Imagine there is a start line with tractor tires lined up all along. The tractor tires represent areas of your life. Each day is one chance to flip the tire (it’s either one flip or none). Over a period of ten days you will be ten flips further from the start line. That’s if you take the time and effort to make the flip. You have to prioritize what you want, do a little each day, and over time there will be a lot of space (experience and knowledge) behind you.
Time and Effort
I use the representation of tractor tires because they take effort to flip. Prioritizing what you want takes effort, especially during the beginning of establishing a new habit or developing a new skill. But, instead of the lactic acid building up, and you becoming exhausted, the tire becomes lighter and effortless.
When I first started my exercise habit it took a lot of time and effort to move that tire. Some days I didn’t move it, but over time I kept coming back to flip the tire. Five years later, exercise is my top priority of the day and the tire is effortless to flip. I exercise daily, never doing the same thing two days in a row. Habit stacking (the group of tires you choose to flip each day) determines your happiness level.
Happiness is a choice
Happiness is a result of the combination of tires you choose to flip. Pleasure is the tiny burst of dopamine you get after a flip of certain tires (drugs, sex, sugar, money, etc.). The less you flip the pleasurable tires, the higher the level of happiness. The more you flip the pleasurable tires the lower the level of happiness. this is the correlation between pleasure and happiness: When pleasure is high, happiness is low. When happiness is high, pleasure is low.
You now have the answer to what makes a happy life: pain.
Pain is happiness
Without pain there can be no pleasure. For example, think of good and bad, how do you know something to be good if there is no bad to compare it too. Whichever way you come at it, pain or pleasure, determines your level of happiness. If you come at happiness from pleasure, mostly external, you will always be searching for the next hit to numb the pain. In contrast, you build resilience from self-inflicted pain. Resilience is the ability to bounce back to normal. Happiness sits with resilience.
Pain is an opportunity to grow. Growth is progress which builds resilience, and progress is happiness. It is not the destination, but the progress made to get there.
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