One of the most famous philosophers of all time, Schopenhauer is widely known for his incisive statements. In his academic writings and books, he was not shy about expressing himself, looking at life with pessimism and the conviction that we are living the worst possible version of life.
He argued that happiness was only an illusion and that life was a constant oscillation between pain and boredom. It is all the more strange that after his death a folder entitled “The Art of Happiness” was discovered among his personal notes. He had written in it the rules by which unnecessary pain and suffering could be avoided.
For his pessimistic view of life, Schopenhauer is not much loved by most people. But if we read his books thoughtfully we may find much in them that can make our lives more problem-free and happier.
Let us consider the basic rules Schopenhauer gives.
1. Don’t demand too much from the world
Schopenhauer was influenced by Buddhism and was inspired by this philosophy. It says that we should not want too much from the world. It can only lead to more dissatisfaction and dissatisfaction. Each desire generates more and more. The less we demand, the happier our life will be.
2. Be careful who you choose to follow
Schopenhauer believed that one of the main obstacles to the development of people, their skills and abilities, is that people do not listen to the one who is smarter than others, but to the one who wants to seem that way and the one who speaks the loudest.
3. Avoid comparisons and envy
Schopenhauer argued that envy is one of the worst emotions because it leaves us forever unsatisfied with our own lives. We usually compare ourselves to people we think are richer, smarter, happier or prettier, and it is almost impossible to win in this competition. The key to happiness is understanding that we are all different and that comparing ourselves to someone else just doesn’t make sense.
4. Don’t waste your vitality on worries
Before you take on anything, it’s important to think things through. However, having made the first step, it is useless to worry about how it will end. The results do not always depend only on us, and if you do everything possible to achieve what you want to achieve, to worry or be afraid no longer makes sense.
5. Follow your instincts
According to Schopenhauer, people are divided into groups according to different criteria: some excel at logic, others at creativity, some are more active, others like to indulge in reflection. All this is not a bad thing if you follow your personal instincts without imitating or trying to please anyone.
6. Take responsibility of your life into own hands
The philosopher insisted that our happiness should not depend on anyone but ourselves. Happiness that depends on outside sources is impermanent and changeable. Therefore, he recommended seeking happiness not in the world around us, but in ourselves.
7. Become Realistic
Not only do we have too many wishes, but inflated expectations are often a source of unhappiness. If we want to be happy, we must take the most realistic stance possible and consider our options. We must learn to overcome obstacles and not expect things to happen quickly and easily.
8. Appreciate what you have as if you were going to lose it tomorrow
Times change, but the most important values remain the same. Health, family, and friends should clearly outweigh all material things. But often we think much more about what we lack and don’t appreciate what we have. If you want to be happy, start each day with gratitude for all the beautiful and wonderful things you already have.
9. Be lenient with yourself
It often happens that we judge our own mistakes too harshly. We wallow in moments of guilt, bitterness, and self-loathing. Schopenhauer compared kindness to a pillow that softens the effects of all evil. There should be as many of these “pillows” as possible, we should be kind and self-indulgent, everyone makes mistakes, but it is through them that we grow and become better.
10. Find a balance between the future and the past
To live a happy life, it is extremely important for a person to find a balance between the future and the past. It is important to plan ahead, but to stand firm on the ground. We should rejoice in the present, but not put off plans and happiness for a future that may not happen. Try on any day, at any hour, at any moment, to find what helps you move forward with ease.
11. Don’t chase happiness, just improve your life gradually
Humans are so built that they want everything at once. But it doesn’t work that way. To achieve something, you have to make an effort.
Yes, of course, there are times when we are lucky, when luck is on our side and we get what we want faster. However, we must understand that this is just a “gift of fate,” nothing more. And it may not happen again. Life and destiny do not owe us anything at all. To think that we were born to be happy is a mistake.
12. Always look for new opportunities. Always learn something new
If we are not constantly learning something new, learning new skills in depth, giving birth to new ideas and taking on new challenges, while remaining in our comfort zone, it is slow degradation and fading. It is the challenges and teachings that drive personal growth that Schopenhauer associates with happiness.