A few weeks ago I was watching a TV show called ?The Secret Millionaire? with some of my family. The idea behind the show is to take a millionaire who wants to give back to society, give him a new name and job, and put him in typical work environments. From there, undercover, he gets to see how life really is for people who haven?t had much fortune and could benefit from his financial abundance.
On one particular show, the millionaire visited a pub frequented by a man who was literally killing himself through his alcohol addiction. His liver was 4 times the size of what it should be and he only had a few weeks left to live. Despite all warnings from doctors, even in the early stages of the problem, he never stopped drinking.
Now, the typical response from some of my family was to make remarks that this person is crazy and is wasting his life. Me of a few years ago would have said the same thing. But when I thought about it some more, I asked myself: ?does it really matter??
Okay, so this man is cutting his life short and he could have turned things around, but he?s still doing what he loves. He loves alcohol. Even if you don?t or think he shouldn?t. He still does. And now, when I think about the people who commented that he should be trying to make the most of life and live as long as possible, they aren?t really doing anything with their own.
They just take their kids to school in the mornings, enjoy 2 weeks of holiday per year, work the 9-5 and constantly wait for the weekend so that they can ?enjoy life?. But honestly, is that living? Is the man who is drinking himself to death really missing out?
Your Own Rules for Happiness
I?m a big fan of any person – celebrity or not – who lives by their own values, even if they tend to go against society. Gene Simmons (from Kiss) is one such person and while you may not have the greatest views of him (mine are favourable), he had an excellent point to make in a recent interview I watched:
Life is short. You get to make your own rules for your own happiness. Otherwise the church will decide, or society will decide, or your partner will decide for you, or your parents. People get married for all sorts of reasons?other than themselves.
Just like it is completely up to you how you define success in your life, it?s completely up to you to live by your own rules of happiness. Of course, I?m not going to advocate that if beating people up makes you happy you should stop reading this and go out and do it, but on a core level, I don?t feel that would be a true desire for anybody anyway.
The point I?m trying to make, and one that Gene probably made better, is that it doesn?t matter what people think of your means to happiness. What matters is that once you know what it is, you follow it. Being someone who has practiced presence and meditation for a while, I can be happy with the smallest of things, if I want to be. And while the art of ?letting go? and ?acceptance? get easier with time, I still feel like I have to try (just a little) to achieve happiness in this state.
What makes me happiest right now is working on this website and partying with awesome friends and attractive women as many nights of the week as possible. You might not approve, or agree, or even relate to it, and that?s fine with me. In December I?m leaving the UK and spending as much time as possible doing these things that make me happy. It doesn?t matter if readers, my family, my friends or anyone else thinks that?s a bad way to live; I enjoy it so I?ll keep doing it until I don?t.
Why would you want to live any other way?
You?re Still Dying
Going back to the alcoholic for a minute, you may also agree that he was just drinking his life away and killing himself. Factually, that may be true. But on another level, you?re still dying just like he was. Although there was probably more chance of him dying before you when he only had a few weeks left to live, there?s nothing stopping the possibility of you dying on the same day.
I?m not saying this to be negative, not at all. I use the prospect of death for motivation and inspiration on an almost daily basis. Life really can be taken away from us at any moment, so why waste a second of it?
I want to end this post with a question that might help you to realise what is important to you and what defines happiness in your life: if you were already dead, and you had the opportunity to live for one more day, how would you spend that day?
Whether your answer is going to a hot country, spending time with family, telling your children you love them or just going to a casino – don?t forget to do it while you can.