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Top 10 Ways to Live a Joy-free Life

February 07, 20247 min read

In the Letterman tradition, this is a countdown to #1.

In a world filled with doubt and injustice, who needs more joy? Who could justify joy in times like these, anyway? With pandemics, global warming, human sex-trafficking, racism, homelessness, sexism, alcoholism and every other ism, really, who needs it? We’ve got bigger fish to fry. Don’t we?

Can you imagine what would happen if everyone you know all at once returned to their natural state (birthright)? It would be chaos. People would be smiling, maybe even hugging, laughing, holding hands, dancing, going for walks for no reason at all, watching sunsets and generally just lovin’ on one another. What a shit show.

Instead, here are some really great ways to maintain the status quo, and claim your rightful place as a contributor to the joy-free movement!

10) Have a closed mind
Stop learning. Stop growing. Also, be sure to rest on your laurels. If you find this one challenging, there are excellent examples everywhere.

For those of you who are really committed, beware of the following signs of open-mindedness:
~ being non-
prejudiced or tolerant
~ being willing to consider other perspectives or to try out new experiences
~ asking questions and being active about searching for information that challenges your beliefs
~ believing that other people should be free to express their beliefs and arguments, even if you do not necessarily agree with those views.

One last bit: be sure to have an opinion about everything. This way it’s easy to create a closed-loop internal justification system so that your opinions feel true to you, but more importantly, right. Rightness is key.

9) Dismiss recreation
This one, as simple and easy as it may seem, is very powerful!

Ignore the importance of meditation, play, and sharing the gift of your attention. Stay busy. Super busy. And wave that flag wide and high so everyone knows that you’ve got too much going on to bother with friends and family, or navel-gazing. You can sleep when you die.

A little goes a long way, so no need to overdo it to get the joy-free results you’re looking for.

8) Keep it shallow
Let work/income/position/status/possessions define value and worth for both yourself and others. This way you can ensure the experience of isolation and loneliness. Easiest if you strictly adhere to #10 (see above).

7) Refuse to acknowledge your choices
If you notice your actual choices, then you might feel obliged to choose something different than what you already know. If you choose something different than what you already know, you might have a different experience of your life.

Remember: the unknown is scary. Ignore the fact that the future is and always has been uncertain, even when your certainty about the future is ‘rock solid’. This one works best when you stay inside your comfort zone, and sets us up nicely for the next…

6) Be the victim
Let fear be the primary determinant in your decisions and choices and take zero percent responsibility for the role you play in how things go in your life. If you really want to get the most out of this one, be sure to whine. A lot. (This one supports the isolation you’re cultivating with #8 really well, because it makes it so people can’t stand to be around you.)

An important hidden fact about victimhood is that denial is key. Awareness of the impact that your existence has on those around you and victimhood are poor bedfellows. You can’t have it both ways, so choose denial.

5) Dismiss/over-value feelings
This one is tricky, because there’s a fine line to walk here, so pay close attention. First, disregard feelings. Your own and everyone else’s. Pretend that feelings are for wussies. Except for when you’re having one.

Which segues well into the tricky part: while paying close attention to ignoring feelings, simultaneously let your feelings rule your life. Operate from the presupposition that how you feel is all that matters. While simultaneously dismissing the internal messaging system of the human form (feelings), be sure to blame everyone else for yours.

4) Live by the news
This one can be demanding but is one quick and easy way to stay on top of things and ensure that you are supplying yourself with a constant, slow-drip of the internal chemical cocktail I call Industrial Sludge (aka anxiety/depression).

To get this one to work, you must tune into the news multiple times a day. Every day. As much as you can. The programming that the news offers not only serves in strengthening your opinions, but helps keep the worry vibe rolling. When you’re worried, it gives you that nice false sense that you’re actually doing something about the thing that worries you, so you don’t have to act! Brilliant!

To put a bow on this one, convince anyone who disagrees with you that watching/listening the news all day long, every day is the responsible thing to do. Yes, even when the news isn’t new.

3) Go to war with God
I know this one is going to turn some heads, but listen, if you want this to work, you need to do this.

Claim your agnosticism (as if existence itself needs to prove itself to you) or atheism (as if the very forces of nature aren’t enough proof for you) and wear it like a badge.

Adhere to your stance that the miracle of life is just some inevitable random-ass accident. This one is easiest if you don’t have children. Also, God is a super easy scapegoat for the treacherous errors of humankind against itself. For this to work most effectively, you must ignore the fact that we live in a Free Will Universe.

2) Never question authority
Take all the “holy” scriptures literally, and use any/all of them to justify mass genocide, addiction, pedophilia, etc. Besides, eternal damnation is such a powerful motivator when you want to ensure hiding and pretending remain a permanent part of your life.

If your ‘religion’ is science or politics, ignore the fact that all you know about reality is all that you are told — besides what you have actually experienced for yourself, of course.

Assume the role of the one who knows best how to control the universe. I like to sum this one up in one sentence, so it’s easy to remember: You be God. If you’re God, you don’t have any need to question authority.

And now for the moment you’ve been waiting for! Drum roll, please…

1) Withhold your love
Expressing appreciation and respect for yourself and others is one powerful way to derail your mission to live a joy-free life. This one is poison for the joyless, so beware. To get the most out of love-withholding, assume the role of judge and juror. Unwaveringly.

Warning: this only works when you’re judging against what/whomever you’re judging, but beware: to judge in favor of anyone or thing might blow it for you, so be careful with judgment! It can backfire on you.


There you have it. These tried and true methods have been held back from the masses throughout the ages, but are now being revealed. For the devotee of a joy-free life, even practicing a few of the above occasionally should be good enough to get you the results you’re looking for, so get to it!

To wrap it up, for those reading this who are curious about joy-free living, but not quite sure yet, take heart. You can pick it up anytime. This ironclad set of joy-free juju will always be right here for you.

For those of you who would rather have joy, but want to make sure I’m providing the right info for your counterparts, the inverse of the above will work fine.

Let me know how it goes!


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