I believe that there’s a lot of power in emotions. They affect us in ways that modern science can’t understand.
They can motivate us, give us energy, and encourage good health…or, they can demotivate us, sap our energy, and steal our health.
Learning to master your emotions is not only essential to your success, but to living a good life in general.
When you learn to be “weirdly happy,” you’ll find that nothing can bring you down—it doesn’t matter how hard your life is, how hard it’s been, or how hard it’s going to be. When you use this one simple trick that I’m going to share with you today, you’ll find your happiness to be impregnable.
Coffee and Aristocrats
As I was watching my coffee brew this morning, I had an interesting little thought.
I realized how incredible our world is, that I can pay $25 for a coffee maker, $12 for a bag of coffee, and $10 for a mug, and have fresh coffee every single day, whenever I want.
This may not seem significant, but if you really think hard, it will absolutely blow your mind. Let’s start with the coffee maker—somebody had to make that, in a factory, likely in China. Somebody had to have the capital and the technology and the knowledge required to chemically create plastic, and mold it into a certain shape.
Engineers had to be hired, that could design the coffee maker, and Keurig probably wasted millions of dollars testing prototypes, to get the perfect coffee maker. Somebody had to invent electricity, and create a nation-wide series of power grids, conveniently connected to my home.
Somebody had to organize and lead a group of men to mine the metals, necessary to create wires that could give my house electricity. Somebody had to test the electricity output in my house, so that it’s just right, and won’t cause a power outburst.
And after ALL OF THIS, after literally hundreds of thousands of hours spent on labor, invention, research, and engineering, and after literally tens of MILLIONS of dollars spent to build the infrastructure necessary to allow coffee makers to function, I can get one for $25 fucking dollars.
Really let that sink in. For a few hours worth of minimum wage, somebody can click a few buttons on Amazon, literally in the comfort of their own home, and a frigging coffee maker will be at their door in a few days.
…and don’t even get me started on the coffee itself. Do you have any idea how privileged we are to have access to this? Just 300 years ago, which is NOTHING in the timeline of history, the only people who could afford coffee were aristocrats.
Somebody had to charter a giant wooden ship, sail it all the way to South America, harvest a bunch of coffee beans, and spend 3 months sailing back. Coffee probably cost like $300 a cup back then, and now we can make it in the comfort of our own home for $1 a fucking cup.
Perspective is Key
When you start to really follow this route, and ask yourself: “Where did this come from?” you’ll find that 95% of your anxieties or depression seems absolutely insignificant.
Seriously. Do you have any idea how difficult life was just a few hundred years ago? When the pioneers first founded America, literally a third of them would fucking die from the winters. A FUCKING THIRD OF THEM!
Now? We have a little button in our homes, that we can twist one way or another, to get exactly the right temperature that makes us comfortable. We don’t have to worry about freezing to death in the winter, because our ancestors put in the work to create these comforts.
Somebody had to spend decades researching physics and engineering in order to create a heater. Then, an entrepreneur had to start a business, and risk all of his money to create a production factory for these heaters.
Then, he had to find somebody who was also an entrepreneur, who had created a distribution company. This guy also had to potentially risk all of his money investing in trucks and paying drivers’ salaries, so that he can distribute goods.
Just the fucking heater in your house is the by-product of an unfathomable amount of hard work, money, and knowledge, acquired and spent over the past 200 years or so…and you think you’ve got it tough, because you didn’t get that promotion you wanted?
Give me a break—stop acting like a bitch. We live in the most incredible time today, and you should be THANKFUL that you were born now and not 1,000 years ago when Barbarians were ransacking Rome.
French Kings and Modern Peasants
With all of the complaining nowadays about how the 1% is holding us back, people don’t realize how lucky they are. I can’t remember where, but I stumbled across a statistic at one point which said that the average person now, has more than the average French king 300 years ago.
Think about that for a second. You have more than the average French king 300 years ago. YOU! What the fuck have you done? Are you royalty? Are you nobility? Is your father an oil tycoon who passed down his millions to you?
Or are you just lucky, because you’ve inherited the past 8,000 years of civilization’s inventions and knowledge? Back 300 years ago, if a king wanted to have some fresh salmon for dinner, he would have to live on the coastline.
There was literally no other way—it didn’t matter how much money he had, you can’t make salmon get to you fast enough before it rots, if you live in the middle of a mass of land. Now, though? We can have wild salmon, caught in Alaska, flown in a giant metal contraption, stocked at our local grocery store within 24 hours, and we can buy it for fucking $11.99 a pound.
No king, regardless of how much wealth he had, could afford this type of convenience. We are so incredibly blessed, and we don’t even know it.
You want to start a business 300 years ago? You’d have to work as an apprentice for 10 years, which is basically slave labor, and then HOPEFULLY you could take over the town blacksmith’s business when he passed away.
Now? You can learn how to create and sell eBooks online within a matter of a day or two, and start making $100 a day in passive revenue.
You want to be healthy 300 years ago? Too bad, you can’t afford to eat fresh vegetables, and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to eat some meat twice a month. Now? You can eat whatever the fuck you want, because we have a giant global infrastructure set up to ship fresh food from all over the world right to your local store.
You want to find a great wife 300 years ago? Well, you’d live in a village of like 500 people, so if you suck with women, tough shit, you’ll die alone. Now? We literally have entire buildings that producers and club owners work to fill with tons of single, hot girls and any alcohol you wish to purchase.
