How to Cultivate Joy
When the spark of life eludes you, people tell you “find some hobbies” or “try doing something you enjoy”.
This is not useful advice. How do you maintain a hobby without time or energy or money? How do you pursue pleasure when your brain sabotages your plans?
To make your mind happy, you must seize control of it. Without discipline, your mind will continue to fritter your life away. Without personal responsibility, the world will slip through your fingers.
1. Master Your Muscles
Your brain is your body. The quickest way to manhandle your mind is through your muscles.
To show your body who’s boss, pursue discomfort:
- do a 12-week fitness bootcamp
- experiment with fasting
- shut off your air-conditioning
- shower cold for 1 month
- sleep on the ground without blankets
- spend hours sitting still
2. Master Your Mind
Once you’ve asserted control of yourself, improve your reasoning skills. Use your newfound focus to develop intuition, taste, knowledge.
To strengthen your mind, find some things to think really hard about:
- learn a foreign language
- consume venerable media
- pursue an ambitious personal project
- focus on your breath for hours
- attempt math and logic puzzles
- take college courses out of your comfort zone
3. Cultivate Joy
Joy is invented, not discovered. A buff brain affords you the power to forge fun.
Use your full frontal lobe to find lifelong friends. True allies will wade through mud with you and make mountains of memories.
Use discipline to prevent wants from freezing into needs.
Use critical-thinking to identify behaviors that make you miserable. Then use problem-solving skills to wreak havoc on your bad habits.
Use wisdom to seek and spread smiles.