The Truth About “Happiness”…

Ironically, you might actually find when you give, you receive exactly what you need back to be sufficiently and fully happy.

Happiness is not attained from “getting” things, possessing things, or owning things.

Happiness is a light, expansive energy of contribution and engagement with the world.

You might think life needs to be heavy, difficult, a struggle, or painful to achieve your dreams.

You might think you need “discipline” to force yourself to do something unfulfilling just to make money or please others expectations.

This is a lie, and it’s dangerous to believe in.

If you want to be happy, ask yourself: “What can I GIVE others?”

Ironically, you might actually find when you give, you receive exactly what you need back to be sufficiently and fully happy.

However you are best able to serve the universe is exactly what will make you happy.

Share your gifts and talents and the world will be a better place.

Being open-minded is a double-edged sword

Being open-minded is a gift. You have a thirst for knowledge and experience. You’re never satisfied with settling on the ideologies society gives you. Constantly searching, you flow like water–assuming no definite shape or form.

Highly creative people are very open. Crafting art, writing a brilliant story, or dazzling a crowd with a speech–these people are true Artists.

Unfortunately, open-minded individuals lack a concrete identity. They’re sort of Pan like–adopting every idea in a wild, unrestrained manner.

Think about it–if you’re always open to some other possibility, how can people make sense of you? You’re constantly changing and evolving uncontrollably.

This can make it difficult to hold a traditional job, relationship, or identity. It can even make it hard to be in touch with yourself.

All hope is not lost, however. If you struggle with a fluid identity by being super open…

Here’s the antidote:

Create and share ART.

Humans live to experience art. This gives you one form you can rely on. People might not fully grasp everything about you, but they can appreciate what you produce–your art.

Art isn’t just tangible things. YOU are Art. 

The world needs YOU to share YOU for the sake of the globe to continue spinning. 

Peace!

-Seth

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“Take Your Pills” Commentary. What’s Adderall REALLY like?

I just finished watching the new Netflix documentary “Take Your Pills” which discusses the rise of Adderall and amphetamines and ADHD. What’s so great about these little blue monsters?

Adderall is a powerful drug. Only one methyl group from Methamphetamine, it can cause a myriad of health problems and psychological issues. As someone who has struggled with attention problems, I will discuss my experience with Adderall in hopes that it takes away any glorification of Adderall this documentary claimed.

Adderall floods your brain with dopamine and norepinephrine. Basically, it lights up the “feel good” neurotransmitters that allow someone to focus on tasks for longer periods of time.

People with ADD and ADHD have fragmented attention spans. They are easily swayed by environmental distractions, absorbing too much stimuli. Their brain is overloaded with too much at once, resulting in the inability to get anything significant done–because their attention centers are “burned out”.

Basically, it’s a symptom of dysfunctional or low dopamine levels. The more a person switches from one source of novelty to another, the weaker attention span they have. If you have a weak attention span and can’t get much done because of it, you almost certainly have low dopamine levels.

This is a significant and rising problem: With low dopamine, you feel unfulfilled. You aren’t confident to stick with things. You give in to distraction, and give up too easily. You become susceptible to making poor decisions, seeking drugs, and becoming depressed. 

The real solution to raising dopamine is to focus on tasks for longer periods of time and eliminate distractions. A good example would be reading a book, running, or walking in a forest. These activities restore healthy neurotransmitter levels.

But why bother when you have pills, right!? That’s the mentality society has come to now. We want instant access to everything, and Adderall is no exception. Spending time diligently, and disciplining yourself is too much work. Eating wholesome foods is a hassle. Good parenting is too much work. Pills are more efficient apparently.

Negative Effects

I don’t take Adderall much anymore because I couldn’t relax on it. Here are some of the side effects I experienced:

  • Emotional blunting (when taken every day): I felt robotic, and unable to feel naturally happy.
  • Anger: People would irritate me for no reason. People were like obstacles I wanted to get out of my way. (When I’d go grocery shopping on Adderall, every person in the aisle seemed like roadblocks).
  • Stress: Inability to relax until 2am. Nonstop “let’s solve problems” thoughts. Racing mind and heart rate.
  • Lower dopamine levels when not on it

Positive Effects

  • Significantly increased conscientiousness: I followed through on every commitment I had. I cleaned my house. I connected with coworkers and friends more openly. I finished projects I kept delaying.
  • I felt more motivated to do mundane things, like dishes and cleaning.
  • Around 50-80% decrease in social anxiety.
  • Increased peripheral awareness.

