From the desk of BigMike
Founder and CEO of Advanced Nutrients
Gazing at your lush green crop packed with fat colas bursting with trichomes…
Inhaling the sweet, pungent aroma of the flowers…
Knowing that you’ve done what you can to bring your crop to its true genetic potential, thereby maximizing potency, flavor, and yield (and, ultimately, financial value).
Sharing it with friends…
Seeing the looks on their faces after they smell the terps and take a hit — how damn impressed they are with what you’ve cultivated.
And the compliments that follow — especially the ones that come from experienced fellow growers (usually accompanied by a flicker of jealousy in their eyes).
Then there’s the sale — your buyer happily paying top dollar for your product, regardless of how flooded the market is.
You’ve done something incredible…
You’ve stolen fire from the gods.
You took a tiny little seed or clone and transformed it into something extraordinary.
Something that heals people.
That makes them happy.
In fact, what I just described…
That whole lifecycle from seed to sale…
Well, that’s the stuff that makes me beyond happy.
It fills me with immense satisfaction.
Which is why, since 1983, I’ve dedicated my life to it.
And when you think about it…
Our entire industry was built on people’s pursuit of happiness.
I mean, why do people consume cannabis? To be happy, right?
Sure, it may be to help ease some mental, emotional, or physical challenges they’re dealing with — like pain, nausea, or anxiety.
Or maybe they just like to get HIGH. (:
I know I sure do.
But behind it all is people’s desire to feel good.
To be happy.
And that’s what this post is about — happiness.
That elusive state of mind we all want, but that, oddly enough, can somehow seem further out of reach the more we pursue it.
Now, some of what I’m about to share may be a bit… unorthodox.
With that in mind…
You may be familiar with James Caan’s quote, “Observe the masses and do the opposite.”
That’s how I’ve lived my entire life.
And one of the many things I love about our community, one of the many reasons I feel so proud to be part of it, is that not a whole heck of a lot of us conform to the status quo.
Growers, well, we tend to march to the beat of a different drum.
This is especially true for those of us who grew big during the dark ages of our industry (when, day in, day out, we risked years or even decades in prison to cultivate the plant we love).
And, by and large, it’s still true today.
Now, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all experienced trauma and face challenges.
Every one of us.
And our world is teeming with difficulties, uncertainties, and injustices.
We can make ourselves miserable if we waste our time worrying about even a fraction of the challenges we face.
The stress, anxiety, and despair that goes with agonizing over troubles (whether ours, others, or the world’s) can become crushing.
It plays a major role in why so many people are chronically unhappy
A 2020 study found that only 14% of Americans consider themselves happy.
Of course, this study was done when people were hunkering down in isolation due to COVID.
Even so, I doubt the percentage of people who are reasonably happy today is much higher.
In fact, I’d wager that a helluva lot more people are generally unhappy than they are happy.
Maybe — hopefully — I’m wrong.
Especially since most of us have SO many reasons to be happy.
Wherever we fall on that scale between misery and happiness,
one thing I think we can agree on is that we could ALL use a little more happiness in our lives.
Now, when I say “happy,” I’m not talking about being blissed out.
What I mean by happy is…
An overall sense of well-being, of being at peace with life — even when surrounded by chaos — functioning well, having a degree of control over your mental and emotional state, experiencing your share of positive emotions and contentment while allowing yourself to embrace uncomfortable emotions as well, being grateful for what you have, and having meaningful relationships and a sense of purpose.
And just like we don’t want to suppress those not-so-fun emotions like anger, fear, and sadness — otherwise we block our ability to fully feel enjoyment as well — we don’t want to ignore our problems.
Acceptance is key.
We need to see things as they are and accept reality AS IT IS. We don’t need to like it, but we must at least accept it. Because arguing with reality is not only futile, it’s a direct route to suffering.
Many people spend their lives regretting the past, worrying about the future, and mentally complaining about the things in life they don’t like — and we can all find plenty not to like.
But it’s been my experience that if we want to change our reality, it’s best not to resist it, but instead, accept it and take bold action to create a new reality.
