The Happiness and the Joy of the Smaller Things in Life

Not long ago I made a post about Flow and the Optimal Experience of Life which addresses subjects like the modern pursuit of happiness, the culture of personality and how to live a more happy and fulfilling life. Well, one of my interests is neuroscience and I’m always looking to discover and to learn more about how the mind works and one thing that I learned so far is that Homo Sapiens, the Wise Man in Latin, is actually an emotional creature prone to various shortcomings and biases. So, no matter how many words I write and how convincing I’m trying to make my posts, appealing to rationality will always be less persuasive than appealing to emotions, hence in this post I will give concrete examples that can be seen and heard, examples on how to find flow and to achieve an optimal experience of life.

It started with a Youtube video recommendation, having the words Oslo and Norway in the title and a thumbnail with a guy holding a bottle in his hand. Well, I’m not really into guys with bottles in their hands and it did seem a weird recommendation but I do am interested in Norway and in the Nordic culture in general so I said “What the hell, it’s a short video anyway, let’s see what’s about” and clicked on the video. It was a strange video with a guy doing strange but simple, creative things, I’ve never seen these kinds of videos before. So I went to this guy’s channel and watched a second video and a third video. And I continued watching. I was trying to figure out what this guy is up to. And then I realized it:

The Happiness and the Joy is in the Smaller Things in Life. What this guy, Tor Eckhoff, is doing on his Youtube channel, apetor, is basically having a naive, childlike approach to life. He is more than 50 years old but he is having a fresh,  inquisitive, creative approach to the world around him. He is living in a small city, somewhere on the long, rugged and fjord like coast of Norway but this is not stopping him to find fun ways to discover the environment that surrounds him and to live a full and interesting life. Somewhere on the path of growing up we lose our child-like view of the world, something small like a puddle of water or mud, ice and snow, a frog, a butterfly, a flower, a stick, would excite us and trigger our imagination and make us come up with fun ways of using them because that’s how children discover the world that surrounds them. Everything is new and exciting for a child, everything is interesting and worthy of exploration. Somewhere on the line we lose this simple joy derived from simple and small things, we lose the Joie de vivre, the Joy of Life, we start acting like adults in a world where there are less and less discoveries to be made. We start learning how the world works and we start forming mental models that most probably stick with us our whole lives and in this process things start to look “Deja vu”, already seen, they start to excite us less and less and to lose their flavor.

Kids and curiosity

“The World used to be a bigger place”.

Well, anyway, less words and more action. This is Tor’s Youtube chanel, it’s called apetor. And here are some examples of his videos.


First snow and an ice cold bath

Trip to Mountain

Trip to Oslo

Three-sector Theory

Three-sector Theory

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Economists Allan Fisher, Colin Clark and Jean Fourastié noticed that a country’s level of economic development is determined by the income generated from its main economic sector.

Countries in an early state of economic development obtain most of their national income from the primary sector (extraction of raw materials).

Countries in a more advanced state of economic development obtain most of their national income from the secondary sector (manufacturing).

Countries with highly developed economies obtain most of their national income from the tertiary sector (services).


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Spring Rain – Haiku

Spring Rain

Spring Rain by John French Sloan - Haiku
Spring Rain by John French Sloan

Rain, a time to write

Rain and spring, a time to run

Spring, a time to live

Paradox of Choice vs. Random Choice

The Paradox of Choice occurs in situations when you have to chose between multiple options that have similar levels of appeal. For example, it’s easy to chose between three flavors of ice cream but when you have to chose between thirty flavors of ice cream you are most likely to succumb to the paradox of choice, you weight the pros and cons of choosing a flavor over another one  and this makes your choice much harder.

If you are like me and have an open mind, have an expanded horizon and various subjects you are interested in, you might be faced with the paradox of choice when it comes to selecting the next activity you should do. For example, I have a file with various things that I’m interested in and like to do, each one of these things written on a line: reading, playing chess, learning foreign languages, writing and so on. So when I’m feeling bored and lacking the inspiration on knowing what to do next, I look into this file and select something to do. The problem is, sometimes multiple options are equally attractive and I get into an analysis paralysis and I end up doing nothing.

So I wrote a script as a solution for these types of situations, a simple script in Python that reads the file containing the random activities and interests and randomly prints out one of them in the console. That’s it. I only see one option and go with it. Does this solution work? It works for me. I outsource my decision making process to a simple script that does all the work for me.

import random

f = open(‘randoms’, ‘r’)
randoms = f.readlines()


Paradox of Choice Vs. Random Choice python script

Python even has one neat function called choice. Random choice. A good solution to the Paradox of Choice.

Concept of the Day: Contest Mobility

Contest mobility is a system of a changing social status hierarchy which is seen as a “contest”, a competition where elite status is the end goal. Basically, a contest mobility can be seen as a meritocracy in which achievement is attributed to effort and where attributes such as enterprise and perseverance are valued.

The term contest mobility was used in a 1960 work by Ralph H. Turner in which compared the American and British systems of secondary education and found that in the American system contest mobility is the norm.

In such a system, elite status is earned through effort and dedication and credentials largely established by the society are used to identify the social status and class of the individual. Credentials can be material assets or skills.

Contest mobility is usually associated with the American Dream and the notion that through hard work and determination everything is possible.

David Bradley, White Earth Ojibwe American Dream II
David Bradley, White Earth Ojibwe American Dream II


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