Anyhow, I’ll be honest: Adderall really helped me in the short term rut of my life. As an adult with attention problems, I finally felt like I could accomplish more. However, the side effects are just too intense for me to bother taking it often. It might seem alluring, but trust me, it’s not.

I recommend having 2 or 3 strong cups of coffee before ever considering Adderall. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. Seeing that 11% of kids are being diagnosed with ADD and ADHD (and most likely taking amphetamines) is really, really scary.

Stay sober guys.

What do you think about ADHD and amphetamine use? Leave your comments below!

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Do We Have Free Will? The Answer is Complicated…

Yes and no.

We have free will in the day-to-day activities we engage in. I can pick the color of shirt I want to wear, which restaurant I want to dine at, and whether I want to date Susie, Sally, Sarah, or Sylvia. All at my own autonomous discretion.

However, do we always know what we want? And can we really change whatever we want about our lives?

The problem people run into is when we can’t make decisions for ourselves due to some kind of limiting obstacle. The obstacle could be in the external world, but more likely it’s within our own psyche. These are often called success barriers

Human beings are addicted to emotions. We essentially become slaves to our identities, constantly reinforcing beliefs about ourselves unconsciously. This “echo-chamber” of the mind can be extremely helpful, or extremely damaging, depending on what’s being reinforced.

For instance, if you have low self-esteem, it feels almost impossible to accomplish goals a person with high-self esteem would. Why? It’s because this person’s ego is addicted to believing a story about themselves that says “I’m not good enough to earn this because I’m [insert rationalization]…”

This neurotic, obsessive habit, when left unchecked, can plague someone’s life for years. Do the still have the free will to change it? Yes. However, it’s like digging yourself deeper in a hole. You don’t need more shovels, you need a fucking rope. But the person who has this problem (unconsciously) wants to keep digging deeper. So, in a sense, they really don’t have complete free will. They’d ignore the rope if they saw one.

There is a way to reclaim more of your free will, but it requires a combination of acceptance and applied knowledge. There is a quote that says…

“Without awareness, there is no choice.”

I don’t know where I heard this quote, but it’s ridiculously true when it comes to free will. We have to detach from what we know, and listen to what we don’t know. This is why meditation is becoming increasingly popular in Western culture. Being less reactive is a valuable skill in today’s distracted, reactive society.

Why? Because we’re stupider than we think. If we were super intelligent, we’d accomplish our goals in an extremely straightforward manner. But most people spend a lifetime trying to figure out how to play “life”. They’re too caught up dabbling around in the sidelines, reading a tutorial book on how to play hockey when they’re actually at a football game. It just doesn’t work.

Granted, there ARE people who seem to float effortlessly through life, with seemingly infinite free will, actualizing whatever goals they conjure. These people, however, are small minority, because most humans have very real problems.

“You don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are.”

This basically explains the Law of Attraction. Like attracts like. You can only hold what your cup can handle.

This may seem a little harsh, but it’s true. If you really want to change things, but just can’t seem to do so, have an honest assessment with yourself about what might be blocking your success. Is it your own thoughts?

You always have the free will to make changes in a positive direction. Just start now, ground yourself with as many positive influences as you can. The more pillars you have at the base of your building, the less likely the structure will collapse.

Stack the odds in your own favor.

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How to Get Out of Your Own Way: A Practical Guide

In today’s distraction fueled rat race, it’s so easy to get caught up with the wrong things. So much so, that we lose years of our lives to a zombified state of despair. A state where we can show up to the office and come home, but not really feel like we’re in the right place.

I’m writing this guide in hopes that it will help someone 1) get out of this state quickly & 2) Do what they’re meant to be doing all along and enjoy it. It’s only three steps, like the Lynyrd Skynyrd song.

