Life doesn’t care about you. You’re alive. You’re dead. It’s all the same.
We live in a world where we put value on the next social media post, if someone virtually likes us, or that it wasn’t “fair,” she got the job/project/raise/etc. instead of me.
We’re all different.
What makes you happy is likely a lot different than what makes me happy. I started writing a list of what makes me happy, so I deleted it. It was too long!
Instead of a list, I turned it into a series of principles that help guide me to be happy each day.
Happiness isn’t a product of a thing, but rather, a feeling, a thought — something ingrained in your personality.
Understand the world owes you nothing. Complaining is a bad habit.
We often think we’re owed something. Because I did this, I get that.
Life isn’t about equal give and takes. Life doesn’t give a shit about what you “want.”
Complaining about it produces bad emotions that distract you from pushing forward.
Life will keep moving on whether you get what you want or not.
There’s a myth that children laugh 300 to 400 times a day, and adults only 17.5.
This study is a load of horse crap, but there’s some truth to it. Adults seem to have a giant stick lodged up their ass.
Remember, life owes you nothing. It will swallow you up as fast as it spits you out.
We might as well enjoy the ride.
The other day my wife and I were getting our boys ready for bed. Our oldest, Noah, was annoying his little brother.
My wife threatens, Noah, keep doing that…and I’ll …just stop.
She failed at her attempt to negotiate a punishment.
She stumbled on her words.
We looked at each other and started laughing.
Almost every situation in life is laughable when you look at the bigger picture.
Listen to more comedy. Force yourself to laugh.
If you’re at work and everyone is tense, crack a joke, playfully tease someone, try to lighten the mood.
We can all get important stuff done while laughing and having fun.
“Heraclitus would shed tears whenever he went out in public — Democritus laughed. One saw the whole as a parade of miseries, the other of follies. And so, we should take a lighter view of things and bear them with an easy spirit, for it is more human to laugh at life than to lament it.” — SENECA, ON TRANQUILITY OF MIND, 15.2
Are you breathing today?
Then smile damnit. It’s one more day you’re alive. Nothing is perfect. With the light, you’re going to get darkness.
I make it a habit to smile right when I wake up, and when I go to bed. It forces me to break the tension, loosen up, and be happy.
For all I know, life is short. I may not get another chance at it. I might as well smile and laugh as I go through it.
Start by making yourself smile in the morning and at night before bed, even if you had a shitty day. Look at the good in it. What were the lessons?
As you pass strangers, smile at them, open the door, wave, and expect nothing in return.
We always expect something. When you’re friendly, expect nothing in return.
My wife taught me a great life lesson. She said, when you give a homeless person spare money, never judge them on how they’ll spend it. You’re giving for selfish reasons.
Give to give with nothing tied to it.
This is a great lesson that spans every aspect of our lives.
Give the gift of a giant, beautiful smile to everyone you see today.
Develop your grateful muscle.
Instead of complaining, be grateful for what you have. The grass isn’t always greener.
Being grateful will bring positive vibes into your life, which will fuel your happiness muscle.
In a Psychology Today article, they wrote about a study in which 200 college undergraduates would write a weekly gratitude journal.
At the end of 10 weeks, those in the gratitude condition reported feeling more positive about their lives as a whole, more optimistic about the upcoming week, having fewer physical symptoms, and spending more time exercising.
Don’t just do this weekly. Every day think of things you’re grateful for, even if it’s a difficult situation.
Be grateful for the lessons you learned. The experience you overcame. The strength you developed.
Complaining and being toxic makes you unhappy.
Develop values you don’t negotiate with.
Being happy means, you have unique values guiding your life. They’re your rules for living.
If not, you’ll adopt values when they’re convenient for you. You’ll ignore them and get distracted when a bright shiny object lays its golden egg in your lap.
Your values are non-negotiable. They rarely change and are the foundation of your life. It’s how you make decisions and filter your behaviors. They keep you in check.
You may break your values, but when you do, it serves as a learning lesson. Every time I get angry, which is very rare (not so true in my twenties), I reflect on my value of peace:
I do not get angry, yell or scream. It’s not worth the mental energy. Everything has a solution so I take a deep breath, give it time and think of the best solution. This is my life, and I’m responsible for what happens to me. I blame no one else but myself. These are the choices I’ve made and the life I’m living.
Have goals and execute on them.
A goal without a plan is a dream.
Goals aren’t useful if you write them down, stick them in a drawer, hoping to achieve them one day.
Your goals must be an integral part of your life. You’ll be much happier as you begin setting goals you care about and achieving them.
Not like 99% of the people who tell themselves their New Years’ resolution is to “lose weight” and quit before the end of January.
There are five types of goals you should set in various aspects of your life:
- Long term goals — these are your aspirations you’re shooting for.
- Annual goals — have ten yearly goals.
- Quarterly goals — you’ll execute on three of your yearly goals quarterly.
- Weekly priorities — you’ll have three priorities each week that will be focused on your quarterly goals.
- Day priorities — you’ll have three daily priorities that focus on your weekly priorities.
Always focus on improving.
Life is a constant bout of improvement, yet we get stuck in our daily grind and forget to develop our mind and body.
If you’re not improving, what are you doing?
You’re on auto-pilot, landing and taking off in the same direction.
If you’re looking to grow in your career, improve your skills, and learn new ones.
When I was starting, I had no formal training in sales, negotiations, writing, copywriting, and marketing.
I got my MBA, but this taught me very little about real-world business. I had to continue to learn and develop these skills.
I’m still improving these skills.
The same goes for your health, how you communicate, being a great spouse, and the list goes on and on.
Always be improving and remember…
Be patient and play the long game.
Life is both short and long.
It’s one of life’s greatest contradictions.
You’re not going to get the career you deserve by hustling for two months. You’re not going to be great at a skill with little practice.
You have to be patient.
This is hard for me as an ADD, OCD, type A put my nose down and force the results kind of person.
Small incremental changes over time lead to great results.
Life doesn’t serve you great things on a silver platter. You have to earn it. As you do, you’ll be incredibly happy on your journey.
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