Joy Hacking and the Future of Happiness
We live in an age where everything is shifting and accelerating. Yet, most people still pursue an ancient path for finding happiness. Their formula for being happy is to try to control all the external events and people in their lives to be exactly the way they want. This is a tiresome activity at best, and there are always some events and people we can’t control. However, there’s a new model for finding more joy and peace of mind: find it within your self. Of course, this is a not a new idea. Everyone from the Buddha to Jesus has said that heaven can be found within, but now there are cutting edge and more efficient ways to tap into this magical inner kingdom.
In my investigation of “inner technologies,” I’ve learned that different things work for different people. For example, there are a lot of supplements known as “cognitive enhancers” that can dramatically increase your focus, energy, and mood. Yet, you have to try out many of them in order to find the one or two that really rock your world. I also learned that people define happiness in unique ways. Some people want a gadget that increases their pleasure, while other folks want a tool that improves their relationships or helps them to meditate.
As with all technologies, “inner” tech keeps getting better. In fact, some of them are so good that it’s possible to get addicted to them—which can be a problem. Ultimately, one has to discern whether a given gadget is truly a friend that helps you find the joy within–or is just another WMD—Widget of Mass Distraction. Since there are many tools that do very different things, there’s no simple answer as to whether or not something is beneficial to you. For example, people become addicted and dependent on coffee. Yet, on the other hand, caffeine can prevent many types of cancer, and helps people feel good and be productive. So, is coffee a “good” thing? It’s up to you to decide…
In my own case, I decide if a specific technology is truly my friend by asking myself two questions. First I ask myself, “Does this tool lead me to being dependent on it?” It’s always better when technology acts like “training wheels” on a bike—meaning that the tool exists so that you can eventually do without it. If instead a gadget fosters a sense of dependence, then that’s a warning sign it may ultimately not be worth it. The second question is, “Does this technology help teach me how to better connect with a sense of peace, love, or joy within?” If a tool helps me learn how to get to a more peaceful, loving place more efficiently, I think that’s a good thing.
It’s been my experience that, if you try enough things out, you can soon find something that feels good–and is even good for you. When that happens, your life is never the same from that time forward…
Jonathan Robinson is the author of “The Technology of Joy: the 101 Best Apps, Gadgets, Tools and Supplements for Feeling More Delight in Your Life.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or his website http://www.findinghappiness.com/