Dec 8, 2008

Brainfarts on Various Topics: Happiness, Goals, Etc.

The New Year approaches. Most people feign to make New Year's Resolutions, or outright tell you, "I never make them because I never accomplish them, and I just feel depressed."

That's a very defeatist attitude in my opinion and the wrong way to look at New Year's Resolutions.

1. You should be accountable to others, but more so to yourself. You can dodge the accountability bullet with others with unsubstantiated excuses, but you can never lie to yourself.

2. Resolutions/goals don't have to be great endeavors, they can be small accomplishments that help to spur happiness and other larger goals in the long run. Don't make them too large, or you may be setting yourself up for failure. Although, certainly, those trained in maintaining positive attitudes would say, Shoot for the moon, you might end up amongst the stars...

In general, what really are goals/NY Resoltuions?

Things you want to do, which after accomplishing them, are perceived to cause you happiness.

So by not making goals, you are essentially choosing to deny yourself happiness.

Possibly, maybe we make too lofty of goals, because they have not had any thought behind them beyond the initial formulation of what we think would be good.

Lose weight, start exercising, make more money, travel are typical resolutions that top most people's list.

But let's look some of them...

Lose weight, start exercising says I want better health, I want to feel and look better. So happiness here would be derived from the actual health benefits as we all know just having the flu can decrease greatly our happiness. Also feeling attractive to ourselves as well as to others does to an extent make us feel all warm and fuzzy doesnt it?

So sure, make your goal to lose weight, start exercising, but don't overwhelm yourself with an ridiculous goal of 3-4 day workout routine, and eating only vegetables for 2009, when currently you are a big ole fatty fat fat with bad habits. Make the overall goal, then Define the small steps you need to get there.
I started running less than 4 months ago. It started with walking with my iPod. Now I am running 2-3 miles 3-4 times a week with ease.

Beyond that, if you find out the deeper reason you might have such a goal, you can find other avenues to attain those goals. Feel and look better may mean to take better care in your appearance, brush yo' teeth fool, shave yo'self, take a bath!

Do you want to eat better and exercise because you want to feel attractive and be desirable? Alternatively, foster genuine relationships or communication that affect your esteem positively, and you might find that the goal is interchangeable to get a similar end effect.

Define your goal. Take baby steps. Evaluate and Explain why. Running towards a goal without defined intent or relative value added is hardly a goal worth pursuing.


Though the underlying philosophical question to setting goals, is


This is one you will have to answer yourself. This seems to be one of the most difficult questions most people have to answer.

"What do I want? What makes me happy?"

Though, initially, if you ask yourself, if I had a million dollars, what would I buy is a easy question to answer, once you find yourself answering higher level happiness questions on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the question of what helps me self actualize, what gives my life meaning, is a tough question to answer.

For me, I have to tell I made a list the other day of what I think I may be missing more of in my life...

Money, health, sex, to kick ass.


No.... No I am not.

Money: The more money you have, the more Freedom you have. I live fairly spartan/Bohemian for the sake of extracting the most Freedom I can from my money. My end goal with money is that it buys me time to do the thing I want which is art.

Several years ago, I formulated this hypothesis while I worked at Dell Computer as a sales rep.

Theory: I save $XXXXX. It will buy me one to two years of life where if I live frugally, I can create art.

If I create art (worst case scenario without ANY profit) for one to two years, I should have become significantly Much better at art, so much so, if I desired to do so, I could re-enter the workforce as an production artist.

And I took that bet over a year and a half ago.

I didn't have to use my stash, more over, I've anted up and created a decent income considering that it was my first year to live as a working artist.

But now... having anted up, it's not the question or desire of fulfilling self actualization/creativity on the hierarchy, it is more baser a desire/need. It is of safety, esteem, and for setting up financial stability for a family of my own, even if it's a house with two cats. :D

Health: Who doesn't want to be more healthy? I personally want better sleep hygiene. I have very erratic sleep habits that wander from being awake in the a.m. and sleeping during the day, and then staying up for 20-30 hours to crash for 16 depending on social situations that cause me to rearrange my schedule on the fly.

Sex: Who doesn't want sex? I am somewhat prudish as I feel my Christian upbringing castrated my sexuality by associating sex with guilt and sin, but I am a man, and biologically as with all healthy humans, I have an innate desire to screw. Psychologically, though I pride myself on being fiercely independent, I too desire intimacy. Moreover, it is most likely that I desire a highly intimate (mental, emotion, sexual) relationship, not for validation of my worth, but it seems to me through observation that a healthy partnership is overwhelming much stronger than any individual regardless of the strength of the individual.

The caveat of this possible endeavor has the most damaging risks for me, as relationships seem to be my Achilles heel.

Past relationships have been connected to long bouts of depression, inability to produce work, inability to think rationally, etc... a laundry list of reasons why I should forever shelter myself from one on one relationships for the sake of my sanity and mental health.

