I’ve been interested in Happiness for a while now. Seems like a kind of silly thing to say I mean, after all, who wouldn’t be interested in Happiness? But this isn’t about something you acquire, it’s more in the vein of what Happiness is (and what it isn’t) and how it works.
I started off with The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos which is well worth a listen if you’re into podcasts. I then moved on to books, audiobooks, trying to read up on the subject.
That’s when the algorithms got me.
Seemingly out of nowhere, just about every social media feed, or You Tube add is showing me how I can be happier, if I only used this app, or that service, or that tracker. Honestly, everything came up with the exception of mood rings (remember those, or am I getting old?), which to be honest would have probably piqued my interest more. Granted, there are a TON of other things that could be showing up in my various feed that are way worse than prompts, and games, and tips and techniques to improve my happiness. But the sheer number of them out there got me to thinking about a couple of things:
- Have the algorithm floodgates opened in my case, or are there that many people out there who identify as unhappy? As much as I’d like to think that it may be a little of both, I suspect that the number of people who would say, if they were being honest, that they’re unhappy at least 50% of the time is higher than I might think.
- Ultimately – like in most cases – None of them are going to do the job for me. While all of these apps and services claim to be able to make me happier, by logging this, or measuring that (and always for a fee). The best they can do is get me thinking about it (which I’m already doing) or give me tips on things like Mindfulness and meditation – both useful tools. But none of them will deliver the end goal – Happiness – on their own. That’s up to me.
As Morpheus says in the first Matrix movie: I can only show you the door. You’re the one who has to walk through it.
And while there are no “walking through” apps out there, there are people in your life that you can walk with.
Thanks for reading. Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other – and yourself.
I’ll see you on Thursday.
If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review: