Invert Your Questions! How Can I Be Happy -> What Makes Me Miserable?

I took a long break from work from Jan 1st to Jan 11th this year to get sunshine (which I find helps me get over my winter blues) but also to contemplate on life.

One of the questions that I’ve been asking myself admist winter blues has been, “How can I be happy?” It’s a simple but devastatingly important question that I’m sure many who are going through winter blues would ask themselves.

And it’s a question that I didn’t really have an effective solution for. Light therapy, fish oil, vitamins… I’ve never found any of them to be very helpful.

Then I remembered Charlie Munger’s quote:

“Invert, always invert”

So I inverted the question from “How can I be happy?” to “What makes me miserable?”

And miracles happened. Literally. Like I found my muse and questions dissolved while answers emerged.

Here was my list of things that make me miserable:

  1. Not enough sleep
  2. Stress from work (always seem paralyzed by the stress of tackling monumental tasks)
  3. Stress from finances (always fear being broke and homeless)
  4. Burn out from socializing

And the solutions just seemed so simple:

  1. Not enough sleep
    1. Get minimum 8 hours sleep a day -> Sleep 1st thing after work so I don’t have to plan that out
    2. Always say no to staying up late if you’re not able to get enough sleep within 24 hours
  2. Stress from work
    1. Break down big tasks into a checklist of smaller tasks
    2. Always cross things off of the checklist to visualize progress
  3. Stress from finances
    1. Always maintain 12 months worth of expenses in cash
  4. Burn out from socializing
    1. Always have at least 1 full day to self, spending it in green areas (nature, garden, parks etc.)

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