Finding Foundation

The dirty little secret of the seemingly competent, is that they’re often only one chapter ahead in life’s little lesson book, and they’re sometimes surprised and occasionally derailed when turning to the next chapter.

Gurus offering uplifting advice can falter, stumbling hard later in life. Their message is not necessarily bad, but their fall demonstrates that messengers are fallible beings, not foundations onto which we should root ourselves.

Ideas also fall in and out of fashion. Things we thought of as universal truths crumble before our eyes as we age. It’d be folly to assume that what we believe now can’t similarly crumble.

The closest I’ve come to discovering an unshakable truth is this: delight is better than dread and a lighthearted outlook helps tip the scale toward delight.

So it is this foundation of fun that I build atop. It is this metric of merriment I judge against — do my moods and actions contribute to long-term sustainable contentment?

When I wonder whether I’m doing life right, I simply ask: am I enjoying myself? If the answer is anything but yes, then I know my perception is skewing negative. Life is life, it’s a constant barrage of sensory data — and it is my job to pleasantly interpret this data.

No matter my initial bias, I must always seek the most enjoyable explanation. In the beginning this was tough work requiring lots of dedication and practice. But happiness is a feeling we want more of, making this labor easier over time.

My imagination is quite clever when it comes to conjuring up the worst possible outcomes — so it takes effort to recognize and redirect this creativity. I am a highly skilled pessimistic naysayer with decades of experience, but if left unchecked, such an outlook sucks the joy out of life.

Therefore, my mantra is this: seek the lighthearted life. Abandon seriousness. Look for laughs. And always keep in mind that good-times are best shared, be aware of others and spread the cheer.

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