As Earl Nightingale said “Happiness is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” In other words, you feel happy when you are progressing towards something important to you. This is very important because happiness is a journey not a destination. If you will be happy only when you achieve something it is going to be tough most of the time.
Most of our life is invested in the process and if we wait for the result to be happy we will be striving for the elusive pot all the time. Happiness is a state of mind and you can be happy just to be alive.
While setting lofty standards for our work and life is always a good sign, it is not good if we are never happy with what we achieve. Therefore, happiness requires a balance between striving for more and enjoying the current success.
I believe the recipe of happiness can be baked with the following ingredients. Here is my A – Z of Happiness.
A for Attitude: Your attitude is the true barometer of your happiness. If you have a positive mindset you are usually happy. If you are expecting good things to happen you will be more positive which leads to greater happiness. So, keep track of how you feel throughout your day and catch yourself when you feel down. Do anything that works for you to get your attitude back to a sunny disposition.
B for Being: Most of the time we are in the process of doing something. We are always striving for something more but true happiness can also come from just being. Just be happy where you are with what you have and who you are. Accept yourself unconditionally and just love life for what it is. This will promote your happiness levels. One of the tools for this is to maintain a journal where you can record all your thoughts and it promotes inner peace. Solitude is another tool for just being. Never compare your life with someone else as everyone is on their journey and we have no clue what is going on with someone else.
C for Clarity: If you are totally true to yourself and your values you will be happy. That is what clarity is about. Whenever I have experienced stress in my life it always comes when I am not clear on what I want or where I am going. Sometimes this lack of clarity can also come from comparing ourselves to others who we think are more successful. That is a path which will never result in happiness. So really become clear on what you want your life to stand for and where you want to go in your life. This clarity will increase your sense of control which will elevate your happiness levels.
D for Discipline: To me discipline can promote happiness. The type of happiness I am talking about runs deep. It comes from a state where you are putting more into your life. It also comes from living by your principles. If you do take care of yourself through disciplines like eating well, continuous learning, being an excellent time manager, sleeping well and exercising your happiness levels will soar to great heights.
E for Enthusiasm: As Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Your happiness will directly be a result of the enthusiasm you have for your vision and the actions you take to achieve that vision. When you are enthusiastic you are happier.
F for Forgiveness: Most people carry a burden concerning other people who have hurt them for far too long resulting in a heavy heart. One of the success habits is to forgive everyone for anything wrong that has been done to you. If we think about it nobody in general purposely hurts another and if we understand that it is easier to forgive. It is also important that we forgive ourselves and it is a reminder that we are not perfect. Forgiveness is a great antidote to pessimism.
G for Gratitude: If you want to increase your happiness levels instantly you need to be grateful with what you have. Staying grateful helps you have joy which is one of the keys to a happy life. Writing down everything that we are grateful for is a great starting point towards all the happiness we desire.
H for Health: Health is different for every individual. Considering whatever situation our health is in we should take appropriate steps to ensure we take care of ourselves well. If it means going for a physical every year or regular dental checkups we need to do that. So, taking charge of our health depending on our situation can help us on our happiness journey.
I for Inspiration: Inspiration increases not only our energy levels it also increases our happiness levels. Stay around whatever makes you inspired. It is different for every person. A book that may inspire me may not inspire you but find the ones that inspire you. Being in a state of inspiration does increase our happiness.
J for Journey: Life is not a destination; it is a journey to be enjoyed all the way. It is how we bounce back from seeming setbacks that truly measure our heart for exceptional success. The journey is an adventure and an example of this is the life of Steve Jobs. He got fired from the company he founded and still managed to make a great comeback. It just shows to anything can happen but we must be committed to the journey of life.
K for Kindness: Be kind to everyone you meet. Everyone has enough problems on their plate and your kindness could be the best experience they have had for that day. Kindness improves our mood and those around us. “Wherever there is a human in need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference.” Kevin Heath
L for Legacy: Sustained happiness can come when you align your actions to your legacy. This term has been talked about by the great philosophers of all time and also a lot of authors have popularized the concept of leaving a legacy. Think about what you want to be remembered for and write it down. Look at this written paragraph or document daily. Once you connect with that deeper purpose of your life you will feel happier. You can check out my article on how to live your legacy. 9 Ways to Live your Legacy
M for Meaning: One of the causes of stress is a lack of meaning for life. So, the first step is for us to discover something in our life that we are passionate about. When we find the meaning of our lives we will be happier. We cannot chase happiness and in fact the more we chase it the less of it we have. Happiness is a byproduct of doing things that we consider meaningful for our lives.