Could it be possible that some people aren't meant to be coupled by the makeup of their brain?

No, wait, Im being defeatist.

As I think about my past relationships, I don't regret any of them, even the ones that had me in a slump and drunk for 6 months.

A quote from a movie keeps ringing in my head, "You don't know about real loss, 'cause it only occurs when you've loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you've ever dared to love anybody that much."

Maybe this is true for me, as if I am asked if I love anything/anyone, I always second guess if I love anything at all, and truly, I don't think I have ever experienced a True and Great loss.

Hrm. I might want to lose or at least have the chance to... since a life law in which I believe greatly is that winning is directly linked to losing...

To Kick Ass: Personally, I love winning. Maybe it's a shallow thing, but here's a fact: People love winners. Caveat, winners can only milk their wins for so long since people are fickle, People only love CURRENT winners. Winners must keep winning if the goal is to seek unending admiration of others.

Maybe I crave praise, validation, or maybe winning is directly connected to all my other desires. Money, sex, mental health...

Just laying it out right now for accoutability purposes, I kicked moderate ass in 08, I will kick at least moderate assif not more in 09.

BTW, I am happier now and mentally more stable no in my 30's than I was in my 20's. I would consider myself moderately happy.

1. Running has increased significantly my long term level of happiness.

2. Quitting my job to freelance or pursue being a full time artist has increased significantly my long term level of happiness.

3. Buying things has not increased my long term happiness. Growing my savings, therefore increasing the ability to afford things, has increased my feeling of security, therefore I believe has increased my long term happiness.

4. Having traveled and expanded my knowledge of the world beyond my hometown has increased my satisfaction with my life experience. I look back fondly often.

5. Having had the few intimate relationships with girlfriends, though short lived, has increased my satisfaction with my life experience. I look back fondly often on with a select few. LOL. Some were shitty girlfriends, and shitty people in general.

6. Writing (this blog to be specific) has significantly increased my level of happiness long term. I hypothesize that it is because I am evaluating my feelings, opinions, getting feedback, gaining a truer perspective on experiences, etc. It is magic. I recommend to all persons to start writing.

Even in writing this entry, I have clarified some of my future goals, desires, absolved some irrational fears, etc etc.

Anyways... Here's some articles about happiness if you are seeking to define your own.

This first link is the most interesting IMO.

The number one predictor of happiness is wealth; As much as half of our capacity for happiness may be inherited; if you trace the trajectory of most peoples' happiness over time it resembles a J-curve; although happiness has a large genetic component, none of us are prisoners of evolution.

Interesting statistical data on Happiness

Sex Better Than Money for Happiness

MP3 Download with a segment on Happiness


Shana said...

I'm wondering if you have revisited the goals/resolutions you set this time last year. Did you meet them? Exceed them?

jimiyo said...

I looked em over a couple times in during the year. I exceeded most goals. Other ones I failed to accomplish, were replaced by other goals.

A funny one was... Win a contest or two. LOLOLOL. It was before I figured out I could make more money from contests than making vectors.

I havent gone to the eye and teeth doctors either... who wants to visit doctors, unless they are Dr Fessel! :D

Next year... more money. enter 5K run.

Not sure what other stuff. Will take some time to plan my year and priorities...

Rashaun said...

Very uplifting Jimmy! I always lurk on your blog, and always find something awe inspiring that might not even have to do with art. Love it bro!

jimiyo said...

Thanks Rashaun. Sometimes I feel like a douchebag putting my relatively unfiltered thoughts out there, and sometimes because I speak as an authority, just by virtue of my own personal experience, (who isnt an expert, even if their experience or perception on experience is flawed) so its good to hear you were able to get something out of it. ;D

snarkygal said...

Go to the eye doctor and the dentist Jimi :-)

kwilder said...

It amuses me immensely you included Maslow in your post....

jimiyo said...

are you the psychiatrist from woot? or something... vet... i should know, i think ive seen it in discussions over at woot.

yeah, the maslow thing might be far fetched in relevance... dunno. i figure, i spew enough bullshit... eventually, i will hit a chord that's good. :D

kwilder said...

No, I am not a psychiatrist. I am a student in psychology though. But the fact you didn't know that isn't surprising as I haven't mentioned in the forums at woot. And, honestly, I still know so little about everything I just try to keep my mouth shut :) But the fact you referenced Maslow is cool. you should look at his research on monkeys and the cloth vs. the wire mothers. Very interesting.

jimiyo said...


That's awesome. I love psychology. Probably cause I don't understand people, and I want to...

Ill have to check out his monkey study... does it have any correlation on the wooter mentality? heheh :D not you... but sassy evil wooters who like to fling poo.


kwilder said...

Well, not sure how relevant. The point was that who are baby monkeys are deprived of their mothers and are then offered a wire mother with food or a cloth mother with which to cuddle, they choose the cuddle mother versus the food mother. So it was about cute babies. Not poo flinging. You like baby animals, it would appear. It would be right up your ally.