4 Principles to Guarantee Your Sadness

charlie brown_depressedHave you ever met someone who is amazing at being miserable? You may have echoed the words of Sally as she addressed Charlie Brown when she said: “I’m not sure what happiness means, but I look in your eyes and I know that it isn’t there…”

Only one in three Americans say they’re very happy, according to a Harris Poll. That means there are a lot of people who are good at being sad. So what’s their secret?

After almost 8 years of facilitating Play Theory workshops and teaching the principles of happiness as a skill, I’ve observed that sadness is also a skill. Here are 4 principles to guarantee your sadness every day:

Never pay attention.

Maintain your mind and heart in a constant state of daydreaming and absent mindedness. Don’t make eye contact with those you are communicating with, don’t pay attention to the details of conversation, and make sure you are always in the future or the past but never the present.

This will ensure that you never witness the beautiful moments all around you, that you’re never fully aware of your environment, and most of all that you won’t recognize and seize the important opportunities that will come your way.

Cultivate Negativity

Focus on pride, fear, cynicism, and low self esteem. This will rob you of the courage and zeal you might have had to take risks, learn, and grow. Look for the worst in everything and everyone

This enmity and comparison toward others and low self worth will ensure that you are never happy with what you have, and are critical and judging of everyone around you. Stay in your comfort zone, idle and cozy. Never leave no matter how magical and wondrous the stretch zone might appear. Tell yourself there is nothing out there for you but pain and humiliation.

Say “No”

Turn down and question everything that comes your way. No matter how nice or enticing it might seem, don’t accept offers of any kind. Close off your mind and your heart to everything and everyone that is reaching out to you.

Doing this will foster an insurmountable obstacle to all collaboration, feedback, and communication. Once you are successfully closed off, your progress will be halted and you will be able to freely wallow in your inadequate and pathetic state.

Look Inward.

Serve you, help you, love YOU. Convincing yourself that you are the only one who matters will guarantee the woe of Misery as an eternal companion. Friendship and laughter will become foreign to you and all lonely and cold you will have only yourself with time.

As CS Lewis said you must protect your heart, “you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” (CS Lewis)

By carefully applying these 4 principles in your life I guarantee that you will be more sad and empty than you’ve ever imagined. It takes time and care to master the skill of sadness so be patient with yourself and make sure you work hard at it. With time you will be miserable, lonely, and depressed like so many others among you.

And remember that it is a choice to be sad. When the choice arises, tell yourself: “things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.”

So what will it be? You decide.

Do you like our list? What would YOU add to it? Comment below.


goodreads.com/…/3058-to-love-at-all-is-to-be-vulnerable-love-anything theharrispoll.com/…/Are_You_Happy__It_May_Depend_on_Age__Race_Ethnicity_and_Other_Factors



Let Go and Love Life Now

Let go & play

It takes wisdom to know when to Let Go of the dream that is not coming to fruition and instead embrace the good life we are already living. It is interesting that in our current culture so many do not suffer from scarcity but are instead languishing in too much. Clinging to something we lack will only create a false sense of scarcity in our present and blind us to the joy we can experience in each moment. Recognize if you truly have enough for your needs and most of your wants. It is well to recall no one gets everything they want.  Let it go.

Hiking – An Uncanny Resemblance to Life


Whether it’s the fresh air, beautiful views or the sacred stillness of the surroundings, there are few things as vitalizing to me as hiking in the beautiful backdrops of Mother Nature.

I’ve always appreciated the parallels between life and hiking and consider them far too relatable to withhold interpretation. Life is full of struggles and if you’ve ever been hiking you are well aware of the self inflicted misery that often accompanies the beautiful scenery.

The harder the climb, the better the payoff

This has been true of every sweaty, summit-quashing endeavor I’ve undertaken. Without fail it is always the highest, most majestic peaks that demand your most valiant efforts. In life we are often required to exude more energy and effort than we think possible to achieve the things that really matter. A few of these things might include family, education, and enduring friendship. Its in the thorough undertaking of monumental tasks that true satisfaction is acquired. Sometimes we ask ourselves: “Why on earth did I willing choose to endure this?” but the complaints are silenced by the beauty and sense of accomplishment of turning that last corner and exposing yourself to the wondrous view.

Enjoy the view

Once you sit atop the summit it is in the emotionally captured panoramic beauty that we find satisfaction. The quiet stream, the wildlife, the sky, these are the threads that make up the beautifully woven experience. While hiking for extended periods of time it becomes routine to focus so much on where you are walking that you don’t realize where you are going. With so much beauty all around you as you hike and live, it seems a tragedy to not occasionally take a break and enjoy your surroundings. How many flowers have you missed? How many needy souls have been neglected of your light? Stop and take it in for it is in beholding the beauty that we are truly living.

There are many more observations to be made from this insightful analogy. What are some principles that you have identified in relation to hiking? What Play Theory Principles did you observe in this post? Please share and comment below.

