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A simple hack that's helping me experience days of higher happiness.

A couple months ago I wrote about something I’ve personally observed on the nature of happiness. On its own happiness can be a mysterious state of mind that’s tricky to pursue using traditional methods. The unconventional lesson I learned and wrote about was that in order to achieve happiness you need to let go of the chase and instead focus on “joy.” Check out the full article here.

I’ve had several stints and experiments between the day I wrote that article and today. Happiness has always been confirmed to be a by-product of my activities and never a straight-forward goal.

I recently meditated for about 1.5 hours on a Sunday morning and experienced a dose of inexplicable peace. Just sitting down and focusing on my breath became a little game. I saw joy in that journey and after doing that for 2 hours, it left me with a parting gift: an incredible sense of happiness.

The same thing happened this past week multiple times. I’ve picked up a new hobby for my evening commute. I ride the public train (#MARTALife) for the 40 minute ride and when I grab a corner seat, I am not bothered by anybody. I decided to NOT check my phone or look outside the window aimlessly. I figured I’ll pull out my iPad and mess around on the “Apple’s Garageband app”. As a kid growing up in India, I always had an interest in music but never had a natural gift that my teachers were looking for. I was heavily pressurized by my mom and dad to focus on academics instead and I couldn’t blame them since we were poor and education was our way up. Anyway, it just made since I can convert this boring commute into a productive hobby, the one that gives me joy.

I’ve been doing this for about a week now and I can already tell it’s making me darn happy! All I do stay in the right mindset: Reminding myself that I am NOT doing this for others, purely to enjoy the journey and take my slow time to get better at it. And I deep down know I will. I am not sure how but I always have this belief that I am going to be better in music. It’s an irrational belief for sure. Anyway, this new hobby has been giving me plenty of happiness and I’ve noticed that it’s coming from my being immersed in the process joyfully and worrying about results.

Here’s what I learned about happiness: The best kind of happiness is awaiting a reward you know you are going to love.

Ex: People on their way from the airport to their hotel on a vacation, people waiting outside Apple Stores ahead of the new iPhone launch, people on the waiting list for their favorite album drop.

So the hack I have to share with you all is this: Do something you truly love, not to excel at it but to simply experience the journey.

“Attaining lasting happiness requires that we enjoy the journey on our way toward a destination we deem valuable. Happiness is not about making it to the peak of the mountain nor is it about climbing aimlessly around the mountain; happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak.
 “ — Tal Ben-Shahar

What are your thoughts? What are some things that bring you joy and thereby happiness? Would love to read your stories/insights.