I’m sure you’ll like your coffee a little hotter or your car a little safer, maybe you wish the government did more for you or even still, you could want your life to be better in one way or the other. It’s very easy to see problems, just looking around you right now I’m sure there are many things you can easily identify as problems, but why is that so? Why are we always so quick to see the problems and less ready to see all the things which are going on well? As a matter of fact, this is an involuntary action of ours and it’s the brain which does it automatically, so even if you wanted to, you can’t stop yourself from seeing the problems all around you.
You have to understand that in the greater scheme of things (evolution), it was the species which learned how to survive and adapt to their surroundings which lived the longest, not the strongest or the tallest but rather those who were able to think their way out of problems literally. This translated into us humans as a brain which is constantly seeking for problems to solve. Even when everything is good in your life, your brain is going to seek for additional problems to solve and when it doesn’t find one It’s going to create hypothetical scenarios and try to solve them. That’s when you see people worrying about the future or some circumstances which may never occur, yet they’ve already thought of it all through and have a plan on how to deal with them. Yeah, you don’t have much of a choice actually, your brain is always going to work this way and this is a blessing but also a curse in disguise.
With a brain constantly thinking about problems, this means that everywhere it looks, it only seeks for what is wrong and how it can be made right. You literally can’t stop thinking, even if you tried to. Go ahead and try…..exactly. The only time you are not thinking is when you are asleep, the moment you wake up the brain resumes its job of trying to solve problems.
That’s why the richest and the poorest men on earth are all concerned about the same thing, solving problems. If I handed you a white paper with a black dot on it, the first thing you’ll notice isn’t the white space around, but that single black dot ruining everything. That’s why your life can never really be perfect, no matter how much more money you get or wherever you find yourself, for a while it’s going to be good but eventually your brain will go back automatically to being unhappy and looking for problems to solve. I’m not saying people don’t have legitimately bad lives or aren’t in difficulties, I’m just saying that whether you have all the money or no money at all, your brain can’t help but seek for problems to solve.
Stops us from being happy
This is a curse because it stops us from being genuinely happy for an extended period of time, our happiness is only temporary just the time for the brain to get accustomed to the happiness from a long term accomplishment, thereafter it will start looking for more and more highs on which to get dopamine from. Right now you are happy, you are alive and probably will have a meal in the next 72 hours (or else you may die) but that isn’t enough right!, we all need a little more, maybe a bigger house with a full bank account, so what are the people who have also those thinking about? What are they doing right now that they have all of those? Are they finally happy? Well, I don’t think so, they are probably looking for ways to make more or even just to preserve what they have already. The problem I see here isn’t that we are greedily trying to have more, the problem here is that our brain effectively prevents us from being happy and contented with whatever quantity of money or possessions we have and always makes it feel like they are never enough, that’s why contentment should be a deliberate action, if you don’t do it willfully then you’ll never be contented.
Some athletes wanted to be the best in the world, that was their dream, that’s the greatest thing they wanted in their lives and when they obtained that, what happened? Were they finally happy, did it bring them the full satisfaction they all yearned for? Sure it did, until it didn’t anymore a couple of weeks later, and they decided to do it again and again until they lost.
I’m not really trying to give any solutions here but I’m just pointing out a pattern of thought and behavior.
When people say it’s not “normal”
What is “normal” in the first place if it isn’t a human construct, we define what is and what isn’t normal to begin with and normality is constantly evolving. There was a time in society when religion was forbidden and now we’ve evolved to have it everywhere, there was a time when we all dressed a certain way and styles have changed now, so normality is really defined by a general agreement of the community. Evolution and change are the only things which are normal in our society, the rest is just us trying to cling to old traditions. The brain seeks for happiness in both Constance and change all at the same time, it wants things to change and become better while also dreading this change by seeking things to stay the same, that’s why when you win a million dollars, you never complain that this isn’t normal but when something bad happens that’s when you tend to acknowledge that things aren’t the way they use to be.
Find happiness in the small things
There are many ways to find happiness, and one of the ways I like the most are those people who find happiness in the small things. Sure you can work to make your life better but that accomplishment mustn’t always be the source of your happiness, things like; kids, habits, family, traditions are great sources of happiness. They tap in the consistency area that the brain thrives in, while the brain does want things to change at a certain extent, it also wants to keep as many things the same and by having a consistent source of happiness, you are ensured to always be happy or at least have this strong hold and safe haven that the brain can always go to. That’s how people are able to enjoy simple activities such as hanging out with their kids or even just feeding birds in the parks, while it doesn’t’ t add any value to their lives in a physical way, the consistency does generate a lot of emotional value.
You can find happiness in change, but also in consistency.
Focus on what works
Yeah, I’m sure you can already tell me all the mistakes I made in this article, maybe I didn’t get a fact correctly or maybe the way I said something wasn’t the best, that’s just your brain being a brain 😆. You have to choose to deliberately focus on what is good, the positivity, the value you can get out of things and persons, else you just get over flooded with just what is negative and forget to enjoy yourself. I won’t go as far as to say life is good or even perfect for anybody but I’m sure there are enough things to make you smile even if it’s just for a brief instant. I’ve seen people smile over starving, people smile about bad circumstances or even being broke, that happens when you are able to dissociate your happiness from all the negativity happening in your life. Your problems shouldn’t control your smile, there is always someone worse off than you.