I recently read Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations and decided to write my own…
- You reap what you sow – if you are constantly complaining about people, treating people with contempt and being bad tempered, you will angry, unhappy and low spirited.
- Take 100% of responsibility for your actions; it’s rare that you are the victim of circumstance & there’s never a time where you can blame other people for your actions.
- Thoughts of the self create much suffering:
e.g. concerns regarding appearance, self worth, importance, how you are perceived etc
True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself, less. Don’t flatter yourself by thinking people give you a second thought.
- Thank people for criticism and use it objectively to improve. Defensiveness is usually a sign of insecurity and is the cause of most arguments
- If you are made angry by something or someone, then it has beaten you. Laugh smile and be flexible in mindset. Prisoners of war survived the Nazi concentration camps by having a sense of humour, so don’t allow small problems & trivial insults overcome you
- Beware of the narrative in your mind. Don’t be ‘in’ your thoughts, observe them. It is okay to have jealous, aggressive thoughts, as long as you don’t speak or act upon them
- Perfectionism is an illness. Strive to improve, not to be perfect or the best.
- Be organised – have a To Do list in work and at home. This helps you to be mindful, rather than scanning our mind for things you may have forgotten.
- You are the average of the 5 people that you spend the most time with. Avoid negative and superficial people. Don’t judge them, they are just on a different path.
- Attachment is the cause of all suffering – especially to possessions. Take care of things, but don’t invest emotions in them.
- It’s better to have a small house and disposable income, than a large house and concerns about money. Be aware of the hedonic treadmill.
- Love & care for your family, friends and local community. See Dunbar’s number. If you care for the entire world’s population you may begin to suffer from stress and depression.
- Never say “I hate people”. Focus on those you love, not those you don’t enjoy the company of. Focus on what is good about people not there 1 or 2 flaws.
- Set weekly personal development goals such as reading books, going out of your comfort zone, or building character e.g. Take a cold shower each morning, speak to 2 new people each day
- Avoid hate, jealousy and bitterness. Life is just a random cluster of events, full of inconveniences & injustices that must be laughed at.
- Everyone needs a hobby & a passion. Ideally one which gets you in ‘flow state’ and builds social connections with ‘nice’ people.
- Be kind, you can make or break someone’s day and people hold grudges for decades – so be nice to everyone
- Only hold aggressive opinions about things you have researched completely and deem as highly important.
- Adverts (& the news) use negativity to sell you things. Don’t buy something because of an advert. It’s like a game to get you to part with your money.
Beware of social proofing, loss aversion, the law of reciprocity and the power of authority – all used in marketing
- Business is always mixed with politics, don’t let it bother you. Read The Prince, The 48 Laws of Power and How to Win Friends & Influence People
- Popularity is not important
- What you criticise represents your own insecurities
- You don’t need much money to be happy, but you do need sleep. Aim for ‘fuck you money’ – have enough money to say no to jobs etc you don’t want to do. Things don’t make you happy, other than food & shelter
- Cheerfulness is always the best approach to problems and day to day issues.
- ‘Start with “why?”’ when trying to motivate and persuade people
- Do everything with enthusiasm
- Treat repetitive tasks like meditation
- Never be afraid to fail. You win or you learn.
- Poor mental health and low energy can be mental or physical but normally both – address both potential issues with diet & exercise for physical, reading, CBT and meditation for the mental.
Diet – probiotics, fermented foods, high omega 3, low omega 6, low sugar
- All great men and leaders in history preach ‘a mild temper’
- Beware the power of Intermittent Positive Reinforcement. See Skinner’s experiments. Gambling is addictive because of intermittent reinforcement, as is social media
- Flexible people are the happiest – be flexible in terms of plans, set backs etc. Adapt, change & chuckle
- Beware of all the cognitive biases – self-serving, confirmation bias, etc. Learn more here.
- Your happiness is not important – well it is, but when you spend time thinking about it, it because more difficult to achieve. Focus on others, make others happy, don’t evaluate your own happiness constantly.
- Learn to entertain yourself for free or on a low budget. e.g. hiking, camping. Those who need expensive holidays to be entertained usually find it hard to be happy day to day and are often skint.
- Don’t build huge expectations in children. Telling them they’ll be a dentist or a great football player when they grow up, may upset them if they end up working nights in a factory – not that there’s anything wrong with this.
