My Honest View On Happiness

How I Try To Find Happy Moments In A World Full With Fake Happiness

Most people desperately seek ways to feel happy every day. 

That's why single people swipe left and right on Tinder and Bumble.

That's why we pose with that signature cocktail in a fancy bar.

That's why we go to concerts, dance clubs, wine festivals, holidays, etc.

People do those & more to reassure themselves that life is indeed good and they are thrilled. Since many are not fully satisfied with how they spend those 40+ work hours a week, they need to find at least an hour or so every day to have the social convention of happiness.

That social convention of happiness translates into a big freakin' smile on the pictures. The one that shows: "Hey, I am happy!!!".


I mean, you check my Instagram Stories and see my big smile while holding that cocktail, so you see that I am happy. RIGHT? 

Oh, so you say that you see some pain in my eyes? Are you implying that I am not happy? Or do you just wanna take my happiness away?

Okay, let's take a deep breath and chill the f*** down.

**Breath in, Breath out**

Perhaps that pain in your eyes is so loudly perceptible since it is there.

It's because you don't have the energy to start your day properly when you wake up in the morning. You dress up, go to your office, and sit through 8 hours of work that you don't actually hate but are afraid to admit. In fact, you are aware of it but do ignore it.

Who cares if my job sucks, I get good money, so after work, I can go and enjoy the happy moments?

I follow many people on Instagram who always post those happy content about their life. Yes, you are charming, and you look great whatever you are doing.

But I know you are f***ing miserable.

And that won't be solved by the positive reinforcement of your followers in the comment section. 

Trust me, I used to do the same.

Years ago, my Instagram Stories had one purpose: to show you how freakin' fantastic I am. Yes, you, you, and you - pointing in different directions -, as I checked if you all saw those stories. 

And then, people came to me and said: "ah, you have such a great life, you are always on the road, traveling somewhere. I wish I could have your life".

And instead of telling them, "oh, that's so cute of you, thank you", I should have said: "Great, so the goal of my IG stories is achieved; the shine of my content blinds you. But do you know that I struggle with anxiety, low self-esteem, constant loneliness, and all that jazz?".

True Happiness Lies In Small Moments

When I was recently roaming around Athens, I asked myself: "so am I happy now?". I was in my happy place, and I am always longing to be in Greece, so being there meant I should be happy and satisfied. 

Instead of answering a clear yes or no, I decided to pause for a moment and look for the things that make Athens so joyful for me. The sound of the streets. The music of the Greek language. The warmth of the air. The street scene. As I observed those things around me, I did practice gratitude for living through them at that moment, and that indeed made me happy.

What does this tell me? 

That happiness lies in small things and in practicing gratitude.

Of course, this is not a new realization. But as we are all human beings, I also tend to lose sight of these realizations. My previous piece relates to that.

Thus, instead of chasing those enormous ideas & illusions around happiness, I tend to work on finding minor things that bring more joy in my life while excluding things that drain my energy and happiness. 

It's permanent work as we can always find new ways and things to have those happy moments every day. 

But of all, the most important one is undoubtedly gratitude.

If your parents are still alive and healthy: be grateful for that—every freakin' day.

If you have a warm home, you can return after a long day: be grateful for that. Enjoy it.

We even have to be grateful for having all limbs on our bodies. But of course, we tend to forget that it's not natural for everyone to enjoy that privilege. I tend to forget that, but whenever I see a person with some disability, it always reminds me of how privileged I am.

It slaps me with humility.

To give you some food for thought, let me share some more examples of what I do & avoid having those happy moments in my everyday life. It's not for you to necessarily copy but to show that small things can cultivate happiness.

Things I stopped doing to be more happy

1. Reading the junky news media outlets

I hate most mainstream online media outlets for those clickbait headlines that attract your negative emotions. Those that imply that the world is about to collapse.

Not reading those junky media outlets doesn't mean I am ignorant about our current problems - war, inflation surge, a possible recession, climate change, you name it. I instead consume information in more moderation and from more quality sources.

Check my recommendations below for some quality information sources.

2. Checking everyone's Instagram Stories anymore

I love Instagram for three reasons:

  1. Updates from people I care & follow - especially friends I love but have no daily interaction with

  2. Infotainment content on topics I enjoy - Formula One, Human Spaceflight, Cooking, etc.

  3. Inspirational content about philosophy, psychology, mental health, running and more

However, I tended to consume all the shitty Instagram Stories everyone shares. And I felt how massively it drained my brain. Therefore, I started muting dozens of account stories - with no hard feelings to help my discipline and avoid consuming the excess amount of unnecessary stories.

