It’s 9:30am on Sunday morning, about 12 hours before I normally write my daily email. I like to write these emails at the end of the day because it gives me a bunch of time to discover something worth writing about. These emails are part personal journal, part advice and part senseless ramblings – they have a lot of parts obviously.
In my daily wanderings around Facebook and the internet, I occasionally run across stuff that makes me shake my head and wonder about the pathetic nature of some human beings. It makes for great fodder for writing this stuff.
So today, I found my muse early.
The Happiness Planner.
What a completely feckless concept. If you have to “plan” your existence methodically around trying to trick yourself into being happy, you’re broken. If you need to remind yourself to, “turn that frown upside down” then you’re only pretending to be happy. If you need to look at inspirational quotes to con yourself into facing the day with an upbeat mood, then there’s something more fundamentally askew with your life that you should dig deeper into.
I have a news bulletin for you, life’s not all sunshine and running barefoot through fields of uncut clover. Sometimes you need to be a little glum to motivate you to move towards something better. Occasionally you need to feel a little frustrated to make you realize there are things you need to fix.
These kind of “tools” like the Happiness Planner are the modern-day version of the 60’s explosion in the prescription of Valium to seemingly normal men and women who were brain styling and needed a bit of “pick me up”. The Rolling Stones wrote a whole song about it, “Mother’s Little Helper”.
Rather than coping, people doped themselves up on tranquillizers to “take the edge off”.
I find this ridiculous, seemingly endless wave of BS fake happiness stuff nothing more than the internet’s version of mass opiates. People posting “inspirational” quotes on a background of some kind of stupid stock photo or sitting down writing in a journal about the things you’re grateful for every day – this is just people sedating themselves by attempting to artificially elevate their dopamine levels.
Think happy thoughts… Think happy thoughts… Think happy thoughts…
Now, as a rule, I don’t care if people want to hypnotize themselves into a state of delusional levels of faux happiness. Good for them, run your own race. However, I’m seeing more and more business owners, particularly online who are buying into this foppery and coxcomb behaviour.
The problem it creates is that when something goes wrong, and it almost always will, rather than knuckling down and fixing the problem, they melt. They go to pieces and double down on the crazy of “positivity”. Eventually, they just convince themselves that the pile of crap they are standing in is fertilizer for their future greatness because they are a unique flower goddamnit and they are going to grow!
And if you aren’t on the happiness train with them, oh my… You’re negativity incarnate and you need to be exorcised like a demon. I use that analogy intentionally because these people start to become almost religious in their fervour praying at the altar of happiness – you’re either pumping their tires or you’re dragging them down.
I’m not saying the Happiness Planner is the problem. To be fair, I’ve never held one in my hand and I’ve only had a cursory look around the website. It’s just part of the “Happiness Movement” that’s sprung up in the last few years that cynically make their living off convincing people that even the slightest bit of unhappiness or melancholy needs to be immediately purged because it’s holding you back.
The “Happiness Movement” write books, create journals, do podcasts and make more meme pictures than you can shake a stick at all with the underlying sentiment that you’re not happy enough and you need them to help make you happier!
I’m not telling you to be a miserable bastard all the time, but I see people now who genuinely get anxious when they aren’t at “maximum happiness”. They scramble around like an idiot who’s lost their car keys at the grocery store wildly searching for their happiness. They end up being “happy” to the point of dysfunction.
Moderation is key.
If you’re feeling a bit off, figure out what’s causing it and see what you can do to solve the problem – please note I said “solve the problem”, I didn’t say write a list of the things you’re grateful for today, that solves nothing except spike your dopamine and distract you from what’s wrong.
I think everyone genuinely deserves to be happy, but only if they put the work in and do the right thing to earn it. If you’re just sitting around tricking yourself into believing you’re happy then you’re not fooling anyone but yourself.
Have a nice day.