Monday, August 25, 2014

Ninety-nine through one hundred and one (out of thousand) ways to have a happy artist's life

"Be treasured" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.
These three ways to have a happy life are borrowed from a Brain Pickings post which turned up on my FaceBook feed.  I'm pretty sure it was Gretchen Miller's instigation, lol.

So here we go, #99. This one is huge and it's from Dan Dennet (in discussing the secret of happiness).  It should really be #1.  “Find something more important than you... and dedicate your life to it.”  This will make you happy, for sure.  You will end up being more in the world and not stuck in your own head. 

#100 is "Do what you love" from Paul Graham’s 2006 article, How to Do What You LoveHe talks about getting stuck doing things you don't really love for the sake of “prestige”.  He says don’t worry about prestige, it's like a nasty magnet that keeps you attracted to it, and distracted from working on what brings you joy, on things you actually love.  Prestige is especially dangerous for ambitious people. He says if you want to make ambitious people waste their time, the way to do it is to bait the hook with prestige. A hook baited with prestige is the recipe for getting people to give talks, write forewords, serve on committees, be department heads, and so on. If you want time to do what you really love and to be happy, it might be a good rule to avoid any prestigious task. 

And #101, "Find out what you really want" is from philosopher Alain de Botton.  It's related to #100.  We need to know what success really means to us.  Often our ideas about what it would mean to live a successful life are not our own ideas at all. We get these ideas from our peers, and of course from television, advertising, and marketing (which is probably where our peers get their ideas about living a successful life). These ideas of success define what we want and how we view ourselves. Alain argues that we should make sure that our ideas are our own.  Make sure we are the authors of our own ambitions. He says that it’s bad enough at the end of our journeys to realize we didn't get what we wanted, but it’s much worse to find out after spending our whole life on something we thought we wanted, that it isn’t, in fact, even remotely close to what we really wanted at all.

Do find out what you really want in life, what you love, and then do a lot of it!  At the end of the journey you will be satisfied, and pretty much all along the way as well!

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