, but I live in a small place. I do not own many things. I go out with people to have fun but have very little attachment to anyone or anything. I am not my things. I am not my friends. I feel free enough to pick up and move anywhere. I feel free enough to throw away every single thing I have ever owned, leave every single person I have ever met, and give up every single thing I have ever done if I feel it is necessary for something greater. A human being needs food, water and shelter. How many things have you assumed as a “need”? This doesn’t mean we should live in poverty, but it means we should live without attachment so we can live simply when necessary. I am willing to be homeless if it came to it. I can promise you I would still be whistling and smiling every day. My happiness comes from my clarity. I would still tell you to your face without a doubt in my mind that I was meant for great things. And you can never take my clarity away from me. My happiness is inside of myself. I own it, more than I could ever possibly own anything else. It is not in another person and not in any physical thing. These are only leased for a period of time. Our things can be stolen. Another person can leave us at any time. We can enjoy these things, but my happiness is my own. It is in my own head.

When we can think at this depth, and understand ourselves clearly, we give less and less weight to the opinions of others, as I mentioned in my second paragraph. This is essential. I know you do not understand yourself. You have not considered things the way that I have. Your understanding is a circle, and my understanding is a circle that encompasses it. I know where you are coming from. I used to think that way myself, so I know the reasons you say the things you do. I’ve already heard them before. I know you stay up at night wondering if you matter.

This will cause you to see people for what they really are, just kids pretending to be grown-ups. Everyone is pretending. People are scared, anxious, dressing up and acting out roles and playing their best “adult” in a world that makes no sense to them. The words that come out of their mouth came from somewhere else, and the lives they are living are all a mixture of the lives of the people around them and the things from the world that they consume from others. These are the 99%. They echo some of the worst advice you could possibly imagine. I cannot stress enough the importance of having the audacity to ignore it.

Like in the second paragraph I wrote, to know ourselves deeply is necessary to be truly creative and live freely. To create anything is audacious. To say “This thing I am creating is something no one else has done in the thousands of years of human existence. It is something that is missing from this world and I am the one who should create it. And even though other people say negative things, it is still worth creating”. This is insane. Any self-belief whatsoever is completely audacious and arrogant, but it is the only way anything worthwhile is ever created. And the negative things and standard advice we hear aren’t told to us only rarely, but by 99% of the people in our society. It is enough to make even relatively confident individuals question themselves. This is why it is imperative to be confident beyond reason; to see 100 reasons to have doubts, 0 reasons to have faith, and still be bold enough to try with 100% conviction. Not just to check a box and say “I took a chance”, but to do so with everything we have. This is why only the insane people in our society can ever create something unique. This is why people who go against society by believing in themselves are people I admire more than anyone else. This is why I am proud of myself. This is what so much of my happiness comes from as well: knowing that I am insane enough to believe in myself when no one else does, and having seen results come to fruition out of that seed of self-belief that grew from the symbolic concrete of a world that says I am wrong. That is why I am proud of myself when I look in the mirror.
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Apr 5, 2019
Excellent post. I have a similar thought process when it comes to freedom. I really hate being tied down. I tried staying in a job for more than a year and hated it. Currently in a job but I aim to get out of it asap.

My main problem is clarity and following a path once I set down on it. I constantly have business ideas and end up wanting to do something else each month. But I know without consistency I'll get no where. It's like by not wanting to waste my time with something that might give out lower gains than another potential business I end up wasting my time by constantly switching ideas.

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