- Stop Trying To Be Happy
- Happiness is not the same as pleasure
- Finding Happiness does not require lowering one’s expectations
- Happiness is not the same as positivity
- Happiness is the process of becoming your ideal self
- 5 Simple Ways to Be Happy: Try These Today
- 5 Simple Ways to Be Happy
- The Fine Print
- Strategies for Happiness: 7 Steps to Becoming a Happier Person
- 29 Ways To Be Happier That Are Scientifically Proven To Work
- 1. Work With Your Hands
- 2. Practice “Taking in the Good”
- 3. Help Others
- 4. Stop Caring About What Others Think
- 5. Let Go of Perfection
- 6. Become Calm
- 7. Hold the Small Things
- 8. Write It Down
- 10. Disconnect
- 11. Fake It ’til You Make It
- 12. Embrace the Great Outdoors
- 13. Stop Whining!
- 14. Hold Your Tongue
- 15. Use Your Time Well
- 16. Get Your Sweat On
- 17. Leave Blame Behind
- 18. Zzzzzzzzzz
- 19. Talk It Up
- 20. Engage in Aid
- 22. Don’t Fear Failure
- 23. See Yourself Different
- 24. Pay Attention
- 25. Find a New Mantra
- 26. Don’t Eat Alone
- 27. Get Creative
- 28. Make Your Choice
- 29. Dream About Getting Away
- How to Be Happy in Life? 25 Simple Ways to Make Your Life Happier
- 1. Connecting the Dots
- 2. Allowing Your Environment to Predetermine Your Mood
- 3. Don’t Work So Hard
- How to Be Happy—10 Ways to Be Happy (or at Least Happier)
Stop Trying To Be Happy
If you have to try to be cool, you will never be cool. If you have to try to be happy, then you will never be happy. Maybe the problem these days is people are just trying too hard.
Happiness, other emotions, is not something you obtain, but rather something you inhabit.
When you’re raging pissed and throwing a socket wrench at the neighbor’s kids, you are not self-conscious about your state of anger.
You are not thinking to yourself, “Am I finally angry? Am I doing this right?” No, you’re out for blood. You inhabit and live the anger. You are the anger. And then it’s gone.
Just as a confident man doesn’t wonder if he’s confident, a happy man does not wonder if he’s happy. He simply is.
What this implies is that finding happiness is not achieved in itself, but rather it is the side effect of a particular set of ongoing life experiences.
This gets mixed up a lot, especially since happiness is marketed so much these days as a goal in and of itself. Buy X and be happy. Learn Y and be happy. But you can’t buy happiness and you can’t achieve happiness.
It just is—once you get other parts of your life in order.
Happiness is not the same as pleasure
Tony Montana didn’t seem too happy.
When most people seek happiness, they are actually seeking pleasure: good food, more sex, more time for TV and movies, a new car, parties with friends, full body massages, losing 10 pounds, becoming more popular, and so on.
But while pleasure is great, it’s not the same as happiness. Pleasure is correlated with happiness but does not cause it. Ask any drug addict how their pursuit of pleasure turned out. Ask an adulterer who shattered her family and lost her children whether pleasure ultimately made her happy. Ask a man who almost ate himself to death how happy pursuing pleasure made him feel.
Pleasure is a false god. Research shows that people who focus their energy on materialistic and superficial pleasures end up more anxious, more emotionally unstable and less happy in the long-run.
Pleasure is the most superficial form of life satisfaction and therefore the easiest. Pleasure is what’s marketed to us. It’s what we fixate on. It’s what we use to numb and distract ourselves.
But pleasure, while necessary, isn’t sufficient. There’s something more.
Finding Happiness does not require lowering one’s expectations
A popular narrative lately is that people are becoming unhappier because we’re all narcissistic and grew up being told that we’re special unique snowflakes who are going to change the world and we have constantly telling us how amazing everyone else’s lives are, but not our own, so we all feel crap and wonder where it all went wrong. Oh, and all of this happens by the age of 23.
Sorry, but no. Give people a bit more credit than that.
For instance, a friend of mine recently started a high-risk business venture. He dried up most of his savings trying to make it work and failed. Today, he’s happier than ever for his experience.
It taught him many lessons about what he wanted and didn’t want in life and it eventually led him to his current job, which he loves.
