Do you ever get upset about the nasty behavior of your co-workers, friends, or even family? Well, if you let others upset you, it’s not their fault.
“It’s not me, it’s him!” is what most of us say. We’re always quick to blame others for how we feel.
We say that others make us feel that way. But that’s false. You decide how you feel about the things that happen in your life.
Events can’t harm us. Our perception of an event harms us. That’s one of the most important ideas of Stoic philosophy.
In other words, you decide what meaning you give to the things that happen in your life. If your friend tells lies about you behind your back, and you get upset, that’s because you decided to get upset.
I’ve got a simple question for you: Who are you?
Look, this is not a job interview or any type of interview.
I’m not looking for a politically correct answer. “I’m a person who’s serious about his career. I like to spend time with my family and friends.” That’s true for every single person who is determined enough to have a job.
No, I’m talking about who you truly are — deep down.
Because let’s face it, you and I both know that we all have two personalities, who live two different lives.
Many things in life always sound better in theory.
- “I’m going to save my money, buy real estate, and live off the rent money.”
- “I’m going to start a blog, sell courses, and live off the passive income.”
- “I’m going to open a yoga school and only work a few hours a day.”
Alright, that’s great. I’ve talked about putting in the work many times before. I’m not going to do that again. We know that by know.
So let’s assume you are putting in the work. And to be honest, I’m pretty sure you’re taking your career seriously. Why else would you read these type of articles, right?
However, we also want to live a good life. I believe that life is meant to be enjoyed.
Richard Koch, author of the seminal book The 80/20 Principle, said it best:
Do you sometimes struggle to be happy despite knowing that you live a good life?
I get it, we all chase happiness because it makes a difference on the quality of our lives. I’m no different.
But I also believe we should be careful that we don’t mix up happiness and pleasure. Otherwise, you end up on the Hedonic Treadmill: A state of continually chasing pleasure to elevate your happiness levels.
But the problem is that pleasure only gives us a temporary boost in happiness. Drinking alcohol, smoking nicotine, having sex, buying the latest iPhone—it gives us pleasure. But we always go back to our set level of happiness.
I love practical advice that you can immediately apply to your life. And Zen, a school of Mahayana Buddhism, is full of practical wisdom.
When I tell my friends, colleagues, and people I work with that I like reading about Zen Buddhism, they often make remarks like: “When are you going to grow your hair, walk around bare feet, and talk about yoga all day?”
That’s the hipster way of life. Not the Zen way.
What is Zen, actually? To be honest, I don’t know. It’s not a religion, belief, or piece of knowledge.
Just admit it, you’ve thought about it before. Social media is great and all. But you and I both know that it also sucks.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
- It’s late at night, you’re in bed, you dread waking up early tomorrow because you have to go to work, so you grab your smartphone, you open up Instagram (or whatever app you’re addicted to).
- And you start browsing, you go from one picture to the next, you watch some videos, you start feeling bad about your life, because all the other people have fun, and you have to go to work in the morning.