Magic and Failure

Awesome magicians at Sundance Film Festival 2014. Check them out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FIlthyLiars

Awesome magicians at Sundance Film Festival 2014. Check them out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FIlthyLiars

I’ll never forget the first magic kit I bought as a kid and how entranced I was in the world of illusion. Seeing the faces of my friends as I made a coin disappear, connected and then broke apart two metal rings, or mysteriously revealed the card they had randomly selected from the deck was an experience to be cherished. It’s no wonder then that the “David and Leeman: Magic and Failure” workshop at the Sundance Film Festival 2014 in Park City immediately caught my eye.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were teaching about the importance of failure and how that is the only way to learn and become successful in the magic industry but also in any facet of life. Here is the “How to Fail Well” list that they provided. I have found it very helpful and profound:

  • A Place to be Bad

    • You need to find a place where it is safe for you to fail and where the stakes are low.
  • Do it Now

    • Waiting to perform until you’ve perfected the act is like waiting for all the stop lights to turn green before leaving on vacation. Preparation is important, but becoming paralyzed by the fear of failure is the far more common impediment.
  • Desire Criticism

    • If you aren’t asking for feedback, you are essentially saying that you are perfect and that you don’t need to improve anything which we all know is simply not true.
  • Find a Mentor

    • All of the greatest success stories in history involve a mentor. Someone to teach, lift, and give correction will always make a difference in the rate of your progress.
  • Assess Failure

    • Evaluation is a crucial step in moving forward and progressing. You have to adjust and learn from your mistakes or you might as well have not made them in the first place.

I love the deck of cards we were given and trying out the new magic trick that they taught our group, but more than anything I love and appreciate the concept of failing well in order to truly progress that they taught. We are often afraid to talk about failure almost as if it’s something that only happens to weak people, but I have learned that the opposite is true. The strong and successful people are the ones who have learned and mastered the art of failing well. These are the ones who innovate, reach their dreams, and make a profound impact on the lives of others. Use this list to try something new and start the process of mastering something that will benefit your life. Just do it…

“Failure is the opportunity to begin again, only this time with more experience.” -Henry Ford

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Snapshot-Let Go & Play


“Let Go & Play” means you are not concerned with your ego or what others think of you.  Don’t worry about looking stupid and everything is 10,000x more fun. A prime example is in children. They even did in the late 1800s ; )

~Becca, Age 16


Snapshot-Say Yes And


“Say Yes And” means validating others and taking the offers that they give you. It’s not literally always saying “Yes”.  It is about building off of what they bring to the table. For instances if someone invites you to do something harmful or dangerous just say “No thanks, but we could do this instead” and offer a safe alternative. When people “Say Yes And” looking for what can be built upon rather than what can be criticized there is a positive feeling for everyone. Validating people creates a fun, friendly environment.

So the next time your dog steals your burger….

“Say Yes! And take a photo.”

~Becca, Age 16

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Play Theory in Trying Times

Everybody wants happiness, nobody wants pain, but you can't have a rainbow, without a little rain.

“Everybody wants happiness, nobody wants pain, but you can’t have a rainbow, without a little rain.” – Zion Lee

I was enjoying dinner on Sunday October 20th when I got the phone call. I had different ideas of what the updates might be about my Mom’s health after a fall she had but I never would’ve guessed that her X-ray was going to reveal stage 4 cancer that had spread from her lungs to other vital organs. Finding out that my mom had only 3-6 months left to live without treatment caused me to ask some serious questions. Feelings of uncertainty, fear, and even anger took the place of other important emotions like love, peace, and joy.

Let Go and Play

When your load is heavy it’s imperative that you lighten it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with grieving and it could be argued that grieving is a part of letting go, but when that grieving spills over into depression and anger it is time to let go.

Be 100% Present

Some things can’t be changed, but your perspective about them can be. My mom has stage 4 cancer. There’s very little that I can do to change that, but I CAN make her laugh, I CAN tell her that I love her and I CAN enjoy the moment and time that she has left.

Yes And

You’ve simply got to roll with the punches. You can’t progress through a trial until you accept a situation for what it is. What you do with the offer that life gives you is up to you, but you must accept reality before you can make a real decision about how to move forward best.

Look Outward

The hardest times in my life have often been when I am being selfish. In my current situation I could certainly feel sorry for myself, but to what avail? It is energizing to serve, it is empowering to love, and it is crucial to look outward in times of need whether that is to serve or to seek strength that you may not have.

I believe in miracles and am certainly hoping for them but I am also preparing for whatever tragedy may come my way. The saying “When it rains it pours” has new meaning to me at this trying time in my life but I am grateful that I have been blessed with a sturdy raft to help me navigate the treacherous waters of hardship. These 4 principles have saved me time and time again and helped restore the love, peace, and joy that I had lost sight of for a season. I hope these wonderful principles can aid you in your journey as well, especially when the waters are rough.

Snapshot- Look Outward


I am in leadership at my school and I use the Play Theory principles all the time.

I have to “Be 100% Present” to be effective in my role and to get good grades.  I also do better in my public speaking assignments if I “Let Go & Play” and don’t take myself too seriously especially if I make a mistake.  An important part of leadership is “Saying Yes And” to others ideas and creating together.  “Look Outward” envelops all the other principles into one.  You have to “Be 100% Present” to notice others around you.  When you “Let Go and Play” you won’t be thinking about yourself so you can think more about others.  When you “say Yes And” to someone it builds them up.  Combining all these and then taking action is what “Look Outward” means.  Anyone can see the kid sitting by themselves at lunch. but it takes an immense amount of strength and courage to actually go sit by them.  “Looking Outward” can be hard at times but in the end the benefits outweigh the cost. Everyone will be so glad when you choose to apply this principle in your life because it benefits everyone including you!

~Brooklyn, Age 16

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Harmony-Day-1024x683I “Let Go and Play” by learning from my mistakes and not dwelling on them.

I apply “Be 100% Present” by not worrying all day if I have work in the evening.

I “Yes And” people by not slamming down their ideas and just using my own.

I try to “Look Outward by including others in conversations and in social circles.

~Rachel Hodgson, Age 17

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