Our guest blogger Robbie Bathe has a few thoughts on happiness and passion. Check him out on Instagram @robthebathman. Robbie is a Certified Cicerone, BJCP Certified Beer Judge, Coffee, Fitness Jiu Jitsu, Amateur Home Baker, Eater of Foods, Insatiable Wanderluster, Dartmouth Football, Brovertone Baritone, Nutcracker Dancer, and all around cool guy who just happens to be the nephew of Indigo Wild’s owner. So, grab a cup and enjoy the read.
“The pursuit of happiness”. It’s an idea that is as old as human existence and is even written into the United States Declaration of Independence. Now more than ever this topic is being researched scientifically in the field of psychology.
To summarize it terribly, every person has a genetic set point for happiness. Some people are naturally happier as their base line and some not so much. There are frequent temporary changes to this. Something great happens, like a big pay raise or you win the big game, there is a temporary spike in happiness that inevitably returns back to the set point. Something terrible happens, you get dumped or yelled at during work, there is a downwards spike in happiness that returns back up to the set point. Sometimes the return to the set point is gradual depending on how great or terrible a life event is. Winning the lottery may make it seem like things will be great forever and the death of a loved one may make sadness wash over you, but these feelings will normalize over time. This is the basis of the idea of the ideas that “Money can’t buy you happiness” and “It’s never as bad as it seems.” There is scientific evidence to back these phrases up. As humans, evolution has bred us with the ability to adapt to situations, which leads to this never ending pursuit of happiness. We think each next thing will make us happy permanently.
Newer studies have shown that through intentional actions and literally deciding your own mood, one can drive this happiness set point up (or be driven down with negative actions and moods). This is harder for some than others based on your life situation and your genetic set point of happiness. Now for the very unsexy answer to figuring out how to do this…research. There is research in the traditional sense of published books and readings, and there is an untraditional approach I enjoy a bit more.Have a conversation with the happiest people in your life and figure out what makes them happy. One underlying theme I have found in many, if not all happy people is passion, often about something very specific. Find the people that gush about this incredible food they just had, or the intense beauty of a recent hike, or the grueling training for a marathon, competition, or exam. When you find a passionate person, even if it is about something you have no interest in, figure out what they are passionate about and try to learn all you can about that topic from them.
Research online articles and editorials, books, download recommended podcasts, or my personal favorite, getting lost in the wormhole of Youtube until you find yourself watching videos of a cat saying “no” over and over (google it, “Talking Funny Cat Says No No”). Most of the time, you will find you simply do not share the passion for this topic. However, there will come a time where you realize your lack of passion or interest in a topic was due to simply not knowing anything about it or previous assumptions you had made. In intentionally seeking out passionate and happy people, you will eventually find yourself surrounded by talented and successful people, which will only help you grow personally while giving you better perspective into new ideas and cultures. Much of what causes bigotry is rooted in ignorance. At the very least, you will have learned something new. It takes time and it takes effort to approach your daily experiences this way, but the results that can occur will be worth any amount of effort.