As the late Earl Nightingale said…
“Most people tiptoe their way through life, hoping they make it safely to death.”
Many don’t have goals (at least not goals that excite them).
They sweat the small stuff (and almost everything is small stuff).
They ask themselves questions with answers that don’t serve them.
They let fear paralyze them.
Counterintuitive as it may feel, action alleviates anxiety.
Inaction makes it worse.
The road less traveled — that leads to the most kick-ass, breathtaking mountain tops — is to…
Set clear goals (especially ones we’re passionate about achieving).
Take undaunted strides toward them (including through whatever fears stand in our path, and fear almost always accompanies those goals that light a fire in our belly).
And when obstacles arise, ask ourselves questions with answers that DO serve us — questions like How can I overcome this? What can I learn from this? How can this make me better? What good can come from this?
The questions we ask ourselves hold an immense amount of power because they instruct our subconscious mind to search for answers.
So asking the right questions is key, especially when we’re in a jam.
Let’s face it, life can be TOUGH sometimes.
When the bottom falls out from under us, it can be a challenge to just get through it.
I’ve been there — MANY times (I detail much of it in my upcoming memoir Marijuana Don).
When we face difficulties, it helps to remember…
The good is there — we just need to look for it.
Asking the right questions can help us find it.
I’ll write another post about challenging experiences I’ve been through — the stuff of cannabis growers and entrepreneurs’ worst nightmares — that turned out to be among the best things that have ever happened to me.
As long as you’re subscribed to my email list, I’ll shoot it to you as soon as it’s ready.
Contribution — I’ve written before about how dying on the operating table and then being brought back to life awakened some sort of longing in me to contribute and serve others more.
There are countless examples of celebrities and wealthy individuals who found that — regardless of how much fame, money, sex, and power they had — they felt empty inside.
What filled the hole was philanthropy.
I think Albert Schweitzer said it best…
“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.”
BIG TRUTH right there.
Personally, I believe in giving of both time and money, but during times when we’re running lean on one, we can always give more of the other.
And you can’t go wrong with random acts of kindness.
Optimism — because, well, for one, it gets better results.
As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”
It’s so much more empowering and fulfilling to see that glass they’re always talking about as half-full instead of half-empty.
Too much negative thinking can push happiness far out of reach.
I’ve never met a complainer, negative thinker, or worrywart I’d consider happy.
We all worry (especially when things turn south).
But many people do it incessantly.
Optimism just feels SO damn much better.
For some it comes naturally; for others, it takes a lot of practice.
However, becoming more optimistic is something everyone is capable of.
Personally, I find it incredibly liberating.
Gratitude — It always feels better to be grateful for the half-glass we do have instead of bumming out on the half we don’t.
We all have things in our lives to be grateful for.
Even when things turn to shit (which happens in everyone’s life from time to time) at least we probably still have things like legs to walk, eyes to see, and a heartbeat keeping us alive.
And maybe we even have a roof over our head and food in the pantry. It’s certainly more than some people have. More than a LOT of people have.
We should never undervalue having these fundamentals, which can be SO easy to take for granted.
Even if we want so much more than we have, it’s important to be grateful for what we do have as we strive for that “more” that we want.
But we do need to avoid the “want more” disease — where we more, more, MORE — because always wanting more — especially if we’re not happy with what we do have — will leave us in a perpetual state of unhappiness.
Life has proven to me over and over that we get what we focus on.
When we focus on the good things in life — the things we are grateful for — more of it tends to show up in our life. The same is true when we focus on lack — we get more lack.
I realize that may sound a bit woo-woo. But some of the woo-woo stuff has done me right.
Look, as long as we have an egoic mind, we will ALWAYS want more.
The ego requires it — more and more of this and that to add to our sense of self.
But more doesn’t equal happiness — because as many of us have found, there’s no end to it!
However, there is something about the pursuit of goals — the journey TO the destination — that I enjoy to no end.
For me, at least, the juice is in the journey.
It’s not about how much we have.
There are people who are happy who live in huts and others who are miserable in mansions.
It all comes down to how we see things.
