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This one simple realization can change how you look at life entirely.

I believe there are incremental mental realizations like — “Oh, anger is not useful for me, I’ve got to learn to let go.”

But then there are revolutionary realizations like the one I’m about to describe below.

I wish I knew this truth 10 years ago and that I actually really believed it instead of falling into peer pressure.

Here’s what it is:

“Long lasting happiness is predicated entirely on being in one of the many states of “FLOW”.

I am borrowing the definition of FLOW from Naval where he calls it as a state of mind where you are entirely engaged in one of the below:

1) CREATE

2) LOVE

3) PLAY

4) MEDITATE

I am adding another state based on a friend’s suggestion: 5) NOTHINGNESS

Flow is a not a lazy or inactive state but a highly concentrated engaged state. Flow is focus, flow is captivating. Flow busies the mind and there’s no space for dwelling. You will have to automatically give all-in when you are in the flow states. The benefits are enormous. A few of them are:

1) CREATING pushes DWELLING away

2) LOVING pushes HATING away

3) PLAYING pushes INERTIA away

4) MEDITATING pushes ANXIETY away

5) NOTHINGNESS pushes SELF DOUBT away

Flow based happiness is INTERNAL. It is mixed with inner peace and feels blissful that is hard to express to others. Flow is adaptive — the outcome of flow is the same peace and happiness, no matter what state you choose. No one state is better than the other, just different.

Someone who is busy creating a wonderful new thing is in flow. He or she is not better or worse than any other person in another state.

Flow is an escape from societal pressures, metrics and rat race.

Meanwhile, the ordinary happiness we all mistakenly buy into is the one that’s predicated on desires.

“If I have this <insert desireable object>, I will then be happy. “

This thinking is bullocks. What if you can’t have it?

What if you can’t have that massive pay raise? What if you can’t have those 400 paying customers by end of the year? Are you going to be unhappy?

Desire-based happiness is like climbing a hill only to find out it never ends. It’s vertical, exhausting and it’s a race. The more you have, the more you need to have to feel externally happy. It’s a status game and is dependent on dopamine hits. Gucci, Tom Ford, Bentley and Zara or $100k bank account can’t give you internal happiness/peace. 

Instead if YOU ABSOLUTELY have to have a purpose to drive you, find something that benefits others. Something that helps others 95% of the time and maybe there’s 5% personal gain. But make sure you choose this game that gives you immerse joy/pleasure internally and puts you in the state of flow. 

Be clear that you aren’t trying to be the richest man or the most powerful or the most famous. Free yourself from these pursuits: 

❌$1 billion net worth (societal desire)  

❌A POWERFUL POSITION IN A COMPANY (societal desire)  

❌An award like TIME PERSON OF THE YEAR (societal desire)  

Mind you, all of the above are NOT inherently bad. They CAN be by-products but never the pursuits themselves. 

No mega-brands or synthetic factors can give you real lasting happiness. You find that in your joy of doing your work that feels like FLOW to you. For Steve Jobs, it was crafting the most magical technology devices. For Picasso, it was taking a blank canvas and letting his imagination go wild. They didn’t wear fancy clothes or synthetic brands to seek happiness, they found it in their work by putting themselves into constant states of FLOW. 

People will eventually forget what you wore or what car you drove but they will always remember your work if that has impacted them in a meaningful way. Your life is the biggest brand you can create and be insanely proud of. If you choose flow over desires just for that one reason, you have won.