🌻7 Stupid Life Rules You Need To Break To Be Happy

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#2 is one of life’s biggest paradoxes.

We all grew up with stupid rules.

Never cause a scene. Always finish your food. Sit still at school, praise your teacher, and listen to your boss no matter what. Get a good job, work your butt off, enjoy life when you’re retired, and don’t put your schlong in a toaster.

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Fuck that, I say. (Except for the toaster thing. That has some merit.)

“Life is short. Break the rules.”

— James Dean

The problem is most of society’s rules aren’t designed to make you happy but to keep the wheels turning. They work, keep you safe, and get you a mediocre life. But who wants that?

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I don’t — I want to live one that excites me every day, one that I look back upon and say, _”damn, what an amazing ride that was.” _I want to do what makes me happy in the long run.

If you want the same, you’ll have to break a few widely accepted rules.

Read also: 40 short tiny habits that will quietly transform your life

“Always Listen to People Older Than You”

“The only constant in life is change.”

— Heraclitus

Today’s world is very different from what it was twenty years ago.

Widespread smartphone use. Internet money. Global warming, tremendous inflation, and bat viruses.

Twenty years from now, the world will look completely different again.

That’s why I cringe when someone says, “listen to your teachers/parents/boss, they’ve seen more shit than you.”

Maybe they have. But that doesn’t qualify them to dish out advice like soup in a homeless shelter.

They’ve grown up in another world. They have different values, goals, and circumstances. They give out the best advice ever — for someone who lived twenty years ago.

When I wanted to quit my prestigious Master’s program for full-time writing, almost everyone older than me called me stupid — my mum, my grandma, and my scholarship advisor. To them, internet money was as weird as quantum physics to a 1500s astrologer. The one guy who encouraged me was three years younger than me — but he had walked the same path.

Today, I’m glad I took his advice.

Don’t listen to people just because they’re older. Ask yourself:

  • Do they have the same values as me?
  • Do they know more about the subject than I do?
  • Do they live in the same world I live in?
  • Do they understand that what makes them happy is different from what works for me?

Laps around the sun aren’t a guarantee for wisdom.

“Do What Makes You Happy”

Chasing something is usually the best way to not get it.

The more you chase love, the less of it you’ll get. The more you obsess about losing weight, the quicker you’ll cheat on your diet. The more you try to be happy, the more unhappy you’ll be.

Happiness isn’t a feeling or an achievement.

It’s a state. It’s a way of being. Most of all, it’s a byproduct of doing the right thing.

It’s hard to hit the gym instead of slacking on the couch or stay calm in a heated argument instead of screaming. You want to go with the flow and do what feels good in the moment. But you’ll shoot yourself in the foot in the long run.

Humans suffer from temporal discounting_ — _future rewards seem smaller than immediate ones. We’d rather have $500 now than $1000 in ten years. Unfortunately, instant gratification won’t make you happy long-term.

  • Inner peace comes from learning to let go instead of distracting yourself with Netflix
  • Financial independence comes from hard work and cutting your spending instead of going all out at the bars every weekend
  • A thriving relationship comes from putting in effort instead of dismissing the other and only looking after yourself

Happiness is the byproduct of doing the right things, even if it’s tough.

“Don’t Act If You Aren’t Ready”

Humans love to procrastinate on what they should do.

Why? Because we’re hardwired to conserve energy, want to avoid the risk of failure, and do what we’re comfortable with instead. Often, we have a convenient excuse.

“I’m not ready yet.”

On my first dates, I often struggled to kiss the beautiful woman in front of me because I was afraid of rejection. The tension was there and she was looking at me biting her lips — yet I didn’t feel ready. Then, I heard a sentence from a dating coach that completely changed my perspective: “if you feel like it’s a good time to kiss her, she wanted it ten minutes ago.”

Life is the woman that wants to be kissed — but you have to do it.

If you want to change jobs, end a relationship, or start your business, you might not feel ready yet. People tell you to play it safe — wait another year, give it some time, see how the situation develops. But here’s the thing.

You will never feel ready for something worthwhile because doing it means you have to leave your comfort zone.

