Rational Thinking And Happiness

I have been extremely happy lately. I think I have been happier than I have ever been in my life and it's very strange, because nothing much in my life has really changed. If anything, there might be more tension, or reasons to be stressed than ever, except I don't feel those things very much now. It's not that I don't think about them or something like that... I still spend a lot of time analyzing them and talking to others about the best course of action. It often takes up a lot of my day sometimes sorting them out. But what is really crazy to me is that I don't feel these problems emotionally. My happiness somehow isn't tied to them and I have been trying to figure out how this is possible. This definitely wasn't the damn case for me a couple of years ago. I'd get stressed from something in business and my personal life would crumble into a state of tension along with it. A stressful day with a team member or customer almost always resulted in me having a bad mood at home. It's not that I wanted it to be that way, but I couldn't really control it. I just "felt how I felt" I thought. I couldn't fake it. It was just.... life. Sometimes you have good days and sometimes you have bad days. When bad things happen, you feel bad right? That's how you are supposed to feel I thought. Stressed. 

Except that stopped happening.

When I first noticed it, it kind of freaked me out. I was a bit worried I had endured so many stressful things that my emotions shut down or I didn't care anymore. But then I realized I was really happy. I was actually enjoying solving these problems and navigating these complex relationships and business challenges. I thought, how the hell is this really happening? How can I be happy and be in a challenging situation without feeling stress? Then I realized, I have changed my way of thinking and I'm pretty confident that is what has made the difference.

I started thinking rationally.

It sounds weird, but I don't think I have thought of things in a rational way in my entire life. I thought I did, but I really don't think I was anywhere close to being a rational person. I saw every situation as a new situation and I reacted to it in the moment. Everything in my life was unexpected, including my reaction. I just did my best when life threw something at me. But instead of doing that, I started reading Ray Dalio. He talks about breaking things down into recipes or little principles for solving problems and he argues that life's situations repeat themselves. He says that everything you will ever encounter has been dealt with both well and also poorly by people who have lived before you or who are alive today. A lot of the time, it has also already happened to you. For some reason, this really resonated with me and I started writing down my own principles. I also started writing down my criteria for how I make decisions and deal with things. I'd record my problems, then write down how I responded and essentially grade myself based on my result. I was kind of trying to study myself like a science experiment.

What I learned about myself was scary.

I learned that I didn't have any method of dealing with situations. I didn't predict almost anything and most importantly, I didn't decide what the result I wanted was in advance with clarity. Further more, I looked at problems as big ambiguous emotional problems. I had to learn to break the problems up into tiny pieces. I also needed to learn to prioritize which parts of the problem really mattered as I could not deal with them all at once. I learned the importance of listening to others and trying to take my ego out of the situation by at least recognizing the role it was playing and constantly trying to figure out when it was there. I realized that it was there a lot and that most of the time, it was getting in my way and not helping. I had to change and start thinking "how do I want to deal with problems like this one in the future?", and "how will I recognize this problem if it comes up again". I'd also think about questions like "did I find the right answer to this problem for next time?". If I did, I'd write it down. If I didn't, I'd write down why I think it didn't work and analyze what I could change.

Hard things became easy things when I faced reality.

When I faced reality and broke things down into objective truths, it became much easier. I was able to see my own flaws and start to work around them. I was able to separate stressful emotional problems into their components and more importantly, I saw the cause and effect reasons behind why these issues were happening to begin with. I analyzed where my own poor judgement or decision making got me into stressful situations and where I just lacked knowledge, skills or expertise. I also analyzed my motives behind what I was doing and the positions I was willingly putting myself in from a position of noticing my strengths, weaknesses and most common emotional responses. It's been a huge asset both for Airwaves and Event Temple.

This has made me a happy man.

By analyzing myself, I have began scratching the surface of learning my strengths and weaknesses and more importantly what I don't know. Like never before in my life, I am developing systems for handling problems and the world is already becoming more predictable and less emotional. I have already seen the same similar issues repeat and applied the formulas I came up with and it worked seamlessly. I turned my response to some things into a machine based on my pre-defined desired outcomes and my own personal values and principles. The result shocked me and the by-product of doing it is shocking me even more. I feel happy almost every single day now and what used to be stress has morphed into a curiosity to see what my problems really look like when I break them into very tiny pieces. It hasn't gotten easier from a complexity point of view, but it has certainly become much less emotionally draining to the point where I keep waking up and I think "wow, I can't believe I feel so happy". It's been an interesting result and I really hope it continues!