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I'm not happy... and that's ok

Shaun Sellars
by Shaun Sellars on Jun 1, 2019 8:00:00 AM

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The new episode of Incisive Decisive is out now. This time, we talk about Mental Health in dentistry. In the episode, both Colin and myself discuss some of our our own issues with our mental health, and how dentistry can affect that.

It's an important subject, and one that needs to be talked about more often and by more of us.

I spent a significant portion of my twenties and thirties in the pursuit of happiness. I read extensively on what made us happy, and wasted time trying to follow various 'rules for happiness.'

It didn't work.

Eventually, I gave up trying, which was probably the best thing I could have done. Last year, I read a remarkable book (which I touch upon in the podcast) - 'Happy' by Derren Brown (Yes, THAT Derren Brown.) The opening chapters of this book made me re-examine everything I knew about happiness, when it asks the question 'What does it mean to be happy?'

It turns out, for decades, I'd been looking to the answer to happiness without even thinking about what would make me happy. The answer is clearly different for everyone, but some things are clear:

  • True happiness is usually only fleeting
  • Worrying about being happy makes us seriously unhappy
  • It is better to be continually 'content' rather than searching for the vague concept that is 'happiness'

In 'Happy,' Brown presents the teachings of the Stoic philosophers through a modern day filter, and shows how being content reduces the depths of despair that many can feel when searching for what they thing may make them happy.

Following on from this, I've devised my own way of ensuring I stay content. It's 4 steps, and it seems to work for me (YMMV.)

So here I present The Sellars Method to contentedness:

  1. Do everything you can to the best of your ability at the time
  2. Continue to improve your abilities as well as you can
  3. Only worry about the things you can change
  4. You can only change what you think and what you do

Ensuring I stay content has made the bright flashes of happiness be brighter and more recognisable. I value them more because I know what it's like not to have them.

My endless pursuit of happiness hasn't been a failure. I now know lots of things that definitely won't make me happy. You probably do, too. Steer clear of them.

I also know that it's experiences rather than things that lead to happiness.

I'm not happy... I am content.

 

 

 

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Shaun Sellars
Written by Shaun Sellars
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