• Colin Huntley

The Voice of Reason (The Enemy of Happiness)

Can you think of the last time you thought of something wonderful? Was it yesterday? 5 minutes ago? Last year? Was it something along the lines of how amazing would it be to open up my own cafe and line the shelves with all of my favorite books? or did it sound something like how incredible would it be if I bought a plane ticket to Paris right now?

Do you notice how these types of thoughts sort of move through your veins, into your feet and then back up to your head again? These types of thoughts are not only exciting to imagination, but to the body itself. When you think about doing something incredible, your body starts gearing up for action, ready to help propel you into a mysterious future. And then what do you do? You consult the voice of reason - the why in why not.

That consultation usually ends up pretty convincing. I have to pay the rent. Mom said it's a bad idea and she wouldn't lie. I don't have enough money right now. The reason the consultation is convincing is because it's almost always a series of absolutely true justifications. And so we justify our wonder away. We sit down our inner-child and explain why it's just not practical to get excited about things like that, and little by little that inner-child's faith that they might get to engage with the world again is diminished.

Wonder: a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.

By definition, wonder is not: expected, familiar, or explicable. Yet, the voice of reason roots its arguments only in expectations of fear, what it's familiar with, and what it can explain. If you live according to the voice of reason, you cannot experience wonder. Reason and wonder are opposites. I would go as far as to say they are enemies, except Wonder is too wrapped up in its own beauty to care about Reason, whereas Reason is so insecure that its life's mission is to undermine Wonder.

The human spirit is infinitely capable of thriving under conditions of stress and chaos. But most of us live very orderly and controlled lives. We know what degree we're after, what job that will likely turn into, what salary that will look like, what sort of house we'll be able to spend our lives paying for, and what age we'll likely retire. Hopefully there's some beauty in all of it.

It's hard to smile at your barista when you're internally trying to remember the justifications you have for working at the job you're on your way to. It's not easy to create something beautiful when you've spent all your creative energy on fables and fairytales about how passionate you are about mid-level marketing in a job interview earlier that day. This is where the voice of reason gets you.

A little known secret is that the most valuable thing you can be is happy. It isn't successful. It isn't wise, or interesting, or cool. It's happy. The most valuable people are the people who live in wonder, people who have ever-widening perspective and act in love instead of fear. The people who make the most unreasonable decisions, who put all of their money into joy instead of pleasure, who always have time to stop and chat, those people don't go hungry. There's no bad situation those people find themselves in that somebody won't help them through.

The voice of reason is the enemy of happiness. We don't realize it, but ignoring reason and listening to the call of heart is the most courageous, responsible thing we could possibly do. It will amount to more abundance and love than we could fathom, and will create the ultimate safety net of people who love us and would take care of us in our darkest times. There's nothing to fear, living in love and passion. The voice of reason doesn't want you to know that.