Do what you have to even if you don’t feel ready. Best case, you get what you want. Worst case, you learn a lot.

As Nike once said, just do it.

“Don’t Talk To Strangers”

Many people ignore a fundamental part of human existence.

We’re social creatures. What made us evolve from apes throwing rocks and eating poop to the sophisticated smartphone users we are today was our cooperation — uniting millions to believe in the same ideals. Today, we often avoid that connection.

Maybe it’s just a German thing, but when I see people waiting for a train or coffee, the first thing they do is pull out their smartphone.

When you talk to them, their reaction is one of discomfort and worry — what does this guy want from me? It’s like someone told the whole nation to not talk to strangers. It’s a pity.

I’ve made some of the best connections ever by approaching random people. _”Hey man, how’s it going?” _No need for anything crazy.

Then, see where the conversation flows — sometimes nowhere, sometimes you meet a new business partner or the love of your life. You never know.

Everybody’s got a story. Everybody can teach you something. You just have to talk to them.

Don’t be a grumpy German.

“Better Play It Safe”

My dad once told me something I’ll never forget.

He said, “life is dangerous to life.” As with all things dad, there was a lot of wisdom in a few words.

Most people tell you to play it safe. Be nice to your boss. Put your money into a savings account. Don’t end up in jail for molesting the neighbor’s cat. But they forget one crucial thing.

Safety is an illusion.

Nothing is ever safe. Your boss can drop you like a hot potato if the company is in the reds. The love of your life could have a stroke tomorrow. Heck, you could have one today.

This doesn’t mean you should be reckless and down six beers and a tab of acid before you hop into your car. That would be stupid. Instead, be smart — and take calculated risks.

Quitting my studies to start a business was risky in the beginning, but today I’ve got multiple streams of income and have built an in-demand skill — much safer than being at the mercy of a random boss.

The same goes for selling everything to travel the world and leaving an unhappy relationship to find a better one.

You need to take calculated risks. Playing it safe will get you mediocrity at best and losing what you have at worst. Yes, you will fall flat on your face a few times.

But that’s part of the game.

Life is dangerous to life, after all.

Read also: You can have what you really want

“Do What Others Do”

Conspiracy theorists are right about one thing.

People are sheep. They follow the masses. Two weeks ago, my buddy and I ordered takeaway and waited in front of the restaurant. You wouldn’t believe how many people queued up behind us silently until we told them they could enter.

Conforming to society is a script we grow up with.

Don’t rustle any feathers. Don’t cause a ruckus. Don’t be the one guy dancing with his headphones on when everybody’s frustratedly waiting in the queue.

I get it. People want to fit in. It gives them a sense of belonging.

Unfortunately, it often doesn’t make them happy.

Maybe working a 9 to 5, getting drunk every weekend, and obsessing over last week’s soccer game or the color of Kim Kardashian’s underwear isn’t for you. Maybe you don’t want to watch Netflix and own a picket-fence house. That’s okay. Own it.

Don’t follow the masses because the masses are miserable.

Cutting your own path through the jungle of life will feel difficult at first, but it will get you where you feel at home — and happy.

“Reach X By Age Y”

I turned 30 yesterday.

My friend asked me how it felt. I answered that since this morning, I loved being 30. A day before, I loved being 29. Next year, I’ll love being 31. Age is just a number.

The problem is people obsess over it like life is a fucking race.

Finish your studies by 25. Find a well-paying job by 26. Have a great relationship by 28 and kids by 32. To quote Jay Shetty, author of Think Like a Monk:

“Who comes up with this shit?!”

Life is not a journey. You’re not trying to get somewhere as quickly as possible. Congrats if you’ve made it to 40 and have ticked all the boxes — now what?

Instead, approach life like music. Don’t hope for the songs to be over soon or last longer. Dance to every note as it comes and enjoy it.

This attitude has helped me to never regret things or wish I was 15, 20, or 25 again.

No matter your age, no matter your position in life, no matter what you’ve accomplished — everything is as it’s supposed to be, in this very moment.

Don’t wish for the song to be different.

Just dance.

Contributed by Moreno Zugaro

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