Choosing Bliss

I hate listening to commercials.

I'm not sure you understand.

I hate it. 

I'm not a violent person, but I would rather beat myself in the head with a flaming bat than hear "real" people talk about their Chevy experience.

I'm not an emotional person, but I would rather run screaming through my house, diving over furniture for the mute button than hear one word out of Flo-from-Progressive's mouth.

A life filled with listening to commercials is not a life at all.

And yet, almost all of my free time is spent listening to podcasts.

That seems odd. 

In both cases, I'm listening to people talking. Why does one type of yapping make me want to gnaw my fingers off and the other make me so happy?

What's the difference?

The difference, of course, is choice.

If I am choosing to hear talking, then it hits my ear like warm molasses, and I feel a warm glow inside. If other people are choosing to talk to me without my consent, then I'd be willing to fight them to the death.

It doesn't just apply to talking, though.

For example, if I don't have an alarm set and wake up at 7 am, then I'm refreshed and ready to go. If I do have an alarm set, even 8 am is too early and I'm sometimes cranky. In the second case, I get more sleep but I'm not happy. In the first case, I'm always happy even if it's less sleep.

The difference is choice.

Many studies have been done on happiness, and do you know what they found? One of the biggest factors in whether people are happy or not is their schedule. The people who choose their own schedule are mostly happy. The people who don't get to choose their schedules are mostly sad.

It's that simple.

For me, every day I choose my own schedule is a good one. Every day. And every time I have a chore to do that isn't of my choosing, I get agitated. 

The message? Find a way to choose your own life. If you're in a job right now, start investigating how to choose your assignments. Or if you can't do that, find a way to choose your schedule during the time you're not at work. 

Start small and work your way up from there. Try to stack choice upon choice, no matter how small, until your day starts to become your own. Any little thing you can do to make your own itinerary will make your life better. Anything.

Make a commitment to doing things on your own terms, and happiness is sure to follow. To find bliss, all you have to do is start choosing.

"For starters, the single biggest trick for manipulating your happiness chemistry is being able to do what you want, when you want. A person with a flexible schedule and average resources will be happier than a rich person who has everything except a flexible schedule."

-Scott Adams, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big

To read my book, The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, click here.