He’s able to look back and be proud that he went for it because otherwise, he would have always wondered “what if?” and that would have made him unhappier than any failure would have.
The failure to meet our own expectations is not antithetical to happiness, and I’d actually argue that the ability to fail and still appreciate the experience is actually a fundamental building block for happiness.
If you thought you were going to make $100,000 and drive a Porsche immediately college, then your standards of success were skewed and superficial, you confused your pleasure for happiness, and the painful smack of reality hitting you in the face will be one of the best lessons life ever gives you.
The “lower expectations” argument falls victim to the same old mindset: that happiness is derived from without. The joy of life is not having a $100,000 salary. It’s working to reach a $100,000 salary, and then working for a $200,000 salary, and so on.
So, I say raise your expectations. Elongate your process. Lay on your death bed with a to-do list a mile long and smile at the infinite opportunity granted to you. Create ridiculous standards for yourself and then savor the inevitable failure. Learn from it. Live it. Let the ground crack and rocks crumble around you because that’s how something amazing grows, through the cracks.
Happiness is not the same as positivity
Chances are you know someone who always appears to be insanely happy regardless of the circumstances or situation. Chances are this is actually one of the most dysfunctional people you know. Denying negative emotions leads to deeper and more prolonged negative emotions and emotional dysfunction.
It’s a simple reality: shit happens. Things go wrong. People upset us. Mistakes are made and negative emotions arise. And that’s fine. Negative emotions are necessary and healthy for maintaining a stable baseline happiness in one’s life.
The trick with negative emotions is to 1) express them in a socially acceptable and healthy manner and 2) express them in a way which aligns with your values.
Simple example: A value of mine is to pursue non-violence. Therefore, when I get mad at somebody, I express that anger, but I also make a point to not punch them in the face. Radical idea, I know. (But I absolutely will throw a socket wrench at the neighbor’s kids. Try me.)
There’s a lot of people out there who subscribe to the “always be positive” ideology. These people should be avoided just as much as someone who thinks the world is an endless pile of shit.
If your standard of happiness is that you’re always happy, no matter what, then you’ve been watching way too much Leave It To Beaver and need a reality check (but don’t worry, I promise not to punch you in the face).
I think part of the allure of obsessive positivity is the way in which we’re marketed to. I think part of it is being subjected to happy, smiley people on television constantly. I think part of it is that some people in the self-help industry want you to feel there’s something wrong with you all the time.
Or maybe it’s just that we’re lazy, and anything else, we want the result without actually having to do the hard work for it.
Which brings me to what actually drives happiness….
Happiness is the process of becoming your ideal self
Completing a marathon makes us happier than eating a chocolate cake. Raising a child makes us happier than beating a video game. Starting a small business with friends and struggling to make money makes us happier than buying a new computer.
And the funny thing is that all three of the activities above are exceedingly unpleasant and require setting high expectations and potentially failing to always meet them. Yet, they are some of the most meaningful moments and activities of our lives. They involve pain, struggle, even anger and despair, yet once we’ve done them we look back and get misty-eyed about them.
Because it’s these sorts of activities that allow us to become our ideal selves.
It’s the perpetual pursuit of fulfilling our ideal selves that grants us happiness, regardless of superficial pleasures or pain, regardless of positive or negative emotions.
This is why some people are happy in war and others are sad at weddings. It’s why some are excited to work and others hate parties. The traits they’re inhabiting don’t align with their ideal selves.
The end results don’t define our ideal selves. It’s not finishing the marathon that makes us happy; it’s achieving a difficult long-term goal that does.
It’s not having an awesome kid to show off that makes us happy; it’s knowing that you gave yourself up to the growth of another human being that is special.
It’s not the prestige and money from the new business that makes you happy, it’s the process of overcoming all odds with people you care about.
And this is the reason that trying to be happy inevitably will make you unhappy. Because to try to be happy implies that you are not already inhabiting your ideal self, you are not aligned with the qualities of who you wish to be. After all, if you were acting out your ideal self, then you wouldn’t feel the need to try to be happy.
Cue statements about “finding happiness within,” and “knowing that you’re enough.” It’s not that happiness itself is in you, it’s that happiness occurs when you decide to pursue what’s in you.
And this is why happiness is so fleeting.
