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­­­The Benefits of a Crappy Life

photo: Orin Zebest on flickr

photo: Orin Zebest on flickr

A crappy life is, well, crappy.


One could say it’s hard to argue otherwise.

But then one wouldn’t be a hard-core Goofball nerd who is always looking to argue against crappy and for happy.

Which is what led Melissa and I to watch the movie Happy.

Happy is just what it sounds like – a movie about what makes people happy.

A movie of this sort could have gone in a lot of different directions. There could have been drugs. There could have been dancing girls. There could have been dancing girls on drugs!

But instead, the makers of the movie decided to focus on actual, scientific data about what leads to happiness – or lack thereof.

Needless to say, my happiness quotient was met the minute I started watching this film.

Nerds! Data! It was a match made in happy heaven!!

photo: Open Knowledge Foundation on flickr

photo: Open Knowledge Foundation on flickr

There were lots of cool happiness statistics thrown about in Happy, and I definitely recommend watching it.

There was one particular piece of data I found especially intriguing.

It involves the power of adversity.

One of the factors that’s been studied is the happiness level of people who have had challenging life circumstances.

Conventional wisdom says that people who’ve had a lot of “bad” things happen to them are less happy than those who’ve had “easier” lives.

But that’s not the case.

Turns out, those who have had lots of challenges and “bad” things happen to them are more likely to be happy than those who haven’t.

photo: sari_dennise on flickr

photo: sari_dennise on flickr

Have you ever had someone say to you that the whole positive attitude thing doesn’t apply to them because their lives are so hard?!

(And maybe sometimes this person is you.)

According to the data, those with hard lives have a greater chance of being happy.

Now, this isn’t to say that the road from crappy to happy is traveled in an instant.

Indeed, getting to a good place often involves feeling a lot of crappy feelings. It means really being present to the pain of difficult circumstances.

But when I think about my life, and when I think about some of the more difficult challenges in my life – an eating disorder, being gay, divorce, gender identity conflicts – every single one of those things got me to a place where I couldn’t keep going on my own.

I had to surrender.

photo: Vox Efx on flickr

photo: Vox Efx on flickr

I had to ask for help – from other people, from the Divine.

And because of that help, I ended up in a way better place – a place I never would have ended up if I hadn’t had the crappy stuff happen to me.

If I hadn’t been challenged, I wouldn’t have surrendered. I’m way too attached to my human self and the illusion that I can control the world.

It’s one of my most cherished and viciously-guarded ideas. Even though I know it’s an illusion, I still cling to it every chance I get.

Difficult life experiences were the only thing that could blast apart that illusion.

And blast they did.

photo: Brett Neilson on flickr

photo: Brett Neilson on flickr

Now, there’s another cool thing about all this. Something they didn’t talk about in Happy, but something they’ll eventually get some hard data on, I’m sure.

When you know the benefits of adversity and something “difficult” happens to you, you can choose to embrace it.

Indeed, the label of “difficult” becomes this flexible, bendy thing that morphs and changes in front of your eyes.

You still get to have your feelings. You still get to cry and scream and mourn, when you need to.

And you also know that, on the other side, is a huge field of possibilities that never would have been yours without the “difficult” thing.

How frickin’ cool is that?

Talk about good news.

Talk about a seriously happy-inducing thought, backed up by hard-core scientific data!

Crap + Surrender = Happiness

I’ll take that over dancing girls on drugs any day!

photo: Steven Pisano on flickr

photo: Steven Pisano on flickr

How do you get from crappy to happy? Share your comments below!

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12 Responses to ­­­The Benefits of a Crappy Life

  1. River July 7, 2015 at 8:29 am #

    Hi Z and Meli!
    How I get from crappy to zippy is to do all that you say here and I also know that the saying “this too, shall pass” isn’t just a saying but a reality. I know that things always can get better and any downturn in my experience has been just momentary. The Universe is always conspiring on my behalf.
    I also use the Law of Attraction to bring to me better times. I look for the next best better feeling without denying how I am at the moment. As I look for things to appreciate – like a river (ahem) my good just flows to me. I know this works because my life is always working out.
    There is another path to happy – skip the drama and go straight to happy. This is the most difficult route sometimes because I seem to like my drama – kinda attached to it like a bad habit. But often it can be as easy as just changing the subject running in my head.
    So, thanks Z and Meli for the great reminder of crap + surrender = happy.

    PS… Can’t wait for the next Pacific NW Z and Meli tour! Let me know and I’ll be first in line!

