“If you want to be happy for the rest of your life…”*

I spent a lot of time on a bus yesterday, which brought me back to my days living in Illinois, which brought me back to the edges of Things and Ideas and Other Shit that I spent a Lot of Time tossing around in my brain during that time.

And, from this churning maelstrom of Things and Ideas and Other Shit, I was able to bait a single Idea and reel it in to the forefront of my conscious mind.

Okay, enough of that. Onward.

I had a flashback to the anticipation and excitement of having an absolutely GREAT IDEA when I was a little kid and how I would work, work, work until I saw that GREAT IDEA through. Or, if I heard about someone else’s GREAT IDEA, I would anticipate, anticipate, anticipate until her GREAT IDEA came to be.

And while I’m still a sucker for other people’s GREAT IDEAS and that subsequent anticipating, anticipating, anticipating, I realized that my greatest source of personal unhappiness is in myself: usually the result of some kind of lack of initiative and follow-through on my part. This self-unsatisfaction isn’t some product of low self-esteem or a feeling of worthlessness: it’s knowing that I’m capable of so much more than I currently give on a regular basis. In a way, I’m just not living up to my own (realistic) expectations.

This is why those expectations are, in fact, realistic: I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that EVERYONE has it in them to have GREAT IDEAS and be GREAT PEOPLE. So to say that I’m falling short of what I know I can do isn’t some kind of woe-is-me, I’m-an-awful-person kind of mope. If anything, shouldn’t this be motivation to spur those GREAT IDEAS so that you can become a GREAT PERSON?

Maybe you just noticed that I flipped around the personal pronouns. This is because, as I typed out these ideas, I realized that I’m probably not the only one who feels this way. It probably manifests itself differently in different people: a sense of overall dissatisfaction, a longing for more, recalling “better” days… Whatever it is, shouldn’t it be used as inspiration, not just fuel for some kind of self-pity fire?

Bad analogy. Please don’t stop reading.

So here’s the hard part–the hardest part, really: How do you sustain the inspiration, the self-motivation, the initiative, the follow-through, the go-get-’em-ness? Well, easy. You find other people who either inspire you or are inspired themselves, and you spend time with them. You don’t let yourself get bogged down in the Negative Nellies and the Lazy… Larrys?** You start to recognize when you’re taking the easy way out or when someone else (or you, yourself!) is letting the air out of your tires (Whoa, where’d that one come from? I think I meant to say “bursting your bubble”).

Anyway

This particular thought energized me, so I thought maybe it might energize some other people, and…

Wait. There are far too many tentative, passive verbs in that sentence. Let’s try it again:

This particular thought energized me, so I thought it WOULD energize other people! Huzzah!

Maybe the “huzzah” was a little overboard. Sorry.

That’s really all I got for now.

Oh–about the title. Jimmy Soul’s sage advice here really has nothing to do with the topic of this post, aside from the “if you want to be happy” message (because who doesn’t, aside from people who make a tidy living being unhappy. Like Lewis Black, for instance).

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_You_Wanna_Be_Happy
** Sorry, Uncle Larry. It was the first L-name I came up with.

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