I was going over some of my favourites on YouTube the other day in preparation for an english essay. I downloaded a few of them and went through them this week. One was the "happiness manifesto" by Julien Blanc basically telling you how to be happy. Now for those of you who think you've heard the name he's a pickup artist that caught the attention of the radical feminists and white knights a year or so ago when they decided to destroy him and they were pretty successful, he got banned from a few major countries, ridiculed, cried on TV and basically got ruined. A few months ago he returned to the internet, neutered and more grounded, as a survival mechanism he basically shut out the world and became a mindless spiritualist which is actually pretty cool.
In his video he asks whether or not we've actually ever been happy for an extended period of time, have we ever just felt pure bliss for an hour or so straight? Even a minute straight? Like me when I first heard this I laughed, of course I've been happy for that long, anyone who isn't has something wrong with them. Second time around I had a good think about it. Perhaps he was right. I'd say last week was probably one of the best weeks I've had in a few months if ever. Now I have some very strange value systems so what I am proud of and like is probably different from what you guys like but anyway last week I: Applied for, interviewed for and got my first job; got my chemistry score increased by 8% ( I was pretty mad that I didn't do as well as I thought I should've done); got full marks in my biology; completed the Scottish mathematical challenge which is an absolute bitch to do; had some of the best interactions of my life and just generally had a great week. I would've said I was happy for a week.
But was I? I remember thinking in some lessons that I couldn't wait for it to be over, lamenting at my classmates being boring. I was anxious about missing rowing sessions, scared about the weekend and social anxiety and getting mad when I didn't get a text back. In the midst of all that happiness, sadness still existed.
He goes into it a lot more in his talk and I think I will too. I had wanted to quit here but that would be lazy storytelling on my part so let's not do that.
We here in the west are obsessed with feeling happiness, the whole self help industry is literally founded off the idea of trying to improve human happiness. Numerous studies, products, and books are developed every year to try and create happiness the problem is we seem to be getting less happy with time, this seems a little weird, what's going wrong?
I don't know the full reason, if I did I wouldn't be writing it on some blog rather I'd be making the big bucks selling it to fat housewives in their beverly hills mansions promising them eternal contentment. What I think is one cause is that we don't know what makes us happy. One thing about being a teenager is trying to be part of the group, we are convinced the things everyone else wants is what will make us happy. Getting with that fit girl at a party, drinking tonnes of alcohol and going out is what is ingrained into our minds when we think about what will make us happy, problem is it really doesn't apply to anyone, frankly I think it's just a lie that's been spread down the generations.
I think one of my better qualities is that I've decided on what I like and I do it, or maybe that's just something I say to seem cool. I like exploring a lot and I missed a lot of parties because I would rather see the sights than get sloshed, I like having a few really good friends instead of cohorts of strangers surrounding me, it's an unpopular opinion and has certainly have eaten a lot of shit for it but whatever I like it.
I'm not really trying to be the next big self help blog but I really think you should try and find out what you like spending your time doing and do that instead of doing whatever has been prescribed to you by society and life.
Published by Kevin Li