There is only one difference between “keeping up with the Jones’” from early America through pre-Internet days to the inundated world of noise that we live in today. Thanks to social media, you are constantly reminded of your inadequacies thanks to Facebook postings, Twitter, YouTube, and reality TV. How does all of this clutter affect your happiness?
Happiness is choice you make from within regardless of external stimuli. However, this is easier said than done. When you are constantly reminded of other’s greatness or read the tabloids that canonize celebrities, it’s easy to question your own significance. The Time Magazine July 8, 2013 article on Happiness reports that 37% of women and 21% of men feel worse after comparing themselves with others on social media.
Add to this the fact that in typical half-hour news show there are 8 minutes of ads that pitch false realities to you about how you could lead a healthier, sexier, more glamorous, richer life. Of the remaining 22 minutes, nearly five minutes are spent in previews of “what’s coming.” Therefore, there are only 17 minutes of actual news, if you consider a reporter shoving a microphone into a victim’s face after a tragedy and asking them “how do you feel?” is really news. TV stations can’t sell ads without sensationalism.
So what’s the anecdote? I’d love to give you the silver bullet, but each individual leads his or her individual pathway in life. No two are exactly the same. Here are well-known axioms:
- “Know thyself” – Plato
- “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” – Alexander Pope
- “To thy own self be true.” – Shakespeare
- “Love thy neighbor as thyself” – God
- “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr
I’m being careful not to preach, but the above axioms are universal. Happiness is finding the silver lining in each and every day. I submit that several lifetimes ago when news was delivered by the Pony Express, the same percentage of people reacted negatively to some news as do today. Celebrate the successes of others, but be grateful for your own life and the message and challenges that it delivers to you. It’s the human experience. In poker, it’s not about the hand you’re dealt, but how you play it.