Anyone who has set out major life goals for themselves only to achieve them and realize that they feel the same relative amounts of happiness/unhappiness knows that happiness always feels it’s around the corner, just waiting for you to show up. No matter where you are in life, you will always perceive there to be one more thing you need to do to be especially happy. But it too, will be a mirage.
And that’s because our ideal self is always just around that corner, always three steps ahead of us. We dream of being a musician and when we’re a musician, we dream of writing a film score, and when write a film score, we dream of writing a screenplay.
And what matters isn’t that we achieve each of these plateaus of success, but that we’re consistently moving towards them, day after day, month after month, year after year.
The plateaus will come and go, and we’ll continue following our ideal self down the path of our lives.
And with that, with regards to finding happiness, it seems the best advice is also the simplest: Imagine who you want to be and then step towards it. Dream big and then do something. Anything. The simple act of moving at all will change how you feel about the entire process and serve to inspire you further.
Let go of the imagined result—it’s not necessary. The fantasy and the dream are merely tools to get you off your ass. It doesn’t matter if they come true or not. Live, man. Just live. Stop trying to be happy and just be.
5 Simple Ways to Be Happy: Try These Today
We all want to be happy. But what is happiness?
Here's one definition…
Happiness is simply the ability to not want more; to find gratitude and satisfaction in the moment that you have right now.
In other words, your happiness hinges on living in the moment instead of yearning for some future indicator of success.
Here’s the best way I know to live in the moment…
Appreciating what you have right now automatically brings you into the present. It allows you to get past the dissatisfaction of wanting a bigger house or a better relationship or a better job and experience what you have right now.
With that thought in mind, here are five ways to boost your gratefulness on a daily basis and find lasting happiness.
5 Simple Ways to Be Happy
1. Before dinner each night, say one thing you are grateful for. (If you pray, then this can become part of your prayer as well.)
2. Write a Thank You note to someone this week. If you can’t find anything else to thank someone for, then just write them a note to thank them for being in your life. Any time they spend with you is a gift because they could choose to spend it with someone else.
3. Take 30 seconds to breathe. There is no easier way to make time for yourself and be grateful for your own existence than to breathe. Close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose for a count of three and out through your mouth for a count of five. Do this 5 times.
4. Do nothing for 2 minutes. Guess what happens? Nothing! You didn’t lose your job. Your family didn’t leave you. You’re not a failure. Nobody judged you. In fact, the only thing that really happened was that you realized that you can make time for yourself and enjoy your own presence without consuming something (eating, watching TV, etc).
5. Call a friend that you haven’t talked to in a while. We live for close connection.
Having friends and followers and a large network is great, but it lacks the meaning of close connection. Reach out to someone who is important to you. Talk about whatever the hell you want.
You don’t have to say anything cheesy or uncomfortable. Just enjoy the conversation and be grateful for that person.
The Fine Print
Important Note 1: I don’t believe that you need to be dissatisfied to be driven. I think it’s possible to love the life that you live and seek to make it better at the same time.
So, don’t abandon your goals of a better job or a better relationship or a better life. The problem is that too often we convince ourselves that we need to abandon the present to achieve the future.
Important Note 2: If you think these things are too simple or too stupid to work, then I’d to ask you this: When was the last time you tried one of them? Do a few and see if they work rather than living a skeptic and writing things off before you try them.
Strategies for Happiness: 7 Steps to Becoming a Happier Person
From the WebMD Archives
A popular greeting card attributes this quote to Henry David Thoreau: “Happiness is a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
With all due respect to the author of Walden, that just isn't so, according to a growing number of psychologists. You can choose to be happy, they say. You can chase down that elusive butterfly and get it to sit on your shoulder. How? In part, by simply making the effort to monitor the workings of your mind.
Research has shown that your talent for happiness is, to a large degree, determined by your genes. Psychology professor David T. Lykken, author of Happiness: Its Nature and Nurture, says that “trying to be happier is trying to be taller.” We each have a “happiness set point,” he argues, and move away from it only slightly.
And yet, psychologists who study happiness — including Lykken — believe we can pursue happiness. We can do this by thwarting negative emotions such as pessimism, resentment, and anger. And we can foster positive emotions, such as empathy, serenity, and especially gratitude.
