You’re the top news anchor in Seattle, you’re 6 foot 4 inches tall, you have the all the best Armani suits and a 2015 Lexus, your wife is a supermodel. You’re playing the bigger/better/more game, and to quote, Charlie Sheen, you’re “winning”!
It sounds like a good game. The rules are very simple. Attain a “higher-status” job, get 500 happiness points. “Improve” your looks in some way, get 500 happiness points. Acquire more or “better” material possessions, get 500 happiness points. Attain a “better” (as defined by the game) life partner, get 500 happiness points.
It’s really straightforward. All you need to do are follow the rules of the game. You assess the status of your job, your looks, your quantity and quality of material possessions, the “status” (younger, hotter, richer, etc.) of your life partner. Then you simply make moves to upgrade. Instead of a 2,000-square-foot home, you buy a 3,000-square-foot home. Instead of one fancy watch, you get two. Instead of your current life partner, you trade-in for a younger, hotter, or richer model. You don’t like your hair, you dye it a bit. Anything to upgrade. Upgrading equals happiness. Continual upgrading equals continually expanding happiness.
How do you decide how to upgrade? That’s easy too. Just follow the rules of the game. Do you want to know what watches will bring you more happiness? Simply open up any men’s magazine and they’ll tell you exactly which watches to buy. You don’t have to do any thinking. Do you want to know which jobs are higher status? Just watch television and movies. It’s all right there. All the answers you seek are there. You don’t have to do anything thinking. The game will tell you exactly what clothes are better, which people are better. It’s all spelled out for you. Just look around. The rules of happiness are all around you.
What happens you have two watches and you want more happiness? That’s easy, just get three. What happens when you have a 5,000-square-foot house? That’s easy, get another one.
What if you don’t want to play this game? Finally, someone asking a good question. Lots of people are asking this these days. They’re finding the first game rather unfulfilling. They’re tired. They’re stressed. Technically, they have friends and family, but they don’t really feel close to anyone. Something’s not working.
What’s not working is that you can never win this game. It seems like you win each time you get some new clothes or upgrade to a younger/hotter/richer life partner. It seems like there are endless ways to win. But you actually never really win. Because there’s always a bigger house or a higher status job out there that you don’t have. You get tastes of happiness when you play this game, but they fade away quickly. When you play this game, happiness is always just out of reach. Imagine yourself like a rabbit chasing a carrot that’s held two feet in front of you your whole life. You chase and chase and chase, exhausting yourself, and never quite getting there.
What if there was a better way? What if there was a way to hack the game? By opting out and making up a new game. A custom game. Your own game. There is and it’s even more straightforward. You can win quickly. You can win all the time. You can win big. Sounds awesome, right?
But this new game is not for the faint of heart. It takes a great deal of courage. It’s likely going to require you to do some things you’ve never done before, to do things differently than many people around you, and to be a leader rather than a follower, all of which can be very scary. Here are the rules, if you think you have what it takes:
1. Opt out of the bigger/better/more game.
2. Decide that in your new game you already won the game and that you are always winning.
3. Acknowledge that anyone else that wants to play this game and win can also do so. There can be as many winners as there are people who want to play.
4. Accept yourself fully as you are. This is what we all want most and what satisfies and fulfills us the most. This is happiness.
5. Make friends with and form a life partnership with people who also accept themselves fully. People who accept themselves fully, accept others fully, and accept you fully.
6. From this foundation of acceptance, DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO. Not what the game-makers of the first game say you want to do. Do what you truly want to do. Eat what you want to eat. Live where you want to live. Definitely, and this is very important, do the work that you want to do. Work accounts for the majority of the time and energy you will spend on this earth. Doing anything other than what you really want to do robs you of happiness. Befriend who you want to befriend. All from the place of fully accepting yourself.
In the first game, you chase and chase and chase happiness. Everything you do is designed to bring you or keep you happiness. That job, that life partner, those clothes. And you never win.
In the second game, you win big as soon as you decide to play and you win big as long as you continue playing. You have happiness all the time. And you live from that state. You can do it.
Remember your mantra for today: NOURISHING MOVEMENT, NOURISHING FOOD, NOURISHING LIFE.