Rare Species

What made you happy today?

If you watched a playback of your day today, minute by minute, studying it like a conservationist studies a rare animal species, I guarantee you that you would find moments of joy. Smiles, even on an otherwise bleak day. But since you probably don’t study your day like that, those moments may simply have passed by without notice. Without your awareness, they gave you a little more energy or a little more hope and then slid by, and you went about the rest of your life. If the day overall was bad, you may even slump down at the end of it and say “what an awful day, nothing good happened at all.”

The rare species is endangered. Someday it may go extinct.

We pay so much attention to the things that make us miserable. Ideally, we do this in order to avoid those things in the future (although a certain kind of person seems absolutely addicted to seeking those things out). But you can’t become happy by avoiding misery. That’s not how it works. You have to seek the happiness directly. The world is full of misery – with each new type you evade there will be a new one to take its place. Unless you simply fill your life with happiness to plug the gap before it gets a chance.

Pay as much attention to the small moments of joy. Duplicate them! Don’t leave your happiness to chance, to the whims of the world. If the thing that made you happiest today was when you randomly saw a puppy that was being walked downtown, then tomorrow go visit the animal shelter and volunteer. Go to the dog park to eat your lunch. Visit a friend that has a new puppy. You can control these things!

Be greedy about your happiness. When a smile crosses your face, say to yourself “more, please.” Write it down, record it, send a text to yourself – whatever it takes to mark the moment. Then breed that species in captivity if you have to! It doesn’t have to stay rare forever.

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