You can't have a pain-free life. It can't all be roses and unicorns.
Happiness is a constant work-in-progress, because solving problems is a constant work-in-progress -- the solutions to today's problems will lay the foundation for tomorrow's problems, and so on. True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving.
A lot of cases, what makes you an interesting and complex person makes you a really horrible person to be with romantically.
Success is self-defined. You can choose what you think success is, and you can always change your mind.
The first and perhaps most important thing to realize about being happier in life is to stop trying to be so happy in life.
One thing that I think most people don't notice is that if you're sitting around telling yourself, 'I want to be happier,' there's a kind of subconscious message that you're also telling yourself at the same time, which is, 'What I have is not enough.'
Obviously, we all want to feel pleasure. It can't be one of our highest priorities because, simply put, anything worthwhile in life is going to be un-pleasurable at times. Pleasure is the type of thing that if you get the other stuff right, pleasure will happen on its own.
For all we know, we are the only shot the universe has at intelligent self-organization. Therefore, we need to take it seriously.
People complain not because something sucks. People complain because they're looking for empathy and to feel connected with those around them. Unfortunately, complaining is maybe the least useful way to connect with other human beings.
I think it's always been normal for humans to compare themselves to each other, but we're so hyper-connected all the time now that it's driving us insane.
Don't hang out with a bunch of people who drag you down when you can hang out with one person who makes you feel good.
Just because you fall in love with someone doesn't necessarily mean they're a good partner for you to be with over the long term.
I think humility -- which I think is a very good value to adopt -- is basically an extension of understanding your own ignorance.
My belief is that we all already care about something important. We all already know what is important and meaningful for ourselves. The problem is just that many of us have lost touch with it.
The fear of failure never goes away. In many ways, you could argue that success multiplies the opportunities for failure. It's just more of an argument for becoming more comfortable with it.
I think people who become compulsive about fitness or eating right, a lot of the time it's out of fear that they're going to lose control or that they're not good enough, so I think anything done out of fear or motivated by fear is often unhealthy.
It's possible to fall in love with somebody who doesn't treat us well, who makes us feel worse about ourselves, who doesn't hold the same respect for us as we do for them, or who has such a dysfunctional life themselves that they threaten to bring us down with them.
This entitlement plays out in one of two ways:
1. I'm awesome and the rest of you all suck, so I deserve special treatment.
2. I suck and the rest of you are all awesome, so I deserve special treatment.
Opposite mindset on the outside, but the same selfish creamy core in the middle.
Because when we give too many fucks, when we choose to give a fuck about everything, then we feel as though we are perpetually entitled to feel comfortable and happy at all times, that's when life fucks us.
We don't always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond. Whether we consciously recognize it or not, we are always responsible for our experiences.
We start caring way too much about that new TV show or how many likes we're getting on Facebook or what our mother will think of our new house plant. These are bad values that turn us into frivolous people.
Hope doesn't care about the problems that have already been solved. Hope cares only about the problems that still need to be solved. Because the better the world gets, the more we have to lose. And the more we have to lose, the less we feel we have to hope for.
I think most people who try to start a business, they realise very quickly that one of the biggest hurdles is having to be self-determined.
People want to offer opportunities to people they care about. They want to help people they believe are good people or have shared life experiences with.
Ultimately, I think, as humans, we all care deeply about our life's legacy, and contemplating our own mortality is the only real way to approach that question of legacy honestly.
Seeking approval and people pleasing forces you to alter your actions and speech to no longer reflect what you actually think or feel.
Long-term, perpetual travel is the dream of many. But surprisingly, for such a popular desire, few people realize how accessible it is.
The problem with idealizing love is that it causes us to develop unrealistic expectations about what love actually is and what it can do for us.
In my life, I have given a fuck about many people and many things. I have also not given a fuck about many people and many things. And like the road not taken, it was the fucks not given that made all the difference.
Romantic love is a trap designed to get two people to overlook each other's faults long enough to get some babymaking done. It generally only lasts for a few years at most.
Everything has an opportunity cost, and the big things we want in life -- like happiness and healthy relationships and wealth -- they all have big opportunity costs.
The truth is, I do some of my best writing at 3 A.M. while blasting 'Every Time I Die' into my ear drums.
Most of us commit to action only if we feel a certain level of motivation. And we feel motivation only when we feel enough emotional inspiration.