Attitude of Gratitude
As cheesy as this sounds, an attitude of gratitude really is the secret to happiness. See, what most people do their whole lives, is they say: “I’ll be happy when I achieve this,” or “I’ll be happy when this happens.”
They spend their entire life, pursuing some illusory goal, thinking that it will make them happy…they waste hours and hours, and spend an enormous amount of energy trying to achieve it, and then whey they do? They’re not happy, and they just set a new goal.
It’s all a lie. A fraud. A scam. Bunk. Bogus. Bullshit. Happiness is to be found in appreciating the present moment, it’s not something that exists in the future.
You will achieve happiness, when you learn to be grateful for what you have. This is why, every single day, I have routines put in place to help me develop an attitude of gratitude. It’s because I realize that no matter how much money you have and no matter how much you accomplish, if you’re not grateful, you won’t be happy.
Don’t get me wrong—setting goals is absolutely crucial to your success. You need to have some sort of goal, or thing to aim at, otherwise you’re just drifting around in the ocean of life, without any sort of direction.
But, while shooting for your goals, and working your butt off to attain them, you must simultaneously train your brain to be happy with what you have. That way, you’ll be happy all of the time, whether you’re broke or poor, healthy or unhealthy, successful or unsuccessful.
Negative vs. Positive Motivation
Now, I know what you may be thinking. “This is all good and well, Jon, but how am I supposed to stay motivated if I’m happy with what I have! Doesn’t the desire for MORE motivate you to go out and get it?”
This is a very good point. Desire, anger, and other negative emotions are very powerful motivators…but, they aren’t great long term. They’re good for short bursts of motivation, but being constantly angry or unhappy isn’t good.
There’s actually three types of motivation, though. The negative emotions are really just a part of the equation, not the whole thing, though:
- Lower self motivation
- Average self motivation
- Higher self motivation
Lower self motivation is all of your petty little desires. “I want to be filthy rich. I want to show my enemies that I’m better than they are. I want to fuck bitches. I want to drive fast cars and feel like a boss.” There’s nothing wrong with these, because they are, in fact, very motivating.
Then, there’s your “average self,” motivation. This would be things like your desire to start a family, to live a lifestyle where you can enjoy freedom, to be able to afford high quality food and products, and to have a job that you enjoy. There’s also nothing wrong with this.
Lastly, however, there’s your higher self motivation—this is, by far, the most powerful type of motivation. It’s derived from a higher principle, something that transcends your individual experience. It may be fighting to save your country, or for democracy. It could be dedicating yourself to a cause, or making the world a better place in some way.
I don’t have time to go in depth here, but this is the difference between negative and positive motivation. Negative motivation (lower self) is great for short bursts, but for lasting, long term motivation, you need to tap into your higher self.
If you look at any great athlete, who’s truly relentless, you’ll find that they’re all motivated, because of their love of the sport. Rarely are they obsessed with money or girls, although these things are a nice added bonus to success.
Legendary athletes don’t care about the fame or the fortune…they care about the sport. Their motivation comes from their undying respect for the sport, and their admiration for the game itself. This is also the same phenomena that you see with successful businesses.
Steve Jobs didn’t start Apple to “get fucking rich,” or to “get a hot wife,” although obviously these are nice byproducts of having a business. He started it, because of his passion for technology and his fascination with tools. This is why I tell men they must find their passion.
How to Be Grateful
So now that I’ve shown that you CAN in fact be motivated, even if you’re happy, let’s go over some of the things that I do in order to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
The first and most important thing that I do is write down 3 things that I’m grateful for, every single day. It’s a part of my morning routine.
It doesn’t really matter what it is that I’m grateful for, though. What matters is that I just take the time to focus on something that I’m grateful for. Doing this first thing in the morning will slowly re-wire your brain to be grateful, rather than negative or cynical.
It’s also very important that you write these things down. There’s a strong neural connection between the human hand and the human brain, so whenever you can do something with your hands, it affects your brain more quickly.
I’ve been using this 5 Minute Journal for the past few months, and I have to say, I’ve been pretty impressed with the results. It’s super easy to use, and highly convenient. As the name implies, you can change your life in just 5 minutes a day.
Affirmations also help a whole lot. I have a list of affirmations that I say, every single morning when I wake up, and every single night before I go to bed.
Repeating affirmations like “I am incredibly happy,” or “My life is getting better and better,” will not only make you happy, but will also motivate you. When you feel happy, your reticular activation system (RAS) focuses on the good in life, and what you CAN do, rather than what you CAN’T do.
If you’re struggling with happiness or motivation, I urge you to try these techniques out. For the affirmations, you can have however many you want, but I aim to have at least 2-3 for each area of my life (health, wealth, love, and happiness).
When you really think about it, we have a lot to be thankful for. We have access to clean water, fresh food, shelter, and literally any information we want…right at our finger tips.
Contrast this to the average life that somebody lived just a few hundred years ago, or even worse, a few THOUSAND years ago, and you’ll realize just how trivial your little problems are.
When you approach life with an attitude of gratitude, you’ll find that everything magically seems to come together. I can’t explain it, but if you try it for a few months, you will see.
Things become easier, as you aren’t having your energy drained by negative thoughts and emotions. You become more motivated, as you learn to focus on what you have, rather than what you don’t. Everything just becomes better.
If you guys have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to let me know…and, as always, I’ll see you next time!
Thanks for writing this article it has inspired me to be more grateful about my life.
Now I will walk through life happy and not caring about small bad things that happen to me. Thanks
Really love this post. Made me sit back and think for a moment. Thank you for this I’m bookmarking it now and will look back on it when life gets tough!