Author: TheTurboTurtle

How Do You Feel About This?

How Do You Feel About This?

Stop following your desires.

No really. Stop.

The fact that a simple google search for “follow your…” delivers an infinite Portfolio of Bad Ideas Superimposed Over Landscapes should leave us in Deep Mourning for the state of the world.

What? You don’t agree?

There is a prevailing wind directing us into the Cliffs of Insanity (no, not the awesome ones that Andre the Giant climbs in Princess Bride) and that wind is called the “Just follow your heart/feelings/instincts/gut” movement. You can identify those whose sails are set to catch these winds when you hear something like, “If it feels right, go for it.”. Or “Well, how do you feel about him/her?” Or anything that boils down to: What sort of physiological response is your body having right now?

Think about it. Are you and your feelings really an infallible guide that has led you to only happiness and joy? If you are like every other human in the world, you will acknowledge that your feels have led you into mistakes and missteps that have caused more problems then they have solved. So why do we keep encouraging each other to follow them!?

We have to put a stop to this before we start believing crazy things like the idea that comfort is the same thing as happiness or that it’s not butter. We have emotions, sure we do. But we also have an intellect and the ability to use it. We have Smarts and here at Turbo Turtle we aim to use them to actually Get Somewhere instead of following our feelings into the Death Spiral of Death that can only end in sadness or, even worse, apathy.

Now, if you’re like 82% (made-up number alert!) of the world you don’t yet have the philosophical resources yet to determine exactly what you should follow if you aren’t following your feelings. Or at least you don’t yet have the framework to apply your Dazzling Intellect to. This can be a scary moment of Limbo. That’s OK though, oftentimes Limbo means that you’re Moving Forward.

Even better, you have Turbo Turtle to guide you through this turbulent time.

Let’s not get too deep too fast, but the issue we’re running into right now is the unconscious subscription to moral relativity that is leaving us bereft of any decision making apparatus beyond our fickle feelings. For now, though, you just need to remember, the next time you’re making a decision, not to leave it to your feelings. Sure, give them a minute to voice their opinion, but then you get to take charge. Make the decision that best suits you, not your feelings.

P.S. You are now striking “Follow your heart/feelings/instincts/gut” from your advice-giving vocabulary it’s not appropriate for your speedy perception and deliberately slow consideration of any of your friend’s or family’s situation.

Enjoy freedom from feelings!

T.T.

 

Comfort is not Happiness (Dummy!)

Comfort is not Happiness (Dummy!)

Really the title says it all. I don’t see what this cantankerous (but sweet and lovable) amphibian (am I technically and amphibian?*) needs to add to make it more obvious. But for the sake of non-readers (my readers are smart enough not to need me to explain), I’ll go into greater detail.

You see, here’s the thing: We’ve been lied to.

Marketing and all those people that encourage us to take the easy road have been operating under the assumption that we’re happier when we’re more comfortable. That’s why we have these ridiculous contraptions that literally create optimal atmospheric conditions to make us as comfortable as possible while traveling long distances in adjustable recliners. And that’s coming from a turtle. Did I mention I carry my home around on my back?

So I haven’t convinced you with the whole cars thing? How about getting frustrated with a program that Literally Types For You and Corrects Your Mistakes, Typos, and Misspelling? Yup. We find a way to complain about everything.

But it’s not totally our fault (especially if you’re a millennial: everything bad that’s happened to you is not your fault and you deserve everything good that’s happened to you. No really, I mean it**). We thought technology would solve our problems. We said to ourselves: “I hate digging dirt! It’s so uncomfortable! I get tired and sweaty and dirty and it’s hard and my back hurts and there is dirt under my fingernails! Waaa! If only a machine would dig dirt for me instead of having to do this myself, I could finally be happy!”.

And now someone sits behind an Amazing Contraption That Moves More Dirt Than You Could Imagine*** thinking: “I hate moving these levers to dig incredible amounts of dirt, I have to spend time outside and worry about breaking this machine and spend my time doing tasks someone else tells me to do! If only I had a job where I was in a comfortable air-conditioned office where the only exertion I had to make was typing on a keyboard, then I would finally be happy…”. And all of you sitting in a cubicle wasting time reading this blog and looking over your shoulder so your boss doesn’t catch goofing off know how futile of a thought that is.

