Choose your problems wisely.

Guillaume Hansali
Guillaume Hansali

In his ode to the English language, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson writes that happiness comes from solving problems.

Life is a long series of problems. Solving one leads to the next. When we're on a solving streak, we feel good about ourselves. We're happy. Courtesy of good ol' dopamine.

But when unsolved problems start to pile up, we feel miserable. We feel stuck and unhappy.

Unhappiness comes from creating problems that can’t be solved.

Let this one sink in.

We’re unhappy when we create problems for ourselves that we can’t solve.

Why am I using the word “create”?

Because problems don’t exist until we find them. Things are neither good nor bad until we judge them.

Not finding your dream job is a problem that you created.

Living in a small apartment is a problem that you created.

Not feeling appreciated is a problem that you created.

Simply put, our unhappiness is largely self-inflicted.

But it's not entirely our fault.

The way we look at the world is not entirely our doing. Our upbringing plays a big part.

We often inherit problems. From our parents, peers, and institutions.

And we take them at face value. That’s how we were raised. We were told that things ought to be a certain way.

Life goes on, and we forget how these things weren't obvious to us when we were little.

But we can't let that be an excuse.

We can't entrust our happiness to problems we haven't chosen. That's irresponsible. We owe ourselves more self-awareness.

If you feel unhappy, ask yourself.

Have you really chosen the problems you're trying to solve?

Choosing problems you can solve leads to happiness.

Choosing problems you can't solve makes you miserable.

So choose your problems wisely. Intentionally.

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