In his book, 10% Happier, newscaster Dan Harris, suggests that rather than trying to be happy all the time it's more attainable to imagine what it might feel like to be incrementally happier. A modest improvement can be transformative. Harris honestly reveals his struggle with drug addiction, ego, competitiveness and the journey he takes to quiet the negative voices in his head.
"...The voice in my head can be a total pill. I'd venture to guess yours can, too. Most of us are so entranced by the non-stop conversation we're having with ourselves that we aren't even aware we have a voice in our head...To be clear, I'm not talking about "hearing voices," I'm talking about the internal narrator, the most intimate part of our lives. The voice comes braying in as soon as we open our eyes in the morning, and then heckles us all day long with an air horn. It's a fever swamp of urges, desires, and judgments. It's fixated on the past and the future, to the detriment of the here and now. It's what has us reaching into the fridge when we're not hungry, losing our temper when we know it's not really in our best interest, and pruning our inboxes when we're ostensibly engaged in conversation with other human beings. Our inner chatter isn't all bad, of course. Sometimes it's creative, generous, or funny. but if we don't pay close attention -- which very few of us are taught how to do -- it can be a malevolent puppeteer."
Harris' exploration of faith -- encountering Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, the Dalai Lama and Mark Epstein -- leads him to meditation. When a colleague asked him "What's with you and the whole meditation thing?," he replied, "'I do it because it makes me 10% happier.' The look on her face instantly changed. What had been a tiny glimmer of scorn was suddenly transformed into an expression of genuine interest. 'Really?,' she said, 'that sounds pretty good, actually.' Boom, I'd found my schtick. 10% happier: it had the dual benefit of being catchy and true. It was the perfect answer, really -- simultaneously counterprogramming against the overpromising of the self-helpers while also offering an attractive return on investment."