At some point, most of us reach a place where we're afraid to fail, where we instinctively avoid failure and stick only to what is placed in front of us or only what we're already good at. This confines us and stifles us.
There's nothing wrong with having goals, but obsessing over them is often counterproductive because, in reality, achieving a goal isn't always what it's cracked up to be.
The motivation to do anything -- like change your entire life around -- doesn't just come from some magical, mystical place within you. Action is both the effect of motivation and the cause of it.
When people lay around whining to their therapists and ex-wives that they're finally going to 'change' themselves, they are promising something imaginary and made up.
We don't know what change is because we don't know what the hell we are. If I wake up tomorrow and do the exact opposite of everything I do today, am I a changed person? Or am I simply the same person who decided to try something different?
Pain is important, and changing who you are is difficult, painful, and scary. Most of the self-help industry sees change as this euphoric, liberating thing and tells you that you can be happy all the time. I think the opposite.
Little things, when we're caught up and fretting about them, often appear to be big and meaningful and world-changing in the moment they are happening.
If I ask you, 'What do you want out of life?' and you say something like, 'I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like,' it's so ubiquitous that it doesn't even mean anything. Everyone wants that.
If someone is better than you at something, it is likely that they have failed at it more times than you have.
If someone is better than you at something, then it's likely because she has failed at it more than you have. If someone is worse than you, it's likely because he hasn't been through all of the painful learning experiences you have.
Nobody else is ever responsible for your situation but you. Many people may be to blame for your unhappiness, but nobody is ever responsible for your unhappiness but you.
For individuals to feel justified in doing horrible things to other people, they must feel an unwavering certainty in their own righteousness, in their own beliefs and deservedness. ...Evil people never believe that they are evil, rather, they believe that everyone else is evil.
Many people come to self-help material because they feel like something is wrong with them or the way they are. The problem is that anything that tells you how to improve your life is also implying that there is something inherently wrong with you the way you are.
Wanting positive experience is a negative experience; accepting negative experience is a
Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you've failed at something.
We all have great aspirations for ourselves, but if you expect yourself to change the world tomorrow, then you're going to just drown yourself in anxiety and constant feelings of inadequacy.
One of the problems of modern society, or the post-Internet age, is that there are so many things bombarding us that we could care about. I think it's more important than ever to really get clear and focus on what's worth caring about and what's just noise or distraction.
Many people get into a relationship as a way to compensate for something they lack or hate within themselves. This is a one-way ticket to a toxic relationship because it makes your love conditional -- you will love your partner as long as they help you feel better about yourself.
The first step in making better choices is to simply be brutally honest about your own behavior to yourself. What are the choices you are making? How are you spending your time? What are you neglecting that you shouldn't?
Our moral philosophy determines our values -- what we care about and what we don't care about -- and our values determine our decisions, actions, and beliefs. Therefore, moral philosophy applies to everything in our lives.
Every new conversation, every new relationship, brings new challenges and opportunities for honest expression.
The reason we fall in love with certain music and writing is we connect with it on a very personal level.
They say, Fuck it, not to everything in life, but rather to everything unimportant in life. They reserve their fucks for what truly matters. Friends. Family. Purpose. Burritos. And an occasional lawsuit or two.
I'm your typical highly educated, progressive white dude. I've lived my life resisting racism both within myself and in the society around me.
When the standard of success becomes merely acting -- when any result is regarded as progress and important, when inspiration is seen as a reward rather than a prerequisite -- we propel ourselves ahead.
Generally, our first idea of what our business is going to be is not the right one. It takes a few iterations; to get there, you have to be able to let go.
Here's a pro-tip: there's no such thing as a 'gym person.' There are just people who go to the gym. Similarly, there's no such thing as a 'productive person.' There are just people who do productive things fairly often.
What's interesting about emotions is that the more you try to control them or to bottle them up, the stronger they get. So, the more I try to stop being sad, the sadder I'm going to get.
In a strange way, I feel like we need to cultivate more boredom in our lives: like, boredom needs to be okay again. It needs to be seen as a good thing, and I think it's definitely a good thing for relationships.
Happiness is not something you achieve. It's not something you do or someplace you get to. Happiness is something you inhabit.
At the core of all human behavior, the good feelings we all want are more or less the same. Therefore, what we get out of life is not determined by the good feelings we desire but by what bad feelings we're willing to sustain.
