Actor Josh Peck sits in an LA barbershop
Actor Josh PeckImage by: Keiron Berndt
Actor Josh Peck sits in an LA barbershop
22 August 2022

Josh Peck: Views on Happiness

Josh Peck
3 minutes read time

I wrote Happy People Are Annoying, because I wanted to write a book that was a view from the halfway point. Perspective from someone who has accomplished a lot, failed a lot, felt a lot, and has a lot more living to do. For me it’s not so much about happiness. I think being content is a great word for it. Happy is fleeting, it's transient, it comes and goes, as does sadness, frustration, elation and other temporary states of being. But what I have today is a resting contentment, an awareness that if I'm to believe previous data, everything historically has been okay and will be okay. The process of writing this book, felt like by finally putting this part of my life into words, I was letting go of it.

" It was the final reflection and letting go of something that was both incredibly personal but also very public. "

I used to hate monikers like child actors or child stars. It felt like a pejorative or some tongue and cheek way of saying freak show. Even the word "prodigy" has a negative connotation because it seems unearned. I've been an actor since I was 10, and I'm still one today. It's okay that my identity is partly wrapped up in this thing that I've loved since before I was in middle school. Because I love it finally not for the prestige, for the financial security, for the validation. I love it for the craft, for the art, for the challenge, for the escape from self. I realize that might sound excessively corny and I'm even okay with that now. I love it because when done right, it can give people an escape from their daily lives. That's virtuous, that's something worth doing.

There have been so many moments where I questioned if things would work out. So many moments where I wasn't sure what was to be learned from the challenge I was facing. Inevitably what I've found is, every tough experience can be met with relentless spiritual growth. I had to do everything in excess to learn that moderation is the only way. I had to overdo things, to learn where the healthy limit is. A pendulum swings from one extreme to another but it will find its resting point eventually. Unless you keep swinging.

Sobriety dramatically helped me to find a more balanced life. So did being married, having children, working out and getting a sweat in every day. Turning my eyes outward and helping others, and realizing that life is a practice. And like any practice, it takes effort every time you step up to the plate. I hope to teach this to my children. To help others. That when in doubt, help others. That when you’re hurt, help others. And when you feel like you have nothing left to give, help some more.

Mental hygiene is as important as physical hygiene. It's a practice. Your level of spiritual and mental fitness is based on your constant mind maintenance. There is no cure-all or vaccine for being human. It takes daily work to feel okay with the world around you.

Our minds want us alone -- apart from the group. It's there when it has the most control, under the cover of darkness. Don't let your brain trick you into believing you're the only one who struggles, the only one who is unsure, who feels pain. I do, the people I look up to do, and it's only through having the courage to be vulnerable and learn from others, that I've found a little bit of heaven on earth. You're not alone. There are people who have walked the same path you're currently on, and done it with grace. Find those people, and ask how they did it. You're not alone.