Every single one of us finds ourselves in a place of longing now and then, a place where we wish we had something other than what we are currently experiencing. Our brains trick us into thinking something different would be better – something in the past that we miss, or something in the future we’ve not yet attained. Even though it’s very natural, very human to be in that place, it’s a dangerous place if we remain there.
Everything you take for granted, someone else envies.
What I’ve come to realize is that everything that I take for granted, somebody else envies. It’s true. All I have to do is look at how I envision the “successful” people I see on Facebook or LinkedIn. They’re happy, good-looking, fit, rich – all fabrications of my own mind that are only possible because I don’t know the whole story of their lives. The moment I realized that I realized something else: someone out there is looking at my social media profiles and thinking the same things about me.
Our brains only know how to compare.
The comparisons I automatically make every time I get on social media are nothing new. And I don’t think they are necessarily wrong. They’re just ignorant. They are the idealistic images my own mind makes up simply because that’s what it’s wired to do. My own thinking is setting a goal, creating something it thinks is “better” for me, something to strive for. And my goal-setting brain is not taking into account the things about those people I envy that I’m ignorant of because that’s not its job. Its job is to push me to a higher place.
We are made to focus on the problems, because we are made to overcome them.
So I’m pretty convinced that the discontent we fight is a function of how we are designed as humans. Our brains automatically fixate on the problems, the obstacles, the things we don’t have or haven’t done – because we are wired to be overcomers. Discontent is a symptom of something very good; that we’re capable of so much more than we’ve experienced up to this point. But staying in a place of discontent will drag us down if we don’t do something that the most successful people I know do on a regular basis.
The rare combination of extreme success and great happiness.
The people I call my heroes are people who are both incredibly successful and extremely happy. In their lives, I see a delight in every day rather than a continual discontent because they haven’t arrived yet. How do they do it? They practice gratitude. They know how to be thankful for where they are instead of letting discontent and comparison bog them down in their own emotional swamp. On this episode, I’m reviewing these things out loud to remind myself how much I have to be thankful for and what it takes to truly be happy. I hope my ponderings help you as we walk this journey of life together.
Outline Of This Great Episode
- [0:06] Ryan’s introduction to this episode of Facebook posts.
- [0:43] Why Ryan felt compelled to share his thoughts about happiness, sadness, and more.
- [2:00] The battle against discontent and the wiring to focus on problems.
- [7:58] Why we see the polished version of people and what’s really going on.
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