Self-publishing provides more freedom and control, but it also provides more risk. Publishing provides more credibility and promotion, but your vision can also get lost in the bureaucratic machinery of the business. It's a tough decision to make.
There's a paradox with self-improvement, and it is this: the ultimate goal of all self-improvement is to reach the point where you no longer feel the need to improve yourself.
Life is a big and complex game. It's the largest open world game known to date. We all begin with different starting stats, and we're placed into a wide range of environments that can either give us advantages or disadvantages.
That first morning that I woke up self-employed, terror quickly consumed me. I found myself sitting with my laptop and realized, for the first time, that I was entirely responsible for all of my own decisions, as well as the consequences of those decisions.
If people cheat, it's because something other than the relationship is more important to them. It may be power over others. It may be validation through sex. It may be giving in to their own impulses.
One of the beautiful things about Tyler Durden in 'Fight Club' is that he seems to understand the implicit vanity and self-absorption that comes with the desire to improve oneself.
The American Dream is simple: it's the unwavering belief that anybody -- you, me, your friends, your neighbors, grandma Verna -- can become exceedingly successful, and all it takes is the right amount of work, ingenuity, and determination.
Honesty is a natural human craving. But part of having honesty in our lives is becoming comfortable with saying and hearing the word no. In this way, rejection actually makes our relationships better and our emotional lives healthier.
People get addicted to feeling offended all the time because it gives them a high; being self-righteous and morally superior feels good.
Technology has solved old economic problems by giving us new psychological problems. The internet has not just open-sourced information, it has also open-sourced insecurity, self-doubt, and shame.
Death is important for a couple reasons. The first is that death creates scarcity in our life, which therefore gives our decisions meaning and value. From a practical point of view, it therefore makes sense that we keep our own deaths in mind when deciding how to use our time.
When most people set out to change their lives, they often focus on all the external stuff, like a new job or a new location or new friends or a new romantic prospects and on and on. The reality is that changing your life starts with changing the way you see everything in your life.
No religion is complete without a common enemy upon to project one's inner turmoil. Life is messy but why deal with your problems when you can just blame somebody else for them?
Whether you're from Egypt or Argentina or Singapore or Canada, you have a need to feel important, a need to feel secure, and a need to feel loved. The culture and economics just determine how those needs are expressed.
True love -- that is, deep, abiding love that is impervious to emotional whims or fancy -- is a choice. It's a constant commitment to a person regardless of the present circumstances.
People want to start their own business or become financially independent. But you don't end up a successful entrepreneur unless you find a way to love the risk, the uncertainty, the repeated failures, and working insane hours on something you have no idea whether will be successful or not.
To try to avoid pain is to give too many f*cks about pain. In contrast, if you're able to not give a f*ck about pain, you become unstoppable.
Our crisis is no longer material; it's existential, it's spiritual. We have so much fucking stuff and so many opportunities that we don't even know what to give a fuck about anymore.
Life is essentially an endless series of problems. The solution to one problem is merely the creation of the next one. Don't hope for a life without problems. There's no such thing. Instead, hope for a life full of good problems.
Successful relationships start by giving up control, giving up the need to be loved or wanted or right all the time.
No one actually knows what the hell they're doing. Everyone is just working off their current best guess.
Just because you're offended doesn't mean you're right. Being offended is a choice and should be chosen wisely.
The older you get, the more you realize it's less about what you want, and more about what you're willing to give up.
Life will never conform to all of our desires. Ever. You can either get good at dealing with this fact or good at avoiding it.
You don't build psychological resilience by feeling good all the time. You build psychological resilience by getting better at feeling bad.
The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame.
Bravery is not the absence of fear. Bravery is feeling the fear, the doubt, the insecurity, and deciding that something else is more important.
Stop deluding yourself that you're not ready or that you need something before you start. You have everything you need: a brain, a desire, and a lack of shame. Go get it.
It's a simple fact of life: if you want to do something incredible, something that makes you stand out above the rest, then you have to become comfortable being different -- that means being misunderstood, criticized, even hated.
When we give too many f*cks, when we choose to give a f*ck about everything, then we feel as though we are perpetually entitled to feel comfortable and happy at all times -- that's when life f*cks us.
Plans emerge from trial and error. Skills are developed from experience. Talent happens because we're willing to learn from our mistakes. The common denominator in all of these things is getting off your as* and doing something.