Everyone wants to be happy, but few people actually know what will bring us joy. As humans, we constantly distort our memories and expectations of happiness and constantly push towards something more. Mark Manson’s “A Brief Guide on How to Be Happy,” is a well-written article that probes the specific mechanisms that prevent us from being as happy as we can be. One of the main problems people have with directing a happy future for themselves is that we are horrible at recording our happiness. Manson cites studies performed during elections showing that humans in general remember their past emotions as more extreme than reality and predict their future emotions to be more extreme than they really will be. In doing so, we emphasize the most memorable moments of our past, forgetting what we really went through, and what we really felt.
Fortunately, Manson provides a few easy changes that everyone can make to be happier. Manson’s main advice is to stop seeking external validation. People who seek status and wealth as their keys to happiness are almost always chasing a pipe dream, seeking societal expectations rather than their true desires. Therefore, truly happy people are always those who have followed their own paths rather than own marked out by external rewards. Manson also advises the reader to take responsibility for their life. Many people see temporary failures as insurmountable obstacles or as inevitable acts of the world, while in reality we control our responses to every situation. As Manson states, we should be asking how we can improve rather than why we have our lot in life.
Manson’s article is a great complement to IMT, because it provides a practical guide for how the no-influence model can be applied to our personal lives. While he never directly states it, Manson comes very close to telling his readers to align their internal desires and external realities, taking control of our own lives. By accepting that nobody has influence over them, a person can take full control over their life.
A Brief Guide on how to Be Happy – Mark Manson – June 26, 2013 – Retrieved from http://markmanson.net/happiness