Hacking used to be a bad thing, I thought. Hacking into a computer, slamming away until you break through to something that had been hidden to you.
Then I heard about “Hacking Whiskey: Smoking, Blending, Fat Washing, and Other Whiskey Experiments” by Aaron Goldfarb and the “hacking horizons” began to open.
Today a new hacking crossed my feed… happiness hacking. There is a Happiness Hack Day event in London next Saturday, June 22, 2019. This competition calls innovative thinkers to compete with their ideas to help raise happiness levels.
Happiness hacking? Oh yes.
Let’s start with how hacking works. A computer hacker looks at all the variables in a system, then repeatedly works to find an opening. This used to be done by brute force, continually “pounding” on a system until the door gave way. Today hackers are getting more sophisticated and actually working within the physics of a system itself and not necessarily the software to break in. 1 They are looking at the nature of the existing hardware and finding new ways to use what is already there to accomplish their own goals. They expect new things from what is already in existence.
Without going all physics geek on you, hackers are using something that I have used and taught for years. Physics has proven that the results of an experiment are directly affected by the expectations of the experimenter. Yeah, if that’s news to you, let it soak in a bit. I’m not talking about some weird new age-y guru spouting woo woo concepts. Decades of solid scientific documentation is everywhere that proves that what you expect has an affect on what you get. (Google “double slit experiments” for the low down.)
So back to the task at hand… hacking happiness. My expectations of my happiness have a solid power to change my life. Do you expect to be happy? Do you expect to be healthy? Do you expect love, honor, peace and harmony? For many of us, if we sit down with ourselves and ponder our deeper truths, we may discover that we don’t truly expect happiness.
If you find that deep down inside you don’t expect happiness, then know that expectation can be changed. You might be basing your expectations on events from the past, but we don’t live in the past… we live in this moment. Today is a new day. You are a new you. Let go what was and get into creating a new truth in your heart of hearts.
How to do this? Well, there’s probably a full day workshop in this idea for since you don’t want to spend all day reading this blog, I’ll cut to the basics. Change your thinking by paying attention to your thoughts. I take the first few minutes of my waking up time in the morning to paint a beautiful picture in my mind of how my day and life are going to go. As my day progresses, if I find my brain wanting to replay some unhappy moments from the past, or some worries about the future (both areas we are totally ineffective,) then I pull my mind into this moment and start visualizing positive things instead. This practice ingrains new habits in your thinking but you are actually creating new neural pathways in your brain. I suppose you could see this as hacking your brain.
I use regular meditation moments to do exactly what I just explained, pulling my mind into this moment and savoring that I am okay in this moment and visualizing more lovely happiness in the future. Need some training in this regard, hit my events calendar and join me for some practice sometime soon.
Other activities that can help you hack happiness? Here are two great articles to give you good ideas with scientific backing.
25 (scientific) happiness hacks by Alison Mango, Health.com
Happiness Hack: 10 Ways To Be Happier, Backed By Science by Teddy Lim published on LifeHack
In conclusion, I take you back to my original premise.
Hacking means pounding away on something you want until you find a way to get it.
Hacking means taking your truths and looking at them in a new light, using them in a new way. Hacking means changing your thinking to make things different in your world.
All those things are more complicated than reading this blog, or signing up for a workshop. They take practice… you must practice. I can’t do the work for you. The writers of the articles referenced here can’t do it for you. Your partner, your mom, your boss, even your shrink… no one can do the work but you. But that’s the good news. All it takes is some focused practice. Are you in? Ready to start working on changing your thinking and hacking your way into happiness.
1- Wired article by Andy Greenberg, “Forget Software—Now Hackers Are Exploiting Physics”