Can you “Hack” Happiness?

can you hack your happiness?Can you “hack” happiness, fulfillment and all-around amazingness?

Hmm…that term “hack”, it’s such a Tim Ferrissy, lifestyle-designy word, isn’t it? (disclaimer: I do love me some Tim Ferriss). It also conjures up doing something technical, like “hacking” a computer game to get more points…Or doing a cheap-skate job jimmy-rigging something together: “I hacked the Ikea closet assembly by using my sister’s fake eyelash glue, rather than dealing with all those crazy screws”.

But the way I think of the word “hack” and use it in this article is: finding a faster, easier and more efficient way to a desired outcome…(oftentimes using unconventional and unexpected methods).

So with that framework, why NOT “hack” something important to your own life and happiness? If you could find a way to “hack” giving up smoking or getting yourself to exercise more (aka: finding an easier, quicker and more efficient way to do it), wouldn’t you want to?

Bringing us to the question again: Can you “hack” happiness, fulfillment and all-around amazingness?… Which is like asking “Can you find a quicker route to happiness, fulfillment and all-around amazingness than the one you are using?”…And of course, the answer must be yes.

Religion is hack

If you really think about it Buddhism (and most religions) was all about “hacking” the human condition – in the words of its founder, the Buddha himself: “the primary purpose of life is to end human suffering.” His entire inspiration for founding this religion / philosophy was to find a way to fast-track human happiness (by fast-tracking an end to its suffering). Yes, in a certain light, even religion could be considered a “hack” (or at least an attempt at it).

What other hacks do we humans use in daily life, to fast-track certain desired results in our own lives? 

(I use the term “fast track” as interchangeable with “hack”, for the meaning I give to it in this article) –

Common human hacks – External

There are many external techniques and things that we use to hack our lives:

Coffee – Fast track to more energy (and to alleviate depression, in some)

Vitamins – Fast track to more vitality, muscle tone, better skin & hair (etc) and healthy nutrients in our body.

Alcohol – Fast track to feeling more openness and ease in social situations.

Pharmacology – To fast track certain desired results that we want in our body, whether it be a lower blood pressure or increased focus for people with Attention deficit disorder.

Can you think of more?

(Note: Whether or not you think the desired results are achieved or worth the use of these substances in the first place, the fact remains that humans do indeed DO these things, and for the reasons I’ve listed)

But more interesting to me, are the internal hacks we come up with…that is to say, hacking our very own thought process / mind / way we see the world:

A little less common human hacks – Internal

Meditation – Fast track to feeling more peaceful, happier, calmer.

NLP – an entire methodology created around fast-tracking the internal mechanisms (thought processes, images and dialogues) needed to achieve success in any given area.

Framing & Re-Framing – something we do all the time and don’t even realize: Putting our experiences into contexts and frames. When you learn to hack your own frames, you learn to fast-track your vision of yourself, which leads to the speed of your success.

And many more – which ones can you think of?

Why “hack” anything in your life?

Here’s something you might not have thought about: Everything you think and do right now, you have learned. The way you view the world, the thoughts you think, the stories you tell yourself, the way you view yourself…all of these have been taught to you, directly or indirectly.

If what you have learned so far isn’t working to give you the results that you want in your life…Then why not learn a different way?

That’s what hacking is: Learning a faster, more efficient way to achieve a desired result.

“Phobias” are an instant hack…by your brain!

Did you know that phobias reveal your brain’s capacity for INSTANT LEARNING? And to get you to adopt a life-long behavior (for as long as you have the phobia)?

A phobia is a hack! And proof that you CAN fast-track learning AND results.

How is a phobia a hack? Let’s say you have an unpleasant experience one day, with a snake for example. Your brain perceives that snakes are to be avoided at ALL costs. So what does it do? It creates a phobia – a thought process that gets you to react in a knee-jerk way whenever you see a snake.

The brain has “hacked” the response that it wants you (“the body”) to have in the situation of seeing a snake. First it learned in an INSTANT how to think and what to do about snakes. Second, it also achieved an instant AND life-long (if not cured) result: getting you to avoid any and all contact with snakes. Interesting, eh?

I say we harness this incredible power to learn both a thought pattern and a behavior so FAST… to our benefit!

Why am I writing about hacking?

Clearly, the whole concept fascinates me! I like to keep my eyes, ears and heart open to ways of achieving a desired result in my life, in a faster, more efficient, more effective, and even easier way.

When I say “life hacking” this is what I personally mean. I don’t mean it in the cheesy, trendy, cool-nerdy “lifehacker.com” way, necessarily. Mainly because I don’t use the word “hack” to be trendy or cool. I use it because it easily sums up a concept I like (finding a quicker and easier way to a desired outcome). Which happens to be an almost an inbred desire in myself and what I look for & keep track of in my own life.

And when I find something that works for me personally, or that I think would work for somebody else…I like to share :)

Since I’ll be getting into the details many of my own “life-hacks” in future posts, this is just a preamble to my way of looking at the entire concept.

What do you think about “hacks”, “life hacks” and speeding up the process to desired results in your life?

(PS: Sometimes accepting things how they are (including self-acceptance), is in itself a hack. So…a hack is a way to bring faster results…but sometimes you get faster results by not struggling against the results you already have. Makes no sense? This is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot over the last year, so I promise to delve into further detail in a future post!)

2 thoughts on “Can you “Hack” Happiness?”

  1. Hey Hannah, great post- like the spin you take on hacking. I use that term a lot but had never stopped to think what it really means to me.

    We’re so incredibly blessed to live in a day and age where we have access to both the best ancient wisdom and amazing new technologies.. And we can get an inside look into the mental models and habits of the best performers in the world..

    Why not take it all in and have fun “hacking” this big game called life?

    Good luck with the blogging journey!
    Phil

    1. Thanks for the feedback Phil…and Leaving the first comment on my blog! 😀 I agree, we truly are blessed with our access to ancient wisdom and modern technologies.

      Life is indeed a game…but not one just to “win”, but one to PLAY and have fun at too. A lot of us “hacker” types would do well to just stop and enjoy things as they are, as well as finding better and faster ways to what we want. At least I know that’s true for me.

      Thanks for the encouragement!…and for the awesome free report you give away on your site. I learned a few great tips :)

      Hannah

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