Home Stoic Manliness Notes on How to Be Happy and Successful

Notes on How to Be Happy and Successful




The past few months have been the most introspective of my life.

I’ve forced myself – or I’ve been forced by the period of life I’m in – to think about questions I haven’t really spent that much time thinking about.

What do I want from life?

The big, broad ones like that, those that should be confined to a few words but for the life of me I can’t pinpoint it to a single phrase or sentence (what it must be).

Discovering new authors has pushed me to seek knowledge. (read: 15 steps to becoming a better man)

Other things have nudged me back to church on a regular basis and into the Good Book on a daily basis.

I suppose it’s all in a quest to figure out how to live, and not just live well, but greatly.

To truly use the seconds in a day as if they matter, both from a work standpoint, the idea of a pursuit and of potential, the notion that there is our ideal and that’s who we must get close to becoming.

Also, though, enjoying life. Really enjoying life.

Having that joy not depend on circumstances, surroundings, or even other individuals.

The answers are coming.

Both through searching – reading, asking, trying – and thinking. (read: to suffer well is to live well)

Thinking can be over-done. Man, we spend so much time in our own heads that we fail to just be, to enjoy, to accept what is rather than focusing on what isn’t.

There are truths, facts that can guide life and things that, if we’re without them, our life and the quality of us and our existence, suffers.

A challenge, a worthy challenge, being one of them.

Life is better when you’re excited about what you’re doing or what you’re trying to achieve.

You also need wins every now and then, and those wins must be celebrated.

We can go through life chasing and never appreciating and enjoying.

Appreciation, gratitude, another choice we can make, is something we must do, not expect to happen.

Of course, there are the tangibles, the habits as well.

Doing something physical every day is a must.

Lifting weights 4-6 times a week, a must.

Reading for 30-60 minutes a day is a must.

Eating right, a must.

As our body declines so does our quality of life, our brain, our sense of happiness and wellness.

Another thing I’m realizing is that there isn’t anything that’s really off limits.

That is, there’s very little that we cannot become.

This notion that we are who we’ve been is crippling, and it holds almost all of us from reaching our potential.

We think we are who we are and we’ll be nothing more.

We think that what we really want is for another kind of human.

We get lazy because it’s easier, but laziness is the breeding ground for self-pity, depression, and malaise.

Deciding to do something is often what we have to do. (read: why the Romans killed 10% of their own soldiers)

Inaction is crippling. We’re just not designed to sit around and wait for things.

We’re hunters, gatherers, builders, carpenters, warriors.

Waiting for anything, for life, for a blessing, a gift, is such a waste.

The gifts and blessings have been given in the way of potential, of opportunity that can only be realized if we develop the skills necessary to capitalize on it.

By waiting and not developing the skills, we miss the opportunity.

Not knowing what to do is common. Doing nothing because of that lack of knowledge is common.

It’s very important to be uncommon in those areas of life.

Just because we may not know exactly what to do does not excuse of from having to do something.


Self-pity doesn’t always appear overtly.

It’s largely created through comparison, which is completely subjective and just useless. Our life is our life. Someone else’s is theirs. The paths differ. The humans and families and networks and everything else differ.

It doesn’t always show itself as pity, either.

Sometimes we just think we’re feeling down or depressed, but we’re really pitying our life.

We pity that we’re alone or that we’re with someone we’re not head over heels with.

We pity how much money we have or how little we have or even if we have more money than we thought we’d have, we feel bad that we don’t have more, as much as buddy or pal does.

Pity makes you unhappy, it makes it so that you’re horrible to be around.

It makes your life worse and it’s cunning, it’s addictive.

It makes you not want to do anything.

It’s also incorrect.

Every day…

Be grateful for something. Write it down or say it out loud.

Gratitude is such a powerful feeling. It does something to your brain chemistry. You actively pursue it and you become happier.

Being happier gives you more energy, it makes you more likely to try new things, to do something, it makes self-pity an impossibility.

Experience some pain. Struggle physically.

Life isn’t supposed to be easy. But struggling physically makes you feel better. We’re designed to struggle. Humans, among animals, are at the top of the chain when it comes to endurance.

No longer, obviously, but in our history we’d hunt by running, chasing animals until they got tired and had to rest.

Pain is also the act of pushing through something, a struggle. We need struggle. We get depressed when we have no struggle, and the physical struggle is a very human struggle. It’s in our DNA to need this.

Laugh. Have joy. Enjoy.

Enjoy life. Have that at the front of your mind to start and end and during the day.

Life is to be enjoyed, it isn’t just suffering or struggle, pain or solitude.

Whatever you have to do, enjoy life. Make it a point to do things you enjoy, that bring you joy.

I’ll go somewhere outside of the home office for a few hours just to work, but it’s not just the work that is important, it’s coming home to the happy pup that’s about as lovely a moment as you can have in the run of a day.

Try new things.

Variety is the spice of life. Randomness is important in life. While habits and schedules and so on are important, we get energy from randomness.

Don’t be too confined to a schedule.

Get what you have to get done, of course, but do random stuff too.

Get your mind right.

Don’t fall prey to perceived limitations, they’re usually a perception and not reality.

Don’t limit who you are for other people.

Don’t spend time with people that suck the joy out of life.

Don’t pity yourself.

Keep your mind right.

Life is great. It’s to be enjoyed. It’s to be pursued.

If you find yourself thinking false thoughts, following the wrong thought patters, get back to the right way of thinking.

The right book can help with this.

Don’t get caught desiring what you do not have.

There’s a conundrum the ambitious are posed with.

While we’re always chasing something, some goal, we also have to realize that…

We don’t need anyone.

We don’t need anything that we don’t have.

Make the following lists:

1. Determine what you don’t want.

2. Figure out what you do not want to be.

3. Identify what you don’t want in you life, what you want to remove from it.

4. List what you want to stop doing.

It’s often easier, clearer, and simpler to determine the negative.

Figure out the negatives, the things that you think are holding you back. Get rid of them. What you’re left with is the positive.


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Chad Howse

Chad’s mission is to get you in the arena, ‘marred by the dust and sweat and blood’, to help you set and achieve audacious goals in the face of fear, and not only build your ideal body, but the life you were meant to live.

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