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Too Good to Be True: The Older You Are, the Happier You Become

Too Good to Be True: The Older You Are, the Happier You Become

Do you remember as a teenager, all the things you worried about that seemed crucial for your happiness? With high insight, how many of those things still matter to you?

There is a famous saying, “Youth is wasted on the young.” It would appear that young people have the world at their feet. The reality is, however, that they lack the clarity of someone who has gained those life lessons that enables real happiness.

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A recent study [1] revealed that the happiest people are the over 50s. An astounding 61% said they were happier and enjoying life more. Even more interesting was the fact that more than half had been travelling, one in five planned to learn a new language and one in ten were learning to play an instrument.

Things that you find happiness in as you get older

Your looks

When you were younger, there were so many things you obsessed about when it comes to your looks. You didn’t like your body or focused on an imperfection that seemed so much bigger than what it was.

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Ironically, as you get older and may not have a body that is as fit or agile, you feel far more content about it. You finally learn to embrace your flaws. You know that you are not perfect, and that’s ok.

Your fashion

Do you remember following the latest trend or taking two hours to get dressed on a night out?

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As you age, you are more comfortable in your own skin. That doesn’t mean that you have given up wanting to look nice. It just means that you realize that other people’s opinions about your looks aren’t as important.

Someone once told me that you know you are finding happiness in getting older when you can drive to the supermarket wearing your pyjamas under your winter coat. I can happily confirm that I have done this more than once.

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Quiet nights

Weekend do not have to mean partying until the sun rises with people you hardly know. You are quite satisfied with having a quiet night at home or going to a nice bar or dinner where you can engage in conversation (and actually hear each other speak).

Less friends

The reality is that most of those numerous “best friends” will not stand the true test of time. You learn who are your genuine friends. And you couldn’t be happier about it.

How to experience more happiness before growing too old

  • Stop worrying as much about numbers–whether it is age, weight, or bank balances. When it is near the end, you will realize these weren’t as important as you thought.
  • Be ok with being yourself–whether you are unconventional, quirky, or uncool. You are still the best “you” there is.
  • Choose your friends wisely. As time goes by, you will realise the value of genuine friendship.
  • Laugh longer and more often.
  • Appreciate your health. One of the things people miss the most when they are elderly is their good health and all the things they used to be able to do easily.
  • Understand you may fail 100 times before you succeed. And that is still ok.
  • Stop trying to control or change other people. The only person you need to change or control is yourself.
  • Live with little regrets or what ifs. Do you have something you always dreamt of doing but keep postponing? Is there someone out there who you need to tell you love?
  • Embrace not only your ups but also your downs. There is no one alive who has never experienced down moments. In time, you will realize you needed those downs to mold you into who you will become.
  • Appreciate the small things of the “now.” It could be as simple as an evening spent with people you care about or that birthday card from your grandmother–these people will not always be around.
  • Surround yourself with positive love–whether it is the things that you love or the people who you love.
  • Don’t wait for someone or something to make your life better. The only person who can make your life better is you.
  • Most people live in the future i.e. all the things they want to do or are working towards doing. They sadly miss out living in the present. Don’t be one of those people.
  • Always remember, happiness is a state of mind, not a state of being.

Reference

More by this author

J.S. von Dacre

Writer at Lifehack

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Published on October 30, 2020

11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind

11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind

There are numerous ways to build your mindset, but none are as profound as reading philosophy books. Through these books, some of the greatest minds around ask questions and delve deep into thought.

While there isn’t always a clear and distinct answer to the many questions of philosophy, the entire field is a gateway to a higher sense of self. It gets you to think about all manner of things.

Below, we cover some of the essential philosophy books that are best for those who are just starting or looking to expand their mind.

How To Choose a Good Philosophy Book

Before getting to this list, we’ve researched ideal philosophy books to help you expand your mind.

We’ve found that the best philosophy books excel in the following criteria:

  • Complexity – Philosophy isn’t a subject that you can’t dive into immediately and understand everything. The books that we selected are great for people making the first leap.
  • Viewpoint – With philosophy, in particular, the author’s views are more important than in your standard book. We want to ensure the viewpoints and thoughts being discussed still hold up to this day.
  • Open-mindedness – Philosophy is all about asking perplexing questions and unraveling the answer. You might not reach a conclusion in the end, but these books are designed to get you to think.
  • Culture – The last criterion is culture. A lot of these books come from early philosophers from centuries ago or possibly from recent years. These philosophy books should paint a picture of the culture.

1. Meditations

    One that you’ll find on many of these types of lists is Meditations and for good reason. It’s the only document of its kind to ever be made. The book focuses on the private thoughts of the world’s most powerful man who advises himself revolving around making good on his responsibilities and the obligations of his position.

    We know enough about Marcus Aurelius to know that he was trained in stoic philosophy and practiced every night on a series of spirituality exercises. These exercises were designed to make him humble, patient, empathetic, generous, and strong in the face of whatever problem he had to face off. And he faced plenty of problems since he was basically the emperor of roughly a third of the planet.

    All of that is poured into this book, and you are bound to remember a line or more that will be applicable in your life. It’s a philosophy book staple.