    • Z Egloff July 7, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

      Hi River,

      I love “This too shall pass.” It’s a GREAT reminder when everything seems like too much.

      I also really appreciate that you mention the power of appreciation. This is ALWAYS a good approach.

      And skipping the drama? What an awesome concept! I’ve found that, with a good attitude, even if we do attract drama to us, it doesn’t have to become drama. Thank you for reminding us that drama is truly optional.

      We can’t wait to come back up North either! Looking forward to it! :)


  2. Kayla July 7, 2015 at 10:13 am #

    LOVE:: “Crap + Surrender = Happiness”. How easy and real that is to remember! Thanks. I’ve had some challenging days lately. So, a few times I got down on my knees and prayed as fervently and passionately as I could giving my emotions full rein. Your post reminded me how satisfying the praying felt (was that surrender?) and made me think that it may have had something to do with some amazing synchronicity and healing that occurred.

    • Z Egloff July 7, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

      Hi Kayla,

      Yes! I’m a big fan of those moments when we just need some Help!! We can’t do it by our human selves anymore. And that’s when lots of magic and super cool stuff happens. Grateful that this happened for you. (And yes, IMHO, that’s what surrender is all about.) :)


  3. Snick July 7, 2015 at 11:27 am #

    The last few years have been pretty crappy. Recurring cancer, chemo side effects, depression, fear of all sorts. But through it all was happiness… That I am alive and mostly lively, that I see love and joy in everyone around me, and faith that all is well and unfolding as it should. Surrendering to Spirit, giving my body, mind, and spirit to the certainty and flow of peace and beauty. Ain’t Life grand?!

    • Z Egloff July 7, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

      Hi Snick,

      What an AWESOME testimony to the power of faith and attitude. Thank you SO much for this. Yes, life is grand. And it’s grand that you are a part of All of it. :)


  4. Michael Frank July 8, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

    Crappy = dead spirit

    Happy= alive spirit

    I keep my spirit alive by being happy and that comes first for me everyday and whatever my challenges are, I understand I must keep my spirit alive to handle the nuances………and that’s all they are ! LOL

    • Z Egloff July 14, 2015 at 11:24 am #

      Hi Michael,

      Thank you for this. They’re just nuances. I’m gonna remember that one. 😉


  5. Jennie July 13, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    I really like your blog, especially your Nothing Is Wrong post from months back. But I think I take issue with you here – my life has been one constant struggle after another and it has made me so unhappy I just want it all to end. Currently I am losing my ability to walk as a side effect of medical treatment for cancer that I had in my 20s. I look at friends who have had no health problems of note their entire life (I’m 50) and they are much happier than I am. Some people who can’t walk May be happy but I am not one of those people. I honestly can’t go on. Happiness seems completely elusive to me – the door is locked and the gates are closed forever.

    • Z Egloff July 14, 2015 at 11:23 am #

      Hi Jennie,

      Sometimes life sucks. Sometimes things are hard. I know that it can sound so trite to say that everything’s going to get better.

      But here is one thing I know –

      You are not alone. There are lots of avenues of support out there.

      If you’re really feeling like you want to take your life, it’s time to reach out. To friends. To family. To a suicide hotline. There are people out there who can love and support you through this.

      For me, the Centers for Spiritual Living network has really helped. You can find them online. There are physical Centers to go to. And there are services that you can livestream if you can’t go in person.

      Also, you mentioned my “nothing is wrong” post from a while back. My friend (that I wrote about there) lost his partner. Their life, on the outside, looks like total chaos right now. But I know that, deep down, everything is perfect. I know that truth for you too, right now.

      Also, one more thing, asking for Help from a higher source – whatever you call it, God, Love, the Divine – is another amazing resource. The Help will come. Maybe in a different way or timing than you expect, but it will come.

      I am sending you tons of love.


      • Jennie January 21, 2016 at 5:49 pm #

        I still remember your kind words to me last summer when I felt I was out of hope. Just wanted you to know I am doing a little better physically and emotionally. I still read your blog regularly and it never fails to raise my spirits. Thanks for all you do.

        • Z Egloff January 22, 2016 at 9:59 am #

          Hi Jennie! Thanks for checking back. I’m really glad to hear that you are doing a little better physically and emotionally. I’m also happy to hear that you are still checking in with the blog. Keep me posted on how you’re doing! Melissa and I are both sending you love and blessings. :)

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