Being comfortable doesn’t make us happy. Digging dirt, though potentially uncomfortable, can make us happy for various wonderful reasons like improving our health, getting outside, exercising, achieving something (you moved dirt! High five!), helping people and more! Now, that doesn’t mean that comfort is a bad thing. In fact, a concept which I call Feasting and Fasting is essential to human happiness.

Often, suspiciously often, it’s the hard things that make us truly happy. When we study hard for a test and succeed or take on a difficult project at work and exceed expectations we are happy. Even the difficult parts, the studying or working are actually moments of happiness, we are just so unaccustomed to experiencing True Happiness we barely recognize it when we see it.

On those days when we help a friend build a patio in the summer heat, we are actually having a Grand Old Time. Or that time you ran a 5K for the first time ever in your life, that’s happiness.

But if you take some time to examine the examples above, or think of some from your own life, you will come to the unusual conclusion that happiness actually comes from discomfort *Gasp!*. We are closer to real satisfaction when we forge a path through difficulty than when we take the evil Path of Least Resistance.

So next time you have the choice between the elevator and the stairs – consider the stairs. When you encounter that difficult co-worker and could pass by without a hello, choose to give them a friendly greeting.

You might be surprised at how much better your day gets when it’s filled with difficult things to do…

T.T.

*I am an amphibian! See here! Apparently, my skin can withstand desiccation. I didn’t know that. Also, desiccation means “a state of extreme dryness” which is not nearly as cool as I thought it was when I first read that…

**I don’t really mean it. Ha!

***Check out this terrifying monster.

The Race Begins

The Race Begins

You live in a rich country (98% likely that I’m right). You have access to the internet (clearly). You own many things (I will bet money on this). And your right to ownership is protected by a government that does not demand forced labor from you (depends on what you think of the government…). As far as all of history and the majority of the human population throughout time is concerned, you are living the dream. Congratulations!

So why aren’t you happy, huh?

Why aren’t you out there fulfilling your dreams and scaling Maslow’s pyramid to Self-Actualization like a mountaineering master of human psychology? It could be that you suck, but that’s not what the Turbo Turtle thinks, no not at all. This adorable reptile thinks you are an impressively capable person with a very specific set of skills and I would say that it’s not you. It’s that we’re looking for love in all the wrong places. Today’s culture, the one we’re steeped in, has a lot to say, and is saying it all the time, and most of it is about as worthwhile as the sweet, crisp leaves of lettuce that pass through my digestive tract to become well… something else, something more…

Are we really falling for the old “once you have enough stuff you’ll be happy” trick? Yup!

Some of us have even managed to convince ourselves that replacing “stuff” with “experiences” actually changes the formula. (Nice try buddy!)

Other’s have tackled the problem with minimalism, you know, less stuff. Let me tell you, minimalism lives close to the the heart of this turtle (heck, I wear my home on my back!) but having “just the right amount of stuff” is not the whole answer either. (Nice try other buddy!)

These days we can’t seem to decide if we want to hop into our VW vans on the road to Hippy Bliss or put on our climbing gloves to scale the corporate ladder to Alpha status. We’ve ended up in some hellish In-Between with no clear idea of which direction to look.

We’re getting dragged into various traps: dumb purchases, contentless dramas, ultimately empty TV shows, unbearably expensive secondary educations, lucratively boring careers, uncertain health diets, embarrassing surgeries, insanity mortgages (“mortgage” literally means “death pledge” in French. I mean, come on!)*, get-rich-quick schemes, death cults, self-help books, and other abominable practices under the guise of “conventional wisdom,” and it’s destroying us from the inside out. We are rich, we can complete various critical tasks in a fraction of the time we could a century ago, and we have advanced technology and incredible medical capabilities, yet we have no idea what to do with our lives. Woo! Looks like we prioritized well…

Well there you go, that’s what we’re talking about here, what nobody else out there is talking about, or if they are they are doing it in such a way as to make it Totally No Fun.

But all you have to do is stick with me and soon we will be on the Path to Happiness, cruising with slow and deliberate steps towards Joyful Living, plodding and plotting our way to A Wonderful Time together.

Stick around.

Sincerely,

T.T.

*See!?