    Buy Meditations here.

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    2. Letters From a Stoic

      Similar to Marcus Aurelius, Seneca was another powerful man in Rome. He was a brilliant writer at the time and was the kind of guy to give great advice to his most trusted friends. Fortunately, much of his advice comes in letters, and those letters happen to be in this book. The letters themselves provided advice on dealing with grief, wealth, poverty, success, failure, education, and more.

      While Seneca was a stoic, he has a more practical approach and has borrowed from other schools of thought for his advice. As he said when he was alive, “I don’t care about the author if the line is good.” Similar to Meditations, there are several brilliant lines and advice that are still relevant to this day.

      Buy “Letters From a Stoic” here.

      3. Nicomachean Ethics

        Aristotle was a famous Greek philosopher at the time with profound knowledge. He’s named after a form of logic as well called Aristotelian logic. Through this book, Aristotle writes about the root of all Aristotelian ethics. In other words, this book contains the moral ideas that form a base for pretty much all of western civilization.

        Buy “Nicomachean Ethics” here.

        4. Beyond Good & Evil

          Friedrich Nietzsche played a big role in the philosophical world. He was one of the leading philosophers of the existential movement, and it all came through this particular book. He is a brilliant mind. However, the issue with a lot of his work is that it’s all written in German.

          Fortunately, this book is one of the slightly more accessible ones since it’s translated. Within the book, he breaks down the paradoxes of conventional understandings of morality. By doing this, he sets the stage for a lot of the 20th-century thought process that followed.

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          Buy “Beyond Good & Evil” here.

          5. Meditations on First Philosophy

            In Meditations on First Philosophy, René Descartes breaks his book down into six meditations. The book takes a journalistic style that is structured much like a six-day course of meditation. On day one, he gives instructions on discarding all belief in things that are not guaranteed. After that, he tries to establish what can be known for sure. Similar to Meditations, this is a staple and influential philosophical text that you can pick up.

            Buy “Meditations on First Philosophy” here.

            6. Ethics

              Written by Benedict de Spinoza, this came at a time during the Age of Enlightenment. Enlightenment was a movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries and with that, many schools of thought emerged and were presented through books.

              Out of the many influential philosophy books published back then, Ethics dominated during this period as it discussed the basis of rationalism. Even though we’ve developed further beyond that, Ethics can introduce new ways of thinking from this particular school of thought.

              Buy “Ethics” here.

              7. Critique of Pure Reason

                Immanuel Kant is another great philosopher who brought together two of history’s biggest opposing schools of thought into a single book. Those schools being rational thought and empirical experiential knowledge—knowledge gained through experience.

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                In Critique of Pure Reason, Kant explores human reason and then works to establish its illusions and get down to core constituents. Overall, you can learn more about human behavior and thought processes and thus, open your mind more to how you think and process everything around you.

                Buy “Critique of Pure Reason” here.

                8. On the Genealogy of Morals

                  Another piece of work from Nietzsche that is accessible to us is On the Genealogy of Morals. According to Nietzsche, the purpose of this book is to call attention to his previous writings. That said, it does more than that so you don’t need to worry so much about reading his other books.

                  In this book, he expands on the cryptic aphorisms that he brings up in Beyond Good and Evil and offers a discussion or morality in a work that is more accessible than a lot of his previous work.

                  Buy “On the Genealogy of Morals” here.

                  9. Everything Is F*cked

                    The only book on this list that’s been written in the past few years, this book by Mark Manson aims to explain why we all need hope while also accepting that hope can often lead us to ruin too.

                    While many of the books on this list are all practical, this one is the most realistic one since not even the greatest of philosophical minds could predict things like technology, Twitter, and how our political world has shaped.

                    Manson delivers a profound book that taps into the minds of our ancestral philosophers, such as Plato, Nietzsche, and Tom Waits, and digs deep into various topics and how all of it is connected—religion and politics, our relationship with money, entertainment, and the internet.

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                    Overall, this book serves as a challenge to all of us—a challenge to be more honest with ourselves and connect with the world in a way we’ve never tried before.

                    Buy “Everything Is F*cked” here.

                    10. Reasons and Persons

                      One of the most challenging philosophy books to read on this list, Reasons and Persons will send you on quite the trip. Through a lot of painstaking logic, Derek Parfit shows us some unique perspectives on self-interest, personhood, and whether our actions are good or evil.

                      Considered by many to be an important psychological text around the 20th century, the arguments made about those topics will open your mind to a brand new way of thinking.

                      Buy “Reasons and Persons” here.

                      11. The Republic of Plato

                        Written by Plato himself, this book is the origin of political science and offers a brilliant critique of government. As you would expect, the critique is still important today. If you’re looking to understand the inner thoughts of Plato, this is one of the best books around.

                        Buy “The Republic of Plato” here.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Philosophy books take a while to digest as they provide profound knowledge and leave you with many questions. With many of these philosophy books, you need to take your time with them, and you might have to read through them a few times as well. And with every read, your mind will only expand.

                        More Books to Open Your Mind

                        Featured photo credit: Laura Chouette via unsplash.com

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