Friday, 13 November 2009

Happiness: The "cruise" part of financial cruise control

Regular visitors to these pages will know that  "financial cruise control" is what I'm after, and its about way more than money.  I find, not surprisingly, that it has three parts:

Financial -  the money part;
Cruise -      the fun and happiness part, and:
Control -    the strategic, conceptual part, the dialectics of life.

And why am I doing this?  I want loads of boodle?  No, actually.  I'm a control freak?  Not at all.

I'm doing this because I want to be happy in this, the springtime of my senescence (Gore Vidal).  So the middle part is, naturally enough, central to the whole project. 

The best way to find out exactly what it is that makes you happy, so you can get more of it?  Journaling, without question, or as we say today, blogging.

(Actually I still like the old kind, the blank book and pencil kind, and you just have to search "journaling" on Amazon to see how popular it is.  And as for googling or twitter-searching "happiness", oh boy!  We are all getting desperate.  And its not surprising when you think how much shopping we are all doing.  But I'm coming to that).

It turns out that journaling can not only help us find out what makes us happy, the very process of journaling itself produces happiness.

Read on:

If there is one thing you should do, its refresh your memory (or in my case, find out for the first time, can you believe?) what  Epicurus had to say about happiness.  He's is my man, and he lived in a commune, dude.  Way back then in 350 BC, or thereabouts.

He was the first (as far as we know), and he said it all, set the framework.  Everything since has just been details.

Photo downloaded from Flickr under Creative Commons License.  Snastopoulos

Epicurus believed we could all be happy, but are looking in the wrong place.  Contrary to popular belief he did not advocate self-indulgence.  He was more interested in frugality and quality: knowing what we really need.  Simple pleasures that really satisfy.  Or, to put it another way, financial cruise control.

That's the whole thing wrapped up, right there.

Epicurus felt that there are three requirements for happiness:-

1.   Friends: good companions, constant communication and interaction among people who like and support each other.  Absolutely.

2.   Freedom.  Don't worry, not the eagle and gun kind: it means not keeping up with the Jones's, which gives you freedom from financial worries.  Doing your own thing.  Modest pleasures.  Simple pleasures, Affordable luxuries.  Self-sufficiency even.  This is actually the hardest one of the three to achieve, thanks to recreational shopping and the advertising that drives it.

And finally, get this ....

3.   An Analysed Life.  In other words, journaling, blogging, the lovely process of stepping back, taking stock, reflecting on what matters, thinking about "your place in the family of things" (Mary Oliver).   What a brilliant guy.

So the first thing you gotta do, as soon as you have about 10 minutes to spare, is click right here and watch this totally brilliant vid. about Epicurus and his ideas about financial cruise control.

And I'm going to keep right on trucking with this little blog of mine, which led me to Epicurus (better late than never), and I have to say is making me very  ..........   happy.

And I'm also working on all that other stuff.  Definitely.

So come back soon to see what I find out, but while your here, why not subscribe or share this blog, or become a follower (right there in the side-bar) ?

And meanwhile, here are some simple epicurean pleasures to enjoy, from Epicurus' birthplace in Samos, Greece:

A simple pleasure  
Downloaded from Flickr under Creative Commons License  Vtveen.

Another simple pleasure   
Downloaded from Flickr under Creative Commons License  Vtveen

And yet another simple pleasure. 
Downloaded from Flickr .  angelsgermain.

You see, its not so difficult.

And you don't have to go to Samos.  Here is simple pleasure right in my own back yard last Spring.

And don't forget this one (See Duality in the Archive)


  1. I feel sure i am descended from epicurus on my mother's side...what a great guy!

  2. Hey Sarah Louise,

    I really enjoyed this post. You're really going with it!

    I whole-heartedly believe in all 3 items you mentioned. And I did watch the bit on Epicurus just now.

    #1) I have the most amazing friends that have supported me with all of my endeavors. You know the saying, "You're only as great as the company you keep"? It's true! If I have any brilliant ideas, I run them through my friends immediately. We piggyback off of each others opinions on the matter and they will support me throughout the process. Together, we make Awesome happen!

    When I started blogging (not too long ago), I had no idea what I was doing. I had one friend provide me a crash course on SEOing, another showed me how to tweak out php/html code, and another that helped create my sites logo. And everyday I get emails with content ideas for upcoming articles. It's like my own informational highway at the tip of my fingers.

    #2) By no means is my lifestyle lavished. It's comfortable for living in the Silicon Valley, one of US's most expensive areas to live in. And yes I do have simple pleasures.

    Take care.