Issue 6 of Hacking Your Happiness
Welcome to the very last lesson in Hacking Your Happiness.
We've learned a lot about why certain things and even events don't bring us long-term well-being like we expect them to.
Now it's time to discuss a powerful but unorthodox strategy you can use to hack your way around that big problem.
Avoiding that pesky psychological immune system is at the heart of this strategy because we can’t gain sustainable happiness if we keep adapting to our situation or situations to come.
The best way to do this is to leverage the power of random events and activities. However, a strategy for long-term happiness cannot use completely random events properly because uncertainty is mentally uncomfortable.
Knowing nothing about what’s to come is not an option, but knowing too much undermines our well-being.
So the question becomes: What is the least you can know? Can you strike a balance between the chaos of complete doubt and the comfort of relative certainty?
And the answer, as recorded in several Harvard studies on the subject, is life-changing, because it turns out that all we must know is the valence of the event.
That is, is that event good or bad, will it produce positive or negative feelings in us? Will it make you fearful and angry or joyful and content?
That is the minimum amount of information you need to remove all the discomfort associated with uncertainty.
All you need to know in your own mind is “this event will fall within the general realm of things I enjoy” and you will look forward to that event.
This is so incredibly powerful because the simulations that your psychological immune system likes to run will be all over the place but they will only send your thoughts towards positivity.
Write this down somewhere: The journey to happiness must be a vague one; following the GPS of absolute certainty and routine won’t get you there, but following the North Star will.
So what can you do?
Prioritize positivity by blocking off at least one slot of your time each week and use a method to fill that slot with an “event of positive valence.” Make it your goal to only know the valence and nothing more until it’s time.
You can do this by having a friend write down an event for that time slot in an envelope to be opened at the specified time.
It can be a local concert, wine tasting, trivia - the options are endless but they will be tailored to you and give you the peace of mind to know that you will enjoy yourself. Alternatively, your friend can text you each week with a new event or even just the location of the event to let the positive anticipation build even further.
Hacking your happiness in this way will give you the adventure and pleasure of true spontaneity without the discomfort of uncertainty.
Want to get started now? Follow this link and get access to a FREE and SUPER EASY way to hack your happiness.
I hope you enjoyed the course and discovering how and why us humans process life events the way that we do. I’m driven to reach action-oriented people with a message about happiness that you can take and run with and I truly hope that you do.
Feel free to connect with me and share your experiences or just tell me what you think of the course. You can find more of my work at The Best Practice Life and in my book Positive-ly Uncertain. Say hi on Twitter too.