Chip Grossman - May 14, 2017
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about well-being and how to thrive in life. If you know me well, you know that I’m a contemplative person. Well-being is that one thing that I truly love to think and talk about.
Throughout the first 18 years of my life, I experienced happiness in random intervals. It would strike me at certain times, often during moments of accomplishment, and then be gone before I knew it. I didn’t understand how to make happiness arise naturally - the only thing I knew was that I felt happiness when I accomplished something. Thus, during high school I set out on a path of accomplishment. I worked hard to put myself in a position to play college lacrosse at a good school, confident that these things would bring me happiness. So I went out and made those things happen, getting a bid to play lax and study at Colby College. But did these things bring me that level of happiness that I had hoped for and expected?
As a freshman at Colby College, I remember the difficulty of realizing how much I had while at the same time feeling an emptiness inside myself. I was walking that fine line between doing well and feeling like a mess on the inside. I was functioning at a high level: I went to class, got good grades, went to practice and all the parties. But the cycle drained me, and wasn’t good for my mental or physical health. It wasn’t balanced. As a result, I lived in a constant state of anxiety, and it was incredibly difficult for me to enjoy the moment. So I did what many college kids do: Blow off the gradually increasing anxiety on the weekends by partying with my boys (shoutout Lodge and Lake House). School, Practice, Party, Repeat. That’s how it went! Unfortunately, however, this self-reinforcing cycle wasn’t getting me closer to authentic happiness.
Then, one night in November of my freshman year, everything changed. The sudden death of Derrik Flahive, a teammate, got me thinking about the way I was living my life. In the weeks following Derrik's death, as people talked about his impact and the way he lived, I realized that he had lived a life in the pursuit of authentic happiness. A life in pursuit of the Now. During those few weeks in November, between reflections on his life and discussions with a counselor, I began to realize that my understanding of happiness was off. We don’t achieve authentic happiness just by achieving things. Happiness is something we create and have a high degree of control over. It’s about perspective. Happiness is a process, and it takes work and commitment.
Why do I want to blog?
In the 6+ years since that time, I have learned how to create authentic happiness in my own life. It took a ton of work, and I’ve been fortunate to have some incredible mentors. I want to share these things that I’ve learned in hopes that it helps you. My goal is to provide you with content that is interesting and useful. I do not to intend to portray that I am a master of any of the skills, habits, or practices I talk about. I am forever a student, and simply seeking to share the practices that I have learned and continue to work on. I’m figuring out this whole thing for myself and sharing my perspective and learnings in hopes that you might be able to relate.
I plan to use this blog to talk about a wide range of things relating to authentic happiness. For me, that could relate to literally anything such as my obsession with the Grateful Dead, favorite books, modern neuroscience findings, and lots more. It’s an open book, and I look forward to writing this story with you!