It’s about attitude.
And gratitude is a direct line to happiness.
Which is why I make a conscious effort to keep a sense of gratitude in my heart as often as possible.
I think about the things I love and enjoy. That make me happy. I’ve benefited tremendously from this practice.
I especially enjoy reflecting on the things I’m grateful for after consuming some good cannabis or psilocybin. Talk about getting blissed out! Wow!
I’ll write another post about things I love and am grateful for involving cannabis, cultivation, our community, business, etc. If you’re subscribed to this blog, I’ll email it to you as soon as it’s ready.
I bet you’ll feel the same about many of the things on my list.
Presence — Instead of dwelling on the half that seems to be missing from our glass, the real boon is to remain present enough with what we do have and immerse ourselves in the experience of drinking it. To savor the flavor.
In fact, a lot of people have found that one of the keys to staying lean and healthy is to be present with each bite of food. To really taste every bite completely. They can eat less yet be completely satiated.
Otherwise, it’s too easy to end up stuffing one’s face like a damn animal. Especially when the munchies kick in. (:
Now, I’m forever storming goals that inspire me. It’s just how I’m wired.
I’m a hunter, tracking down what excites me.
But I’m conscious to avoid becoming so consumed with the future that I miss the present moment — the journey.
I do my best to stay present as often as possible.
When I’m working toward a goal (the accomplishment of which is in the future), I focus on the task I’m doing right NOW to reach that goal.
This not only decreases anxiety and bumps up happiness, it produces superior results, because the more present we are with something the better we do it.
Now, I’ll admit, this is a moment-to-moment game.
That egoic mind of ours seems intent on forcing our focus OUT of the moment (and into either the past, future or the story of who we THINK we are).
But even a little more presence can make a big difference in our lives.
No one is always present. Heck, we built religions around those few individuals who emanated constant presence.
However, simply adding more stretches of awareness — a few seconds here, a few seconds there — can have a significant impact on life, happiness, and inner peace.
Just so we’re clear, what I mean by awareness is that part of us that’s always been there. Thoughts come and go. But that invisible part of us that’s aware of thought (and of everything else we experience) is the awareness I’m referring to.
Now, a few things that are great at pulling us into the present moment are sports — especially extreme sports — immediate danger, and looking into the eyes of our newborn baby.
And for me, flying helicopters packed with AAA bud through the Death Curve did the trick.
Being present in our daily life takes practice. It’s a constant ping-ponging between awareness and thought.
I have a number of close friends who swear by their daily meditation practice and tell me it helps them live in the moment more often.
And when you think about it, the present moment really is the ONLY place happiness can be found. Past and future exist only in our minds.
A few other things that can make people happy include…
Having a sense of purpose — My sense of purpose (building Advanced Nutrients, making cannabis an acceptable and everyday part of healing humanity, and bringing cannabis to its true genetic potential) certainly brings me a lot of happiness.
I can’t imagine going through life without a clear sense of purpose.
And cannabis IS my purpose.
Spiritual pursuits — a lot of people find happiness and fulfillment in their spiritual practices. Having that connection with a higher source can definitely bring us a lot of joy.
Many people find it helps fill that “hole” inside them.
And I can’t say enough about eating clean, healthy foods and exercising regularly.
I’ve found that NOT doing them certainly curtails my happiness. Eating crap every day and remaining inactive, well… our bodies were not designed for that.
Many people find their greatest happiness comes from raising children.
And of course, there’s firing up some kickass cannabis — BOOM! That definitely makes me happy. (:
There are plenty of other things people find happiness in. And I have no idea what makes YOU happy.
I do know that the things we talked about have benefited a lot of people, myself included.
Until next time, I wish you much happiness and heavy harvests of big, fat, sugary buds that blow your friends away.
P.S. I’ve heard great things about the following resources:
- The Happiness Lab podcast from Yale professor Dr Laurie Santos
- Good Life Project podcast
- The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor
- Stumbling On Happiness by Dan Gilbert
- Everything Is F*cked by Mark Manson
- How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie
- Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie
- The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle
- Happy (2011 film)