Lighthouse No. 26

The Right Place To Seek Happiness

Hello there!

Welcome to the 26th Edition of 'The Lighthouse'!

It's hard to believe that I've been writing these weekly newsletters for the past half-year. To all of you reading this, I am thankful for your support!

I started writing this newsletter a few days after the lockdowns were announced. Life was going to change completely. I wanted a sanctuary to write, to share, and to connect with people. But over the past 6 months, the newsletter has also helped me curate and limit the type of content I consume. As a consequence, I've been able to output stuff rather than just put in stuff and keep it all hoarded up.

Creating is a joy. Curating is also a joy.

The happiest times are when people reach out to me, ask me about stuff, thank me for writing the things I've written. The most emotional response was when a user on twitter reached out to me about my post on how Life's Meaning Is Hidden In Its Absence resonated with him because of what he was going through. He was grieving for his stillborn son.

I have one reader who reaches out every Monday with their feedback. I'm thankful to them for helping me improve and stay on track.

If you've been holding back from reaching out to me, please do not hesitate from doing so. Please reply to this email. I'd love to hear you out and change my mind about anything I've written.

Let's dive in!


The Right Place To Seek Happiness

Click here, if you prefer reading this post on my blog.

Photo by Zachary Keimig on Unsplash

Why are you fixated about the past?

Why are you obsessed with the future?

Why not focus on the "Now"?

You spend a lot of time and energy harping on future outcomes, or past regrets. In the process, you lose the moment at hand.

Some ubiquitous lines that we create and repeat - "I should have done this the other way!" or "What should I do about this in the future?"

We are letting go of the now by looking at our past actions or pondering over our future. Life becomes a grinding misery upon continuous cycles of past-future thought.

Here's a simple example I use to remind myself to live in the present.

When you're driving, use the rear-view mirror to look at your past. Continually staring into it is hazardous for driving. Gazing at the horizon of your future is also dangerous for driving. Focus on what's right in front of you, and you'll enjoy the drive. That's the present.

In anticipation of "what will be", and the regret of "what has been", you are losing "what is".


Here’s some interesting stuff I’ve come across du:

  • I've come to believe that where I am today is primarily due to luck and much less due to skill. I could've been born to a mining labourer in Africa, but I was born into a middle-class family in India that gave priority to fundamental values and education. The very fact that I was born at all is at odds with astronomy. Most people do not believe this or even acknowledge the fact that luck dominates our lives to a large extent. Here are three pieces that reinforce my belief in the role of chance and destroy the myth that it is always a skill that makes a man. In The Better Letter (My notes) by Bob Seawright pays homage to this fact in a touching piece and offers thanks to his ancestors and his luck for putting him where he currently is. This is a beautiful write up on how we tend to overlook the role of luck over skill. In this aptly titled post, Ironies Of Luck (My notes), Morgan Housel tells us that risk and luck are two sides of the same coin. They jump at us from corners unseen and shock us or surprise us. When we're shocked, we lose our confidence; but when we're surprised we attribute success to our skill. We try to repeat more of the same, and we get a smack in the head. Then we lose confidence again. Acknowledging the presence of luck and risk and the lack of our control over outcomes is critical to living a fulfilling life. In this twitter threadJim O Shaughnessy also acknowledges the role of luck up front in his life. But he diverges and brings in what is called "Smart Luck" which involves taking action before circumstances change. This is one thread that I keep going back to repeatedly.

  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach and narrated by Richard Harris: For people who know me closely, this book is one of the favourites and has been for a long time. I first read it a few months after my mother passed away, and it served as a balm then. A good 45 minutes to spend on the weekend. Nostalgic! One of the best audiobooks I’ve heard.

  • Regression is Progress by @thought_bender: “Now let's say we feel ourselves regressing back to a previous state, that awareness of noticing that we are regressing means we have progressed and are progressing right this second. We wouldn't have been able to tell we were 'regressing' unless we had progressed so far that we would be able to tell that we are regressing and to actually catch ourselves while it is occurring. This regression allows us to witness our growth sometimes in the best manner, perhaps reigniting the flame of curiosity and of trying to make progress.” Thanks to @TinkeredThinker for sharing this on twitter.


Here’s a thought I’ve been ruminating on:

Being busy makes you comfortable. Being yourself makes you uncomfortable.

Being busy is easy. Being yourself is hard.

Being busy is shallow. Being yourself is deeply satisfying.

Embrace the discomfort that comes from listening to yourself.

See you next weekend!

Thanks,
Prashanth 🍻


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