- Reward effort, not outcome
- Don’t personalise anything other than direct personal criticism. If someone is blunt, miserable etc, it’s generally nothing to do with you
- Feedback is crucial when learning new skills – perfect practice makes perfect. Video yourself is required.
- Love imperfections for their quirks – they give things and people character
- Don’t eat in front of the TV – you will eat ‘mindlessly’ and not appreciate the food or even register it going in
- Growth mindset – never be afraid to learn new things – never say “I can’t do it”, you can’t do it yet.
- “Don’t outshine the master” pretend your life and your knowledge is slightly inferior to your boss’s
- Have a preference for how people behave, but not a demand. e,g. it’s nice if people say thank you, but don’t expect it
- Awkwardness – ‘move into it’, don’t be afraid of it – it can be used to manipulate you
- Meditate – meditation is all about not judging thoughts. Therefore it helps hugely if day to day you don’t judge people.
- Everyone started off a smiling baby, people are a product of their environment & genetics. Had Gandhi been born in Hull, he would have likely been a rugby player, not a spiritual leader. Remember this when trying not to judge others.
- Expect shit to happen & don’t be dramatic – Stoicism
- You are not your thoughts – You are your words & actions. Your ‘chimp brain’ will always be jealous & angry and want to be the alpha male, but your frontal lobe doesn’t have to act on it – use logic not emotion & don’t be dramatic
- Write down 3 good things which have happened each day
- Write down a negative thought, then write down 4 positives. e.g. work is boring – positives – I don’t have to work shifts, I don’t have to travel to a city centre, I don’t have to deal with angry customers, I work with nice people
- Find the positive in the negative whenever possible. e.g. I lost my job but have learnt massive amounts about careers & life that I can pass onto my children.
see the Zen Farmer – bad luck can be good luck:
- Life is hard for everyone. Get on with it with a chuckle & less drama
- Never be unhappy or angry about your lot in life. Others will always have more.
- Change a negative inner narrative by listening to and repeating positive affirmations.
- It’s good to have rubbish employment at some stage in your life. You’ll appreciate a better job later in life eg. I don’t let boredom effect me, after working in a call centre getting verbally abused all day. Boredom is good.
- Sometimes you’ll do nothing wrong and get told off anyway. No dramas.
- Working for a small business – you’ll learn more but get worked harder than working for most bigger businesses.
- According to Jonathan Haidt, suffering can lead to happiness if you respond positively and adapt
- You Learn by Mistakes – but they don’t have to be yours – learn by reading.
- Magnesium is a powerful muscle relaxant, great for headaches & sleep
- “All disease starts in the gut” Hippocrates. If you have an inflamed gut, you will struggle to feel good regardless of how much you read and meditate. The gut directly impacts the brain and mood. Have a read up on leaky gut and the FODMAP diet
- Happiness has a ripple effect
“Capitalizing on the Happiness Advantage does more than solely benefit us. Research into social networks has shown that behavior is literally contagious, good or bad. Our attitudes and behaviors infect the people we work with directly, but also spread to the people they interact with. This is called the ripple effect” (p.201)
The Happiness Advantage
- Peace begins with a smile
- Power corrupts virtually everyone, don’t be surprised or upset by greed etc
- Social intelligence & confidence is just as important as knowledge when it comes to your career
- Risk to Reward ratio – Only take high risks if the rewards are really high. Is it worth doing an exercise in the gym that might make you more powerful but could dislocate your shoulder if you get the technique slightly wrong?
- Have a Stop – Loss Formula – Set a limit so you never risk more than you can afford
- I wish someone had of explained banter to me earlier in life – possibly a British thing, whereby you exchange witty insults and the person who gets upset first is the loser
- Say “you’re right” instead of “I know”
- Don’t take life or yourself too seriously and remember that having a sense of humour & being cheerful is always the best way to cope
- Always pick out the positives. Bad luck often makes you appreciate specific things or people or often turns into good luck if handled correctly
- Don’t be duped by the system, which wants you to compare yourself to others, feel negative and buy things
- Learn something from everyone – people don’t have to be role models, they can also be hideous warnings
- Don’t judge your thoughts or other people if you want to be mindful
- Be nice