As creative types most of us are running after the same thing – recognition for our talent and hard work. Between posting updates and pictures of ourselves on instagram, twitter, tumblr, facebook, snapchat, wordpress, pinterest and google plus, things can get a little out of control. We’re online so much that the number one place we look for inspiration is online instead of the world around us. Perhaps it’s easier to Google a tree than to put on your shoes, go outside and find a real one. But all studies show that happiness leans on these real moments. They reveal that we are consistently wrong about what we think will inspire us and give us the most satisfaction in life. More money? More status and recognition? You think once you crawl up the ranks and end up as big as Mario Testino or Anna Wintour you’ll be happy? Not at all. In fact, you won’t feel any different. This is what researchers call “The Hedonic Treadmill” which basically means that no matter how big your material gains, you’ll always want more. Or put it this way, Beyonce feels just about as rich as you. Where you and Beyonce likely feel reality differently is in the little things that count.
We’re all chasing after something, but we’d wager a guess that it’s usually either money, beauty or fame (or all three?). Humans tend to be motivated by two distinct types of goals: Extrinsic goals (money, image, status) and intrinsic goals (personal growth, relationships, helping others). No matter how you slice it, research shows that extrinsically oriented people get stuck on the hedonic treadmill. Period. Intrinsically oriented people on the other hand are happier. The majority of your efforts should go into simplifying your life, finding more time with your friends, and actually living your life offline out there in the real world. Consider everything you see below as your roadmap. Now go out and actually do it. Go seek quiet roads and open spaces young wolf!
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Drink coffee and play scrabble with friends.
Start writing. Fiction, nonfiction, memoir or just doodles. Whatever. Just do it.
Go outside and ride your bike through the city. No phones, instead draw pictures of what you see.
Drink coffee somewhere secluded as far away from the sound of cars as you can get.
Climb a mountain.
Finally tick Big Sur off your bucket list.
Canoe to an island and have a picnic there. Brownie points if you’re brave enough to do it alone.
Appreciate the view outside your bedroom window.