"Happiness is a Choice That You Make and a Skill That You Develop" - Naval Ravikant
Naval Ravikant is the CEO and founder of AngelList. He is currently an angel investor. He has invested in over 100 companies, including many “unicorn” mega-successes. Some of the companies he has invested in are Twitter, Uber, Yammer, Postmates, Wish, Thumbtack, and OpenDNS.
In an episode of his podcast Naval discusses happiness and how to achieve it. He says, “the most important trick to be happy is to realize that happiness is a choice that you make and a skill that you develop”. This seems a bit strange at first if you don't think happiness is a choice, but once you think about it, it makes sense. Happiness is only there “when you remove the sense of something missing in your life”. In other words, happiness is the absence of desire.
Think about if you wanted a new BMW. You want this new car – you desire it. You won’t be happy until you get it. Once you get it though, you remove the desire for it and are therefore happy. Another way you could get the same result is by realizing the car you have right now is great. It runs, has great gas mileage and is your favorite color. If you aren't desiring something else, you can focus on what you have and be happy.
Naval says, “you choose to be happy, and then you work at it. It’s just like building muscles”. Easy-peasy, right? At first going to the gym everyday is a chore, it’s really really hard, but you wake up and make yourself go no matter what. Eventually it becomes a habit and you might actually enjoy it. It is something you have to do every single day, and eventually you will get better at it. Everyday you have to decide you are going to be happy and then make it happen. You have to take the time to put things into perspective to appreciate what you have. If you are successful at making this a habit, you’ll probably notice your quality of life is a lot better than it was before you started this conscious effort.
How will you choose to be happy today?
Ferriss, Timothy, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers HMH Books, 2016.