We Got This Little Space to be Alive

Rather than think about what makes him happy or chase after happiness, Dr. Clark Chilson shares that it is better to acknowledge how fortunate he is to be alive because life is magical, and we have this little space where we live in.

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If you chase after happiness, you're not going to find it

Nick: What would you say are some of your ikigai? Because you can obviously have more than one.

Clark: I want to be frank, I typically don't ask myself this question. And I think that when I don't feel the urge to ask the question, I probably have the greatest sense of ikigai. When I'm happy, I don't think about how happy I am, or maybe occasionally I do, but I'm just like, I'm living life, I feel like oh, this is nice.

I typically don't ask myself what my ikigai is. I will say this, however, I feel incredibly fortunate. I feel incredibly fortunate because I am very fortunate, and I think that being able to just live, this is gonna sound a little bit too dramatic maybe, but the fact that we're here for this very limited time and kind of like just being alive, it's kind of like living in a mystery, it's kind of magical.

Billions of years existed before we had human consciousness as far as we know, before we were a person, and billions of years are gonna go on after. So we got this little space to be alive, this is magical. And to just live in the magic of life. Sometimes I do feel incredibly fortunate and lucky.

It's gonna sound ridiculous, but what's there not to love about being alive? And I get that there's pain, but a lot of times, I just feel like it's great just to be alive and healthy and have this life.

Nick: That could be a very powerful activity to reflect on, the odds of you being alive and how all these people had to meet, going back from generation to generation, to now to be alive. And then for life to exist, and going back billions of years. So it is the ultimate jackpot that we're alive. And yeah, I think being present to that. I like that point.

Clark: It's precious.

Nick: I do like that idea that if you're not thinking about ikigai, it probably means you're expressing it or living it or appreciating it. So it's not something that we have to take too seriously, as well. We can just go and enjoy our friendships, our hobbies, we don't have to be chasing the dream.

Clark: Somebody said all the TED talks on happiness are basically giving the same message. I have not verified whether this is true or not. But the person said, happiness is the product of living well, it is not realised by chasing it. 

If you chase after happiness, you're not going to find it, you're just going to be dissatisfied. And that I think conceptually that's true. If I'm asking myself how happy I am, I'm usually like I'm pretty happy. But I could be happier.

While if I just say I'm just living, and I just think like, wow, this is amazing. This is amazing that I get to have this life. And I've been incredibly fortunate.