listen to happy people
I think sometimes we are often suspicious and cynical towards happy, successful people–especially when they share the stories of their success and offer advice about how we can get there ourselves. We have this sort of “it’s easy for you to say” mentality. And let’s not be mistaken, some people are clearly outliers; either in terms of their talent, their upbringing or some other blessing they’ve received. Not everybody can do what Lebron James or Mark Zuckerberg can do. They can talk about all their hard-work and perseverance, but we still get the urge to respond, “Yeah, but you’re Lebron James.”
I think there’s some value in being practical about this sort of thing and taking the advice of clearly exceptional people with somewhat of a grain of salt.
This is a problem though. This is why people are so easily manipulated by demagogues and hucksters. When we are convinced that our destinies are not in our own hands, or that circumstances beyond our control have our happiness in a chokehold, we then become extremely susceptible to exploitative schemes and divisive politics.
Instead of encouraging you to work diligently or make better decisions, these charlatans say, “Buy my magic secret to riches!” or “Vote for me and I’ll magically fix all your problems!” And we believe them! It’s why people play the lottery. If you believed that your success was coming after years of hard work and good decisions, it would make little sense for you to play the lottery. But people don’t believe this, and therefore throw their money away on a ridiculous dream.
And even those who are smart enough to avoid these tricks often still admire angry cynics. Their role models are sarcastic comedians and neurotic podcasters who always seem to have something to complain about. They post ominous song lyrics and reshare pessimistic memes on social media. Misery does indeed love company.
It’s interesting how we often want to take advice about how to become happy and successful from everyone EXCEPT happy, successful people. But who better is there to ask? And here’s the thing, great life coaches, motivational speakers, writers, artists and entrepreneurs all say the same things. Work hard. Get out of your comfort zone. Practice self-awareness. Fix your bad habits. Meditate. Exercise. Pretty basic stuff we’ve all heard a million times. Perhaps that’s why we don’t trust it–because it sounds too simple. But realistically, have you ever actually tried it?
Maybe it’s about time we start listening to the happy people instead of the sad ones.