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Trying to make sense of life and to learn living it happily.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Just Do It!

art by *FlexDreams


Becoming happy means changing attitudes that we cultivated our whole lives. You are living your life the way you are used to, reacting to circumstances in the ways you always do, without too much thinking, because by now you've worked out automatic reactions to outside triggers. These reactions make up our personalities. 

Now consider a conscious withdrawal from the usual response, which is a part of your self. It requires mental effort, concentration and mindfulness.

A mental switch is hard to make. You have to adjust your attitude consciously every time, until you get so used to it, it is not at effort any longer.

It is not an easy transition. It is so much easier to react in a habitual way, and we are often tempted to do so. The process of changing does not lend itself to instant gratification. It may take months or even years to get where you want to be (but do not forget that it took you years to get where you are now, to form your personality and attitudes toward life). To become happier, we have to apply significant and unusual efforts, and there will be urges to delay this big change to some more appropriate time. In other words, we might want to procrastinate.  

Most of us at one point or another have probably resolved to change our habits - to eat healthy food, to quit smoking, or to take up exercising, to lose weight. Only not right away, but starting at some future point in our life - next Monday, next month, the beginning of the next year, or after some major event with deluxe buffet.

art by ~MissVictoriaDaily

You may be tempted to delay applying the new knowledge about happiness until later, too. You may reason that you really want to be more content and generally happier, but right now you are going through some stressful times. So you will work on changing your attitude after your family situation gets better, or your job situation gets better, or whatever else may be bothering you at present. The problem with this approach is that there is always another stressful situation happening after the current one, so we end up delaying further. We wait until we have no more problems before allowing ourselves to be happy. 

Ayn Rand sums it up in Atlas Shrugged: "Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplacable spark. In the hopeless swamps of the not quite, the not yet, and the not at all, do not let the hero in your soul perish and leave only frustration for the life you deserved, but never have been able to reach. The world you desire can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours."

Always remember that today you are younger then you are ever going to be (as sung by Regina Spektor).

Do not put off till tomorrow what you can do today!

art by *matthewpoland



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