The first step, however, is to make a conscious choice to boost your happiness.
In his book, The Conquest of Happiness, published in 1930, the philosopher Bertrand Russell had this to say: “Happiness is not, except in very rare cases, something that drops into the mouth, a ripe fruit. …
Happiness must be, for most men and women, an achievement rather than a gift of the gods, and in this achievement, effort, both inward and outward, must play a great part.”
Today, psychologists who study happiness heartily agree. The intention to be happy is the first of The 9 Choices of Happy People listed by authors Rick Foster and Greg Hicks in their book of the same name.
“Intention is the active desire and commitment to be happy,” they write. “It's the decision to consciously choose attitudes and behaviors that lead to happiness over unhappiness.”
Tom G. Stevens, PhD, titled his book with the bold assertion, You Can Choose to Be Happy. “Choose to make happiness a top goal,” Stevens tells WebMD. “Choose to take advantage of opportunities to learn how to be happy. For example, reprogram your beliefs and values.
Learn good self-management skills, good interpersonal skills, and good career-related skills. Choose to be in environments and around people that increase your probability of happiness.
The persons who become the happiest and grow the most are those who also make truth and their own personal growth primary values.”
In short, we may be born with a happiness “set point,” as Lykken calls it, but we are not stuck there. Happiness also depends on how we manage our emotions and our relationships with others.
Jon Haidt, author of The Happiness Hypothesis, teaches positive psychology. He actually assigns his students to make themselves happier during the semester.
“They have to say exactly what technique they will use,” says Haidt, a professor at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville. “They may choose to be more forgiving or more grateful.
They may learn to identify negative thoughts so they can challenge them. For example, when someone crosses you, in your mind you build a case against that person, but that's very damaging to relationships.
So they may learn to shut up their inner lawyer and stop building these cases against people.”
Once you've decided to be happier, you can choose strategies for achieving happiness. Psychologists who study happiness tend to agree on ones these.
In his book, Authentic Happiness, University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman encourages readers to perform a daily “gratitude exercise.” It involves listing a few things that make them grateful. This shifts people away from bitterness and despair, he says, and promotes happiness.
Holding a grudge and nursing grievances can affect physical as well as mental health, according to a rapidly growing body of research. One way to curtail these kinds of feelings is to foster forgiveness. This reduces the power of bad events to create bitterness and resentment, say Michael McCullough and Robert Emmons, happiness researchers who edited The Psychology of Happiness.
In his book, Five Steps to Forgiveness, clinical psychologist Everett Worthington Jr. offers a 5-step process he calls REACH. First, recall the hurt. Then empathize and try to understand the act from the perpetrator's point of view.
Be altruistic by recalling a time in your life when you were forgiven. Commit to putting your forgiveness into words. You can do this either in a letter to the person you're forgiving or in your journal. Finally, try to hold on to the forgiveness.
Don't dwell on your anger, hurt, and desire for vengeance.
The alternative to forgiveness is mulling over a transgression. This is a form of chronic stress, says Worthington.
“Rumination is the mental health bad boy,” Worthington tells WebMD. “It's associated with almost everything bad in the mental health field — obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety — probably hives, too.”
As Jon Haidt puts it, improve your mental hygiene. In The Happiness Hypothesis, Haidt compares the mind to a man riding an elephant. The elephant represents the powerful thoughts and feelings — mostly unconscious — that drive your behavior. The man, although much weaker, can exert control over the elephant, just as you can exert control over negative thoughts and feelings.
“The key is a commitment to doing the things necessary to retrain the elephant,” Haidt says. “And the evidence suggests there's a lot you can do. It just takes work.”
For example, you can practice meditation, rhythmic breathing, yoga, or relaxation techniques to quell anxiety and promote serenity. You can learn to recognize and challenge thoughts you have about being inadequate and helpless.
“If you learn techniques for identifying negative thoughts, then it's easier to challenge them,” Haidt said. “Sometimes just reading David Burns' book, Feeling Good, can have a positive effect.”
Research shows that once income climbs above the poverty level, more money brings very little extra happiness.
Yet, “we keep assuming that because things aren't bringing us happiness, they're the wrong things, rather than recognizing that the pursuit itself is futile,” writes Daniel Gilbert in his book, Stumbling on Happiness.
