#100HappyDays is a ridiculous idea.
People are trying to hard to be happy or at least show that they are happy.
The 100-happy-days concept challenges the participants to snap a picture of what made them happy that particular day and share it on a social media platform, either on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. The notion is that, by recognizing the small things that make you happy everyday, you shall not only be happy yourself but also spread your joy to other people.
However, does the picture of a meal you had without your best friend truly make you happy?
Will it make you happy tomorrow, or the day after?
Do we even know what happiness really is?
The Problems with #100HappyDays:
#1 Happiness cannot be achieved directly, it is a side effect.
Too many times happiness is marketed as a commodity which can be obtained.
All taglines nowadays sound like “Do X and Be Happy”. But is it really true that happiness can be obtained like a product ?
Happiness and pleasure are deliberately mixed up to confuse people. When you drink a latte while looking at a sunset, you are deriving pleasure, but not happiness. Pleasure and happiness is correlated for sure but one does not lead to another. What we usually confuse for happiness is just a temporary moment of pleasure.
Now, imagine being deluded by this for the next 100 days.
#2 It is alright to be not happy. 100 days is too long to be happy.
Life happens. 100 days is almost one-third of a year and it is too long to be happy all the time.
It is nearly impossible for us to be “happy” for 100 days in a row unless the definition of “happy” is different for the creators of the challenge. We can be optimistic or positive for the 100 days but I doubt if we can really happy.
We cannot blatantly ignore the negative state of mind. If only we can recognize this particular mental state, we can do something about it. Instead we are obsessed to show the world that we can are happy by posting pictures of puppies and cupcakes.
Also read: Can You Be Happy for 100 Days in a Row?
#3 Happiness is a private emotion.
I must not be the only one irked by the concept of sharing your happy moments with the #100happydays hashtag.
Even if you really reach the state of happiness, which I question its possibility to be achieved in one or two months, I doubt it is important enough to share with the entire world.
With various social networks and social media websites, our lives have become too public. What used to be written in a private journal, has to be now shared publicly with a thousand people you barely know and are terrible at giving correct feedback. Assuming that these “friends” you have will be similarly excited as well as you gaze into a sunset and post a picture of it, is a mistake.
What is Happiness Then?
Aren’t we all looking for this answer?
Happiness is the realization of our ideal self. It is being what we want to become.
Marathons, fun runs, electric runs, color runs are being twisted by marketing people into believing it will make them the ideal selves. But is being the ideal self as easy as making a mediocre effort and then taking selfies and getting a lot of likes? Are you really improving yourself, are you moving closer to your ideal self ?
#100HappyDays does not make you work towards an ideal. It expects you to stay as you are and look for minor pleasures which you mistake for happiness.
Instead, happiness is about setting higher standards for yourself and failing most of the time. It could be starting a business with your friends and running out of money, or it could be trying to write the story which resides inside you. Sometimes you may not achieve the final goal, but the fact that you overcame so many obstacles will truly make you happy.
If the path to happiness is paved with failures and enormous odds, how can we overcome those and strive ahead?
The answer lies in being positive.
Will Being Positive help instead ?
As they say, life is all about “ups and downs” as shown in the figure. Like the stock market, your life everyday goes through random fluctuations which results in your day going up and down.
Sometimes, these changes are huge, with your life dipping suddenly, such as when you lose your job or a loved one; and sometimes you have unexpected good news, which results in your mental being rising high.
Ignoring these rapid fluctuations on a smaller scale, your life usually has a general trend. If you are in a better place from where you were 10 years ago, your life has an upward trend like shown in the figure.
Sometimes, we get too involved in our failures. When terrible things happen, we lose the will to recover and our recoveries do not make up for how long we have fallen. This vicious cycle continues for a while and we end up with a overall negative trend.
Being positive is important because it helps us overcome these downfalls. No one will be happy everyday. But we need the mental state to endure these “downs” and hope for the “ups”. That is how we can end up with a upward trend in our lives like the red dotted line in the figure above.
So is there a method to stay positive in spite of massive odds?
The 10-Day Mental Diet
I know this might sound as cliche as the #100happydays but here is the main difference: It is not trying to market happiness or bliss as your final target. All it promises is a better method to move towards your goals while not getting bogged down by your failures.
There have been times in my life, where thinking positive looked like fooling myself. The only way to get my mind away from this ongoing cycle of negativity was to use this deliberate method to be positive. Soon enough, within the first week things changed and became more positive than they have ever been.
This method is short and lasts only 10 days, if you are doing it right. The method is entirely private and no one needs to know. All you need is do is to follow the 3 simple rules below.
Rule #1 With a conscious effort, refuse to dwell on any negative thoughts in the next ten days.
Rule #2 Focus only on the solutions and never on the problems.
Rule #3 If you catch yourself in a negative state of mind, try to change it to being positive. If you have dwelt too long on negativity, you need to restart your 10 days.
The usual mistake we make is that we do not change ourselves and we hope for external factors to change.
Once we train ourselves to this new way of thinking, we would not be ignoring our problems but rather be in a better state of mind to deal with them.
With the mental diet, we selectively let only positive things to dwell in our minds. In doing so, the problems which seem big today, but really are not, will be filtered by this system and we can keep functioning with the fullest of our capability and potential.
Initially, it will be really hard to complete even just 10 days due to the negative nature of our minds. However with proper training and conscious effort, you will end up in a mostly positive state of mind. Such a mindset is much more effective in preparing for the adversities in life, rather than looking for external factors everyday that may or may not make you truly happy.