N for Nice: This is a simple tactic but surely an effective one. Be nice to everyone you meet and always treat people with respect. Everyone deserves recognition in one form or another. When you are nice to everyone you meet they are happier. When you see others happy your happiness is taken care of.
O for Optimism: The key to happiness lies in optimism. It’s not what happens to us but how we respond to what happens to us that matters. For example, Steve Jobs believed in his products even when he was the only one with the vision. He was not even sure if it will be accepted in the market but he showed undying optimism to see success till the end. Even in his professional nadir he showed enduring optimism and show what one can achieve with optimism and belief.
P for Peace of mind: Ultimately you will enjoy your success only if you have peace of mind. Without it no amount of outside success will be satisfying. You can attain peace of mind when you are grateful for what you have and don’t have a need to constantly compare with others. Set your own sails and go forward confidently in the direction of your dreams. Don’t allow critics to rob your peace of mind. Inner peace leads to happiness.
Q for Quality: Vince Lombardi put it beautifully when he said, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” Go for quality in every area of your life and you will be happier.
R for Recognition: Recognize yourself for all the good things you have achieved. One of the ways to be happy is to recognize that you have achieved a lot in your life and you are doing well in the overall scheme of things. You also need to recognize others for their accomplishments. Recognizing others also leads to your happiness.
S for Self-Esteem: Self-esteem is the cornerstone of a healthy personality. It is important to be comfortable in your own skin. Self-esteem is defined as your reputation with yourself. You are unique and have talents that can help you succeed. The key to self-esteem is to write down the qualities you admire in yourself. Maybe you have passion or discipline, and by acknowledging your positive traits you can enhance your self-esteem. When setbacks occur while you may feel bad it doesn’t reduce your self-esteem. Write down all your successes till now and keep track of your accomplishments. This surely enhances self-esteem. When you have high self-esteem you generally feel more positive about life and do better at work. “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” Norman Vincent Peale
T for Temperament: Having a calm, cool, collected outlook promotes happiness. One of the people I admire greatly is Rahul Dravid. He was the epitome of someone who treated defeat and success with equanimity. Even when a bowler says something to him he just talks with his bat. We should all try to follow that. Getting angry usually never leads to good solutions.
U for Unique: You are unique and there is no one else like you in this world. This uniqueness enables you to provide services that enable you to stand out and show case your talent. Keep developing your talents and understand where your strengths lie. If you understand your uniqueness and go forward in developing the required skills success will follow.
V for Values: Defining the values for your life is the starting point of happiness. Values could be passion, discipline, integrity, creativity and humility. Living by your highest standards and values will promoter greater personal well-being.
W for Well-being: Ultimately your well-being is very important to your overall happiness. Take care of your health by exercising, eating right and most importantly getting adequate sleep. Only when you take care of yourself physically and mentally you can enjoy the fruits of your success. Of course, consult your personal physician for a health program that works for your situation.
X for Excellence: Happiness also comes from being excellent in the work you do. It can also come from being good in a hobby that you like. Being excellent in any activity makes you fulfilled. So, choose something that you want to master and your happiness will be taken care of.
Y for Youthful: Being youthful is a state of mind. As a lot of people say age is just a number. Don’t allow your age to restrict yourself from dreaming and going after what you want in your life. Examples of people still achieving at older ages are all around us. Two of them whom I admire a lot are Warren Buffet and Henry Kissinger who is still writing books at the age of 92. This quote from General Douglas MacArthur hits the message home “Youth is not entirely a time of life; it is a state of mind. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals.. You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.”
Z for Zest: You need to have an undying zest for life. If you love your life and live it to the fullest you will be happy most of the time. Here is the final quote from Normal Vincent Peale “The really happy people are those who have broken the chains of procrastination, those who find satisfaction in doing the job at hand. They’re full of eagerness, zest, and productivity. You can be, too.”
To conclude all of us can define what happiness means to us. Once we define it we can take proactive steps to ensure we stay on that journey to happiness.
Thanks for reading my post. Please leave a comment with any other factors that can help us become more successful.
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization. I have written earlier on A to Z of Management, A to Z of Life, A to Z of Leadership, A to Z of Love,A to Z of Time Management, A to Z of Personal Development and A – Z of Success.