“Regardless of what we achieve in the pursuit of stuff, it's never going to bring about an enduring state of happiness.”
There are few better antidotes to unhappiness than close friendships with people who care about you, says David G. Myers, author of The Pursuit of Happiness. One Australian study found that people over 70 who had the strongest network of friends lived much longer.
“Sadly, our increasingly individualistic society suffers from impoverished social connections, which some psychologists believe is a cause of today's epidemic levels of depression,” Myers writes. “The social ties that bind also provide support in difficult times.”
People are seldom happier, says psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, than when they're in the “flow.” This is a state in which your mind becomes thoroughly absorbed in a meaningful task that challenges your abilities. Yet, he has found that the most common leisure time activity — watching TV — produces some of the lowest levels of happiness.
To get more life, we need to put more into it, says Csikszentmihalyi. “Active leisure that helps a person grow does not come easily,” he writes in Finding Flow. “Each of the flow-producing activities requires an initial investment of attention before it begins to be enjoyable.”
So it turns out that happiness can be a matter of choice — not just luck. Some people are lucky enough to possess genes that foster happiness. However, certain thought patterns and interpersonal skills definitely help people become an “epicure of experience,” says David Lykken, whose name, in Norwegian, means “the happiness.”
Published January 2007.
SOURCES:David T. Lykken, PhD, author, Happiness: Its Nature andNurture. Russell, B. The Conquest of Happiness. Foster, R. andHicks, G. The 9 Choices of Happy People. Tom G. Stevens, PhD, author,You Can Choose to Be Happy. Jon Haidt, PhD, author, The HappinessHypothesis.
Martin Seligman, PhD, author, Authentic Happiness.Emmons, R. & McCullough, M. (eds.), The psychology of gratitude.Everett Worthington Jr., PhD, author, Five Steps to Forgiveness. Burns,D. Feeling Good. Gilbert, D. Stumbling on Happiness. Myers, D.The Pursuit of Happiness. Csikszentmihalyi, M.
Flow andFinding Flow.
© 2007 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved.
29 Ways To Be Happier That Are Scientifically Proven To Work
There’s thousands of tips out there that we can use to lead a happier life, here Sarah Winfrey from Wise Bread shares 29 ways that are actually scientifically proven ways you can be happier this year:
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to be happier. Do you? This desire seems to be nearly universal. However, the path to happiness often feels convoluted and difficult, where two steps forward seem to become three steps back.
Fortunately, science can inform our pursuit of happiness. Happiness is a popular field of study among researchers, and there are ways to become happier that can suit every budget, lifestyle, and personality. Skeptical? Here are 29 scientifically supported ways to become happier this year.
1. Work With Your Hands
Garden. Build something. Cook dinner. Any sort of manual labor can improve your level of happiness.
2. Practice “Taking in the Good”
Avoid focusing on the negative and actually receive the good that exists in your life. Taking a moment to reflect on positive experiences as they occur builds neural networks that later help us be more resilient, or confident, or happy.
3. Help Others
Lend a hand to someone close to you, even when you’re busy. Seeing a need, even a small one, and meeting it, will make you happier.
4. Stop Caring About What Others Think
You can’t make them happy, and trying to will drain your own happiness.
5. Let Go of Perfection
Let go of perfection, in all areas of your life. You are worthy now. You don’t have to wait until you’ve reached the perfect weight, or the perfect career, or the perfect frugal lifestyle to know that.
6. Become Calm
Grow in mindfulness, and the inner calm that goes with it. This takes discipline, but pays off when the practice becomes second nature.
7. Hold the Small Things
Embrace life’s small pleasures, rather than holding out for big ones. Even the smallest pleasures can raise your happiness significantly.
8. Write It Down
Keep a daily list of the things you’re thankful for. You can even share your list with others. Writing things down makes them real to our brains, so this practice solidifies your happiness.
Drink plenty of water. Hydration improves mood.
Get off , and interact with people in real life. People who spend more time on are not as happy as those who interact off of it.
11. Fake It ’til You Make It
Put a smile on that face. The effects are modest, but a simple smile actually can improve your mood.
12. Embrace the Great Outdoors
Spend more time outside. Fresh air, sunshine, and the great outdoors will do you a world of good.