This way, I can limit the consumption to only the important ones I want to see daily—nothing more, nothing less.

3. Worrying about other's opinions of me 

External validation used to be a massive part of my life. As a principle, I was seeking ways to get positive reinforcement from external agents, whether through social media posts or by purchasing certain things so others would compliment me.

I was also focusing on avoiding any negative external feedback. I was worried about how certain behavior would resonate with others. This created even more anxiety. 

There are several reasons how & why I worked on decreasing this worry of mine. The more self-confidence I built, the more I realized I needed less external validation. As I was seeking more ways of happiness, I also learned how little damn I give about how strangers perceive me.

Of course, whistling or singing on the streets is not easy for me, but I still have my flaws - it can be still tricky to approach certain strangers, but I tend to put myself in discomfort to be more accustomed to those situations as well.

Things I started doing to be more happy

1. Singing loud in my car or at home

It sort of became my daily habit to "binge-listen" my own Greek playlist on Spotify. Whenever I need some boost of joy, I start singing songs by Michalis Hatzigiannis or Nikos Oikonomopoulos. Whether I am singing & raging at home for 10 minutes or in my car during a ride, one thing is for sure: all my tensions are released, and I genuinely feel better and happier than before. Dearly recommend that you try it!

2. Having a slow morning for myself

This is not a new habit, but I need to mention that. Although I struggled with having slow mornings in the previous few weeks, this is always something that gives me an incredible amount of joy.

I don't have a slow morning routine to follow those cliché ones that the "big self-help guru guys" advise. Every one should find a morning routine that gives them energy and joy for the day.

Mine is simple: I wake up at 6.00-6.30 am, make breakfast, listen to music or podcast during breakfast, take a shower or bath (depending on time), and read a magazine, book, or the newsletters I subscribed to. Then I start to plan my day and collect all tasks I need to do (I use Todoist for that). I aim to focus on this nowadays even more to avoid the anxiety I can have around all tasks waiting for me.

This morning routine could sound similar to what some guys lament online, but I did not incorporate those based on any hype. I have those habits because it makes me feel more joyful in the mornings, so whatever is ahead of me on that day, at least I had a perfect morning. 

3. Laughing on Twitter content

Yes. You read that well. I don't consume shit on TikTok or Facebook, but we all have our guilty pleasure. We shall not deny it. The funny content I check on Twitter is mainly about finance, Formula One, or some career stuff. 

I don't need to elaborate more on this. We all need to do some shitty things every day that makes no sense and have no real value but still make us laugh. Just make sure you do it in moderation.

Are You Happy Or Just Aiming To Show That You Are Happy?

Be honest with yourself when you answer this. You can lie about everyone else but not to yourself. 

If you are indeed happy, that's amazing! Make sure you continuously invest in yourself to maintain your happy moments. And remember that happiness in our life also follows the 80/20 Pareto Principle - if you have happy moments 8 out of 10 days, then you have a happy life! :)

If you honestly don't feel happy, then it's time to make some changes and implement some minor things & moments that give you a glimpse of joy. Start with anything! If that little thing is your favorite chocolate bar, go to the next shop and buy one.

Just remember - do everything in moderation. :)

Máté - TMBNC

From now on, I will include some recommendations in every weekly piece - some newsletters, interesting articles, videos, podcast episodes - or anything else that got my attention and found value in it. Enjoy!

💡 My Weekly Recommendations 💡

Newsletters I Read Every Week

  • Young Money - Jack writes inspirational & insightful posts on finance, career and life. I learned a lot from his work and was also a great motivation for me to start my own newsletter. 10/10 recommended!

  • International Intrigue - A valuable newsletter on diplomacy & geopolitics delivered every weekday. Rather read this than all those shitty clickbait articles on mainstream media.

  • Exec Sum - A daily newsletter on the major stories from the financial world. It's fun, entertaining, and informative. Better than those finance outlets with shitloads of ads.

Some Pieces I Enjoyed This Week

  • Rethinking Risk - Jack writes about how we perceived risk in the past years when meme stocks, shitcoins and similar trends were booming and how we should look at risk now with high interest rates, declining currencies and a general fear of investing.

  • 99 Mindful Conversation Topics For Deeper Connections - If you want some thoughtful questions that you can take with your friends, date, or family, check this out.

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