Without further ado, here is my step by step prescription to cure this increasingly common disease:

  1. Cut out the technology by at least 80%. Wisdom comes from slowing down and listening, not speeding up. I say this a lot, but I’d argue the way we use technology is the MAIN CAUSE of being stuck in a state of “I’m unhappy and I don’t know what to do!”. Why? Because it slices up your attention span every time you click on a link, look at photos, watch videos, etc. This is dopamine seeking behavior. Your body WANTS a purpose, it wants rewards. But instead of putting in hard work to find reward, you’re chasing it through the superficial realm via technology. This isn’t good, and I’d argue it’s the number one cause of feeling “stuck” and hopeless. It weakens your ability to focus. Cut this shit out ASAP. You don’t need it. Imagine it’s 1968. Literally go back in time and simplify your life. It will give you a massive edge over most people.
  2. Actually put in the work and mean it. Once again, it’s not rocket science but so many people have lost touch with this concept: Hard work is rewarding, regardless of what you work on. It is absolutely impossible to feel pleasure without discipline. Work, dammit! It’s actually very, very fulfilling.  If you’re still not convinced, remember a time when you worked really hard on something and it was a success. Remember how amazingly good you felt after it was done? Imagine if you worked that hard every day, how much more respect you would have for yourself and your craft. Imagine how different your life would look if you instilled this work habit. (“What should I work on?” – Anything! Only you know…and don’t bullshit…what that is. I can’t answer it, but I guarantee you know, deep down inside.)
  3. Stay healthy and guard your health with your life! Self explanatory, but true. Eat your vegetables and get outside as frequently as possible. You want to be attuned to the “greater picture” of life. Living a sedentary lifestyle and eating junk will make change significantly harder. Feed your brain quality, and it will function well.

That’s it. Best of luck!

Why it’s Good to Have an Ego

Everybody hates on the word “Ego”. They instantly think of a smug asshole who thinks they’re better than you.

However (while those people are unfortunate to deal with), having an ego simply means “sense of self”. It’s your identity. It’s how you make sense of yourself and the world. It’s your relationship with others in a society.

Unless you go meditate on your own in caves your whole life, you’re going to need an ego to integrate with others in this world.

I hear so much of “slay the ego” in spiritual communities. People want to dissolve their sense of self and be “one with the universe”.

But frankly, that’s an extremely impractical (and dangerous) philosophy to practice in your life. Because you’re never going to completely get rid of your ego so long as you are a functioning member in society.

I’m making the argument that it’s a GOOD THING to have an ego.

Humans are tribal beings. We seek a place in society and it’s necessary to have an identity for this purpose. Our DNA is wired to be in groups.

Trying to destroy your sense of self can make it extremely difficult function in society. I see this phenomenon happen a lot with heavy psychedelic users. They think it’s helping them, but it makes it harder and harder for them to integrate back into society the more they trip.

However, there is a counter side to this argument, and I know many people (including myself) who have greatly benefited from the ego-destroying effects of psychedelics. Many people say being less attached to their ego makes life a lot less serious and less heavy…and I completely agree. Psychedelics can rewire the brain in beautiful ways and they can help people awaken and discover a greater spiritual appreciation of life.

I just want to reemphasize: You shouldn’t be ashamed of having an ego. It’s not going away, and fighting it is just playing a silly mental game with yourself.

Having a healthy ego can help you in business, relationships, jobs, hobbies, etc. Having an IDENTITY is one of the strongest motivational factors to human beings. We are motivated by how we are valued in society. This is not a bad thing.

When I say “having an ego” I do not mean possessing or becoming attached to your image. When this happens, a person becomes insecure and feels they need to brag about themselves or shove it in others faces why they’re better than you. This is an unhealthy ego — and I want to make a fine distinction here that this is not to be encouraged as it will lead to problems in life just as someone who is addicted to “dissolving” their ego may experience.

What do you think? Leave your comments below!

 

“Self – Improvement” is a Myth

Self-improvement is a very socially conditioned ideology in Western society that we like to think will make us happy — but it really doesn’t. You can’t improve who you fundamentally are. You can only accept yourself and all of your internal beauty and move forward with that knowing in life. Chasing external things (relationships, validation, love, the “need to improve”) will not bring you true fulfillment. Because it really does come from within.

Try to not judge yourself so hard. Realize that you are a fundamentally whole being as you are and there is absolutely nothing that needs to be improved about “you”. Let that knowing shine through and life will do what it’s supposed to.

You can develop skills through discipline, and get better at things. But you can’t improve “you” at the core level, so just give up on trying.

When you do come to understand this (and you will know when the time comes) you won’t feel the need to improve who you are. You will do the things you want to do in life and it won’t feel so heavy and forced.

Remember, you’re a whole being as you are. All you need to do is realize this — and go on with your life!