Dalat, 2016 / Photo by Cindy Nguyen

A lot of people think that “happiness” is always feeling pleasure.

For me, I think the “supreme blessedness” (as the Stoic philosophers say) is about not having pain (mental or physical).

We can’t always control whether we are in physical pain or not. But we can control our mind.

We can work hard in cleansing our soul. To free our soul of disturbance.

I think ultimately we all are seeking serenity, tranquility, peace, and calm. Many of us dream of relaxation in beautiful natural places. Many people dream of retiring, of no longer working and doing what brings them stress, and finally feel tranquility in their heart.

How I seek to have less disturbance in my life

Therefore I feel a practical aim we can have in our photography and life is to seek to have less disturbance in our lives.

1. Spending less time on social media

For example, social media often disturbs me. Whenever I login to social media, I cannot help but feel envious of others. Envious of others who have more likes, followers, and ‘better’ images than me.

Spending less time on social media has subtracted feelings of envy and jealousy. Therefore I feel more peace, calm, and tranquility. And therefore I feel more “happy.”

2. Blocking gear websites

Not only that, but I often feel a sense of dissatisfaction with my equipment or gear when I’m always on gear review websites or blogs. Therefore by blocking these sites from my web browser (Stayfocusd Chrome plugin/WasteNoTime Safari plugin), I find more contentment and peace with the gear I already have. I have less disturbance in my soul.

3. Not comparing myself to anybody else (but my past self)

Lastly, I am often dissatisfied because I feel I should always be achieving more. I become envious of those who are doing more great things in the world. But to find more peace, I try to count my blessings, and things I have already achieved in the past. Now one thing I am trying to do is not compare myself to anybody else— only against myself. As long as I’m improving today when compared to yesterday, I should be happy.

Conclusion

Everyday, seek to be less envious, disturbed, stressed, anxious, and frustrated. Happiness is all about subtraction of desires and frustrations, rather than “adding” pleasure.

Happiness can be achieved by subtraction. So everyday seek to subtract negative feelings, negative memories, and negative thoughts.

Then once you empty yourself, you will be left with clean and pure soul. And once you’re at that point, you can devote all of your energy and life empowering others.

Always,
Eric

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