Why Choosing To Be Happy Is Choosing To Be Smart

Derick David

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Everyone thinks they’re smarter than the average person. They probably are right, but chances are, they’re really not. But I’m not here to criticize or judge, instead, I want to show the ways you can become smart in today’s society.

If there’s one thing I learned in the past year is that I have trained myself to see happiness as a choice. And that by choosing to be happy, you’re smarter than most people. You can do it too, starting today.

We’ve all come to realize that despite having good test scores, college degrees, credentials, a person cannot also do great in life.

For example, a lot of people can’t just seem to be happy with their current station in life. Once they reach a certain milestone or goal in their career, they think they can achieve more and more and more.

This renders the person unhappy and ungrateful with what he or she has.

In Joe Rogan Episode #1309, his guest, Naval Ravikant said,

If you’re so smart, how come you aren’t happy?

When I first heard him say it I was amazed and speechless. It’s a powerful statement that made me reflect for hours and hours and I still hear the statement repeat in the loop in my head.

So, If you are that smart, how come you are not happy?

Ways you can be smart

My mom always told me to do my homework on time and read when I have free time. Growing up, I was accustomed to a totally different definition of smart, which is entirely focused on academics.

I remember when I was young where it was widely believed that if a kid doesn’t do well in school by, for example, having bad grades or by being a troublemaker, he or she doesn’t have a bright future.

Because of this belief, I was conditioned to pour my focus on academics and not to attract any unnecessary trouble in class. Although, I got into trouble a couple of times when I was in 8th grade, but still ended up exceptional academically.

Here’s the thing, I am a disruptor by nature and I knew that since I was a kid. And because most of our world-renowned successful leaders, figures, and innovators have shown a disruptor mentality, I was relieved by it.

Today, I understand that one’s future success doesn’t entirely depend on academics. Instead, there are multiple factors to consider to measure if someone is smart enough to succeed in life or not.

These include:

  1. Ability to talk and communicate
  2. Critical and analytical thinking
  3. Thought process and decision-making
  4. Being able to think with pure logic
  5. Capability to anticipate future problems

Being able to focus two or three on these can put you ten steps ahead of the game and these are taught less in school, but experiences you commit to in the outside world.

You can read books, listen to podcasts, network with people, and think for yourself just by using your smartphone. You don’t need schooling anymore.

However, in this day and age, there’s a much more important way to be smart.

(A more important) way you can be smart

A lot of intellectuals I’ve known carry about a smug intellectual superiority complex that really indicates a lack of awareness of the world and the nature of intelligence, and of the way people are divided into different roles.

Unhappiness and ungratefulness. And our world is full of it.

So, what can be defined as smart today?

You’re ability to be happy.

According to an article by Becoming Minimalist,

Many happy people realize happiness is a choice and it’s up to them to intentionally choose it every single day.
Happy people are not held hostage by their circumstances and they do not seek happiness in people or possessions.
Fully experiencing it still requires a conscious decision to choose happiness each day.

So the challenge is to see happiness as,

“A choice”

For example, on something you can work on, like yours:

  1. Fitness
  2. Nutrition
  3. Career
  4. Skills
  5. Friends

Naval Ravikant for example, knows that happiness is a choice because he too had to make it for himself.

He even said that he was born poor and miserable and he has gone through different phases in life that could make a regular person break down.

So, if you think you’re smart, then how come are you not happy? Because when you’re happy, everything falls down into place.

And happiness is neither a destination nor a condition, but rather a,

Simple choice you can make now.

Choosing to be happy is the new definition of being smart.

So Why happiness?

We are a (very) unhappy and ungrateful generation.

And it’s not because of scarcity or lack of something, but instead by abundance or too much of everything. This caused us to create endless desires in life. However, desires can render you unhappy, especially in the short-term.

Naval Ravikant also mentioned that,

‘Desire is a contract that you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.’

This means that you will never be happy unless you achieve that particular desire. But it’s impossible to have no desires in life, right?

Well, yes. But the key here is to have fewer desires in order to become happier.

Less desires = More happiness

About that 67% of the world’s population suffer from a mental health disorder of any kind caused by an unhappy life. As a matter of fact, the global pandemic has put this on the display.

Some people are depressed at a molecular level and thus have a real, biological disadvantage. While, some people don’t believe it’s possible to learn to be happy, and they don’t like being made responsible for it.

One thing I learned during the 2020 pandemic that we can all collectively learn is that you can learn to be happy.

You can choose to be happy. You just have to keep doing it to get better.

Your ability to be happy is your competitive advantage in life.

You can learn to be happy — especially if you’re smart.

If you can choose to be happy now, then you are smart.

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