13. Stop Whining!
Cease with the whining, already! Whining is negative, and negativity leads to unhappiness. Whining doesn’t only make you unhappy, but brings down those around you, too.
14. Hold Your Tongue
Don’t express your anger. Venting anger makes you feel worse, not better.
15. Use Your Time Well
Make time for the things that make you happy. If it makes you happy, it is worth finding the time to do.
16. Get Your Sweat On
Exercise, exercise, exercise! When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals that literally mean you cannot be depressed as long as they are around.
17. Leave Blame Behind
Stop blaming other people for the things that go wrong in your life. Take responsibility and change the things that you can change yourself.
Get the sleep you need. Well-rested people are happier.
19. Talk It Up
Tell people when they do something that you appreciate. Verbalizing your gratefulness not only improves your happiness, but theirs as well.
20. Engage in Aid
Spend two hours a week serving at a homeless shelter or otherwise helping those less fortunate than you. One hundred hours a year seems to be the magic number, at which time helping others in these ways improves your happiness.
Find a community of other people, and invest yourself in it. Actively caring for people will make you happier.
22. Don’t Fear Failure
Learn new things, even if you do them badly. Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.
23. See Yourself Different
Visualize who you want to be. Visualization leads to success, so if you visualize yourself happy, you are more ly to become so.
24. Pay Attention
Stop, look, and listen to the everyday moments of your life. In today’s hustle-bustle culture, we miss happiness if we don’t focus on the present.
25. Find a New Mantra
Repeating a mantra is a way of meditation, and this positive meditation will make you happier and more resilient. Basically, if you repeat positive thoughts over and over, you will be happier.
26. Don’t Eat Alone
Eat your meals with other people. Eating alone brings you down.
27. Get Creative
Express your creativity. Art, music, dance, woodworking, singing, etc., are all great options for a creative outlet.
28. Make Your Choice
Choose happiness. It’s easy to believe that our happiness level is a sort of built in set point, but choosing happiness actually makes us feel happier.
29. Dream About Getting Away
Plan a vacation, even if you can’t take it. Sometimes visualizing yourself having fun, without going through the stress involved in actually making it happen, can make you happier.
Sarah Winfrey was born to frugal parents, so she’s been learning how to save money since before she could walk. See more of her writing at SarahWinfrey.com.
29 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Happier This Year | Wise Bread
How to Be Happy in Life? 25 Simple Ways to Make Your Life Happier
Last Updated on April 22, 2020
Some days you wake up and right when you are going to begin your work, you feel a presence within you that stops you from doing so. You sit down, but you sit down quietly this time.
Suddenly, that feeling where you once were so passionate and energized to take action just isn’t there anymore. You try to hype yourself up but it’s not working, and everything you do seems to be counterintuitive. You face the truth.
You don’t want to work today and you don’t feel motivated to do anything but just escape. Without this motivation, you feel a little hopeless, lost, and stuck.
Sometimes we get stuck in a rut. If you’re not a hundred percent passionate about your work, then it’s impossible to wake up everyday feeling motivated when you wake up. You might compare it to the ocean.
Sometimes you’ll wake up feeling a tsunami, other time you’ll feel just barely drifting to shore. When you feel drifting to the shore, understand that it doesn’t always have to feel there’s no hope.
You can still feel inspired when you feel giving up.
1. Connecting the Dots
“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” –Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs at a Stanford commencement speech said that giving this speech the students was the closest thing he came to graduating college. He’s never finished college.
He recalls that the working class savings that his parents had made their entire life was being spent on his tuition on a college he says was as almost as expensive as Stanford. After 6 months, he couldn’t see the value in it and dropped out.
Not knowing where to go in life, he decided to take a class in calligraphy. He, however, didn’t see any practical application for it in life.
Ten years later, they were designing the first Macintosh computer, and it all came back to him. He used the ideas that he had learned in calligraphy class, including the different types of typography, and put it in the Mac.
It was the first computer to have beautiful typography, which has affected the different types of typography that we use today.
If he had never dropped out in collage, he would have never taken that calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do today.
Sometimes when you’re trying to reach a goal, it’s impossible to connect the dots where you currently are. Somehow you just have to trust in yourself, and have faith that you will reach your dreams, despite not having the slightest clue or perfectly laid out road to where you are going.
Nobody can connect the dots looking forward; you only can connect them when you’re looking backwards.
You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future; you have to trust in something, whether it’s karma or destiny, but trusting yourself is the first step towards feeling inspired and having the motivation to move forward.
2. Allowing Your Environment to Predetermine Your Mood
“There is a direct correlation between an increased sphere of comfort and getting what you want.” –Timothy Ferriss
Tim Ferriss has always advocated the idea of using your environment to your advantage. He believes that controlling your environment is often much more effective than relying on self discipline.
He finds that he writes the best between the hours of midnight and 1 AM to 3 to 4 in the morning. As he is writing, he will put a movie in the background so it will feel he is in a social environment, even though the entire movie is on mute. Next to him may be a glass of tea.
This is what puts him in the mood to do quality writing and make him so successful.
Look around your room right now or your workspace. Does it inspire you? Does it give you motivation? Is it noisy or quiet? Sometimes the hardest thing we do to ourselves is try to force ourselves to work in an area that is subconsciously telling us, “I can’t work here.”
And when you are constantly trying to discipline yourself, you will feel worse and be less productive. Instead try to build your ideal workplace and ideal time. Free it from distractions. Perhaps add a piece of artwork or a quote of your favorite person nearby you on the wall.
Maybe add a beautiful plant in the corner to give you inspiration. If you feel more energy and enthusiasm during the night, schedule your day to work at midnight if you can.
If you can realize the power of having a productive environment, you will naturally feel inspired and motivated to get work done.
3. Don’t Work So Hard
“Research now seems to indicate that one hour of inner action is worth seven hours of out-in-the-world action. Think about that. You’re working too hard.” –Jack Canfield
Jack Canfield was once giving a speech to an audience. He tells of a story of a chiropractor who went into his dream city, near Pebble Beach, and asked chiropractor associate if they could hire them. They told him no because they had 1 chiropractor for every 8 patients.
Instead of letting his external reality which was his control determine his future, he went back to visualize and think about it, and something would come to him.
He put a pen in his new office one day, and put concentric circles that he needed to go ask people in town that he was opening up a new chiropractor office and if they were interested in joining.
Over 6 months he knocked on 12,500 doors, talked to 6,500 people, and gathered over 4000 names to the people who wanted to go to his open house. He opened his chiropractor in a town he was told there was too many chiropractor. In his first month in practice, he netted $72,000. In his first year in practice his gross income was over a million in income.
Now you may look at this and say knocking on 12,500 doors is hard work. To you it is, but to the man it was probably effortless. Jack Canfield says there are 2 types of action – outer and inner.
Outer action is actually going out to do the action – whether it’s networking with people, going door-to-door to make a sale, or just writing at home.
Inner action is other things visualization, meditation, and affirmations.
If you’re trying to force your way into taking action, it could be a sign that you are working too hard.
Most people won’t wake up and waste an hour visualizing, meditating, or affirming, and the first thing they think about is asking what do I need to do today? And when they get the answer, they feel miserable, as if their work suddenly weighs them down.
But Canfield says that if you spend time to focus on your goals, you’ll receive good feelings – feelings that help you feel inspired and motivated to take real action.
Don’t try to paddle upstream. That’s just basically going everyday saying to yourself that you need to force yourself to work every day. Instead, paddle along the stream of the river.
Trust yourself, let your environment work in your favor, and spend some a little bit of time putting yourself in a state before you work.
Inspiration will come to you from different ways – inside and out – and give you the motivation to guide yourself towards reaching your dreams.
How to Be Happy—10 Ways to Be Happy (or at Least Happier)
A few years ago, on a morning any other, I had a sudden realization: I was in danger of wasting my life. As I stared out the rain-spattered window of a New York City bus, I saw that the years were slipping by.
“What do I want from life?” I asked myself. “Well…I want to be happy.” I had many reasons to be happy: My husband was the tall, dark, handsome love of my life; we had two delightful girls; I was a writer, living in my favorite city.
I had friends; I had my health; I didn’t have to color my hair. But too often I sniped at my husband or the drugstore clerk. I felt dejected after even a minor professional setback. I lost my temper easily.
Is that how a happy person would act?
I decided on the spot to begin a systematic study of happiness. (A little intense, I know. But that’s the kind of thing that appeals to me.
) In the end, I spent a