Why Non-Attachment is my Key to Happiness

As you may have been noticing over the last few months and weeks, I’ve been experiencing a shift of perspective.

Even though it’s a pretty dark time where I am (in more ways than one), my mind continually gravitates back to an idea, well perhaps it’s more of a mindset, that non-attachment really is the key: to freedom, to joy, and to happiness in life.

In the past, I’ve written a bit about being non-attached when you travel, but I think that’s only the tip of the iceberg for what that mindset can do for you. I’ll say it again: non-attachment really is the key to freedom in life.

Of course, Buddhism has had this idea at its core since the beginning. But you certainly don’t have to consider yourself a buddhist to apply this idea into your life.

Take this video, for example. In the episode below of Beach Walks with Rox (incidentally, one of my favorite podcasts), Rox talks about what motivates us in life, but more importantly she addresses the foundational beliefs in us that result in our actions in the first place, suggesting that life is much more enjoyable if you look at it as a playground, a place to experiment. It asks: if you had a worldview where you didn’t feel you needed to prove anything to anyone, how would you live?

Even if you feel like you don’t have anything to prove per se, looking at life as a playground is a beautiful attitude to step into. So go ahead and watch the short video below, and then I have a surprise for you. Watching the video really helps you tune into her energy as she explains the idea, too.

Go Play, Experiment, Grow

Starting to feel what I’m getting at? Life is too short to spend it feeling like a victim or feeling powerless. You have the power. Use it to play and experiment in life. I’ve been saying a lot about how nothing is guaranteed anymore. That’s probably related to certain shifts that are going on in my own life right now, but it’s also incredibly true. It only takes two words to lose your job: You’re fired. It only takes two to lose a relationship: I’m leaving. And it only takes one bad accident to lose your life entirely.

I don’t mean to sound morbid here—only to remind you how fragile things are. Everything that allows you to read these words right now relies on dozens of servers all talking to each other, your computer having power to interpret the data, and your eyes being able to focus on the words. (Not to mention your eyes interpreting the 1017 photons entering your eyes per second.)

It truly is a small miracle that you’re even reading these words at all, and I am deeply grateful to have the opportunity to serve you today.

But ultimately, it’s all temporary.

Eleanor Quote This is why the concept of non-attachment rings so true to me. It is in alignment with reality, and the more in alignment we are, the less suffering we experience. Compared to what we traditionally encounter, it represents a profound change in outlook and attitude. Earl Nightingale used to say that “attitude” was the magic word. And once you really, foundationally, realize the transientness of all you can see, it has the power to affect your attitude in incredible ways.

And remember, life’s transientness also means that you have a powerful affect on what your life forms into, as well. And on this point, I believe Eleanor Roosevelt said it best:

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt


I’ve been asking myself that a lot lately, and the pieces are finally coming together.

Day Breaks on Crescent Island (A New Wallpaper & The Molokini Coincidence)

At last, dawn has come.

Since the l’m currently in far-off lands visiting a friend, I’m using the small amount of downtime that I have to complete a project that I’ve been tweaking off and on for the past month. So instead of highlighting a place worth visiting in the “real” world, I’m going to transport you to a strange, vibrant place, birthed from pure imagination. What I’m about to show you is the result of many hours of patience and focus, and I’d love to hear what you think about it in the comments. Even if you despise it!

Today I’m releasing a complete refresh of Crescent Island, and I’m calling it Crescent Dawn. I think this one will be more popular than the previous wallpaper set (called MorningTide), because it’s easier on the eyes, it’s more elegant, and has a more relaxing and dynamic color palette. I’ve even added some surprises.

You remember the old Crescent Island, don’t you?

I created it nine long years ago when I was first getting comfortable with the (now mostly-forgotten) 3D rendering app called Bryce. And, oddly enough, years later I discovered that island that I’d created bared a striking resemblance to Molokini Island in Hawaii, despite the fact that I’d created it years before I’d ever seen photos of that island. (Coincidence, or something more?)

I first revisited Crescent Island in 2008 and released a new version called Crescent Island Nightfall in the summer of that year. While being an improvement over the original (mostly because I understood lighting much better than I had when I’d created it six years previously), it still lacked a certain elegance. The atmosphere still wasn’t quite there.

The Warm Cozy Colors

Fast forward three years to a couple months ago when I began toying with the scene again. That’s when it hit me.

I realized that Crescent Island would be beautiful bathed in the warm, womb-like colors of the morning. So, after hours of experimentation and tweaking, I’m very pleased to present Crescent Dawn to you now. It’s the result of uncounted hours of fine-tuning and revision. (Somewhere between 10 and 10 billion hours.) And, per the suggestion of a friend, I even added some wildlife to give the island a more lively flare. I hope you find it refreshing. I’m especially pleased with how the sky came out.

What do you think?

Get the new wallpaper in Widescreen (up to 2560×1600) →

All content released under a Creative Commons license. These wallpapers look great up to resolutions of 2560×1600. That’s over 4 million pixels of goodness to make your desktop look as incredible as possible.