How to win the Constant Battle for happiness

There’s a joke about Johhny Depp that goes like this: Johnny Depp has been found to be 90% scarves.

I’d never heard that joke before I heard it from Macaulay Culkin, the Home Alone kid. He said it was a headline from The Onion. I didn’t google it immediately*. Why? Because I was more concerned with who said it and whom he said it to.

Macaulay Culkin and Joe Rogan were gossiping about Johnny Depp. I was watching it all on YouTube. They weren’t being complimentary to the guy at all. I think one of them even said Depp became so “scarffy” since Depp started making those Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

It was a funny observation because it was true and I kinda agreed with them. But then I thought, wait, Johnny Depp might see this video too and then maybe one day run into Joe Rogan or Macaulay Culkin. That would be awkwaaaaard. Besides, who’s Macaulay Culkin to be talking trash about Johnny Depp?

I googled Macaulay Culkin and one site said his net worth was $15m. So, where did he get the balls to say those unflattering things about Johnny Depp, a megastar who may cause Macaulay Culkin to never work in Hollywood again? As it turned out, Macaulay Culkin doesn’t care about money.

He said he was asked to be on The Big Bang Theory before Jim Parsons and John Galecki were cast. But he’s grateful he didn’t take it because even though the show would have made him ten times richer, he probably would be “bashing [his] head against the wall” right now.

Joe Rogan and Macaulay Culkin think Johnny Depp hates the projects he’s been involved in lately. They say that’s why he’s buying scarves. And 14 houses and expensive wines and cars and islands. They think that’s what happens when all the fulfilment you get from an endeavour is the money.

Joe Rogan said, “It happens to people, though, when they’re involved in laborious projects they’re not really interested in. When you’re doing something all day– and I say this as a guy who hosted Fear Factor— that you don’t really enjoy while doing it, you’re like, ‘Okay, time to go to work’. I mean I was very thankful to have the job– don’t get me wrong. But the reality is that it wasn’t enjoyable. It wasn’t like working for the UFC or doing standup comedy or even doing a podcast.

“So when you do something like that– like people on bad sitcoms in particular– they spend all their fucking money. They go crazy ’cause the only thing they look forward to is, ‘what am I going to do with this money? I’m gonna buy a Ferrari, I’m gonna buy a mansion….’ I think that’s what Johnny got into.”

Look, I’m not worried about all these guys. They’re all rich– Depp, Rogan, Culkin. What’s interesting is knowing that some of these rich people are deeply concerned about doing meaningful work.

Lewis Howes was saying his trick of getting out of his head and doing fulfilling work is to make the work less about himself and more about the world.

He told James Altucher: “I say, ‘I’m here to give. I’m here to give. I’m here to give.’

As opposed to, ‘What are people going to think about me? I hope I look good. I hope I look funny or smart or as good as the last person who went on stage.’”

He lets go of the ego.

“I try to take the spotlight and put it back on the audience,” he said. “That’s what I try to do with this talk show. That’s what I try to do with my podcast, too, is not to make it about me. Put it on the expert, put it on the guest, put it on the human interest, put it on the audience. The spotlight might be shining on me, but the goal is to reflect that light on everyone else.”

At the end of the day, ego is the enemy.

The ego is a slippery thing and it’s difficult to get a hold of what it is or where it is. It will retreat to where you’re strong.

When asked about the biggest challenge anyone will have to confront to maintain happiness and that inner feeling of fulfilment, Aubrey Marcus, CEO of Onnit, said it’s the ego.

“The ego is the motherfucker, men,” he said. “It’s the thing that really limits our happiness because the ego is a fear-based organism; because it’s always judging itself relative to other people and other things. It’s a slippery thing and it’s difficult to get a hold of what it is or where it is. It will retreat to where you’re strong.

“[For example] if you’re a small guy and know that’s your weakness, that’s not where the ego retreats to. But if think of yourself as really smart, that’s where the ego is going to have a stronghold. If the barbarians are at the gates, the ego retreats into your intellect. And then when something challenges your intellect and your ego gets threatened on your strong part, that’s when your whole system starts to get really really shaky. If you focus on yourself and try to repair that ego, if it’s under enough attack, you’ll never be able to repair it.

“But if you focus on service, like, ‘What am I bringing to the world? What can I offer? and then have that kind of warrior ethos where it’s ‘I’m here to be of service, and if I fail and if I die in battle being of service, then so be it. Out on my shield I go.'”

The fight to retain our happiness and inner peace is perennial.

This happens to be why Humans for Happiness exists. To serve a purpose. To deliver a benefit to the world. To help anyone who needs help. To be a model of fulfilling work.

I hope Johnny Depp is alright.

*Actually, The Onion headline is: “Johnny Depp Now Completely Made Of Scarves And Bracelets”.

Writer. Creative. Tinker. Human.

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