Thinking about how to living well makes us happy

Our ability to think is undoubtedly one of our most incredible superpowers. It’s part of our being.

Speculation is what we do for a living. And because thinking is effortless, we don’t pay much attention to its profound applications. Right from the days of Aristotle, philosophers, who used to talk about the importance of eudaemonia, which is Greek for happiness or prosperity, have endlessly reflected, questioned, and debated about the art of thinking.

Heck, Artistotle even argued that happiness isn’t about material wealth. He even quoted Democritus (another philosopher from across the town), who said that “the happiness of the soul cannot be bought with gold or livestock.”

The great teacher’s argument was simple — if happiness were something one had, even a person living the life of a “vegetable” (someone who isn’t able to move or react due to brain damage) could be considered happy. They’re getting everything they could hope and aspire for — food, clothes, and shelter — after all. Right?

Aristotle believed that happiness is an activity — something that you do. How would you “do” happiness? Since humans get their pleasures from learning things and thinking about the world, we’re the happiest when we’re thinking about our experiences of being alive. We “think” our way to happiness.

Let’s do a super-short experiment, shall we?

  1. Close your eyes
  2. Breathe deeply for like 5-10 breaths
  3. Think about aspects of your life that you have wanted to be better. That could be financial well-being or travelling to a destination you’ve wanted to visit for a while. Visualise the journey — how did you get there? What do you see upon getting there? What do you do upon reaching your favourite place? Who do you meet or spend time with?
  4. Stay there for a few minutes and visualise the answers to the questions above.
  5. Now, open your eyes

How do you feel right now? If you followed through with the instructions, I’m pretty sure you are much happier than you were when you started to read this post.

Thinking not only makes us who we are, but it is what makes us happy. And since our life’s purpose is to be satisfied (regardless of your vision or mission in life), you can think your way to happiness.

Yes, you will eventually work your way to realise your thoughts, but until that time, you can always think about being alive in the best way possible.

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