I've got something special for you today! Something that we don't do as often as we should on Tracking Happiness.
I've had the pleasure of interviewing someone very interesting: Lana Blakely! 😊
If you don't know who Lana is, here's a quick intro:
Lana is a born-and-raised-in-Sweden, clumsy, introverted woman who loves walking around the streets of Stockholm with a camera strap around her neck.
(These are her words, not mine!)
She finds immense joy in overthinking things and felt the need for a creative outlet around two years ago, which is when she decided to start posting videos on YouTube. She now gets to overthink together with hundreds of thousands of other people who engage on the channel, and it’s one of the things she’s most grateful for in life.
Lana Blakely runs a popular YouTube channel, with 734k subscribers as of right now. She's uploaded popular videos such as "A Real Day in the Life of an Introvert" and "I Journaled for 17 Years and it Changed My Life" and discusses subjects that are often featured on Tracking Happiness as well.
Without further adieu, here's the interview.
Just to get started, what quote do you currently like most, and why?
I’m a quote-collector, and I used to not even like quotes! I currently really like this one by George Bernard Shaw:
"Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it."
Some people willingly get into arguments and disputes, and some even get satisfaction from it. I’ve learned over the years to choose my inner peace over choosing to be right, and I do that by being mindful of who I engage with, both on the internet and in real life.
This quote reminds me of that.
This site is about "happiness". What does this word currently mean for you?
I try to think of happiness as a common feeling, because the harder I think about happiness and what it means, the more complex and difficult it seems to be to feel it.
As if it's an unreachable goal that can only be achieved if every single aspect of a person’s life is perfectly aligned, and I don’t think that’s a realistic way of viewing life.
Today, I went out on a walk after my lunch. The sun started to come out behind the clouds, so I decided to sit down on a bench by an ice rink and listen to a podcast. I sat there for about an hour, and I felt great! I was full and quenched because I had just eaten, I was getting fresh air, the sun was warming me up, I got to see kids ice-skating and I was being intellectually stimulated by the podcast.
Sure, that moment may not define my overall “happiness” (whatever that means), but in that moment, I couldn’t really have asked for anything more, and I like to think of that as happiness.
What factors impacted your happiness the most recently?
(Both positive and negative)
I’m currently doing a social media detox, and the positive impact that it’s already had on my mental health has been beyond what I expected. I feel less distracted, more present and my overall mood is better. I should take breaks more often.
As for negative, I mean, we all have things we’re battling in life, and I’m no exception. I’m just doing my best to cope with the things that are weighing me down. That’s really all we can do.
What’s something that you’ve been really grateful for these last couple of weeks?
Anyone who lives in the northern hemisphere knows how refreshing it feels to finally get some sun and light after a long, dark winter.
Do you keep a journal? If yes, what are the biggest benefits of journaling in your opinion?
I’ve kept journals for many, many years.
I could write a long post about the benefits, but I think one of the most important ones in my life has been being able to notice different patterns in my life e.g., in my emotions, thoughts, and behavior.
It’s good to be able to look back and see how I’ve handled different situations, how they made me feel, and to see if (and how) I can apply that to a current situation. It’s sort of become my manual for living.
(ps: Lana created a fantastic video on journaling, which goes into this topic more. If you wanna know how journaling can become a manual for living, definitely watch this video! 👇)
What are your thoughts on living a purposeful life?
I believe we have multiple purposes, and that’s something that is going to look different for everyone. Personally, anything that feels meaningful to me in any way, makes me feel like I’m living purposefully. That could be everything from sharing my voice online to being a good friend to sitting on a bench by a tree.
I like this quote by Alan Watts that a subscriber shared in the comment section of a video I made covering this very topic:
“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”
What's your all-time favorite book and why?
I actually wrote about this topic in my newsletter recently, about how I feel awkward whenever I get asked about my favorite ‘X’. I’ve come to peace with the fact that I’m simply not a favorites kind of person.
But I’ll say this, I really, really enjoyed reading Stoner by John Williams, and I hold that book very dear to my heart. If you’d like a second recommendation, I’d go with Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse.
What inspired you to become a creator on YouTube?
I would say that storytelling is what inspired me. For thousands of years, stories are what have brought people together, which is an idea I felt very drawn to.
I wanted to build a community of like-minded people, who in turn could connect with each other. I decided to tell my stories mainly in a video format because it allows me to be creative. And I’ve loved taking photos and filming for many years, so it felt natural to me.
How does being a creator influence your mental health? How do you deal with the negativity?
This takes me back to the first question about a quote I really like.
Unfortunately, the online world has plenty of pigs who thrive on getting dirty, and I’m a human being with emotions, so of course, it gets to me sometimes.
But in proportion to the amount of love, support and positivity that I receive every single day, it’s almost insignificant. I’d feel foolish not to focus my attention on that.
What's a fun fact that not a lot of people know about you?
I make a lot of ugly faces, especially when I’m on FaceTime with friends or family.
I think I often come across as a very serious person to those who only know me via social media, which is true to some extent. But I’m definitely a goof at heart.
That's it for now! I want to thank Lana for taking the time to chat with me over Google Meet and to answer my questions.
For you readers, here are a couple of takeaways:
- Lana's favorite quote is "Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it."
- Stoner by John Williams and Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse are some of her favorite books.
- She's been journaling for years and thinks it's one of her most powerful habits.
Want to follow Lana more closely?
What question would you have liked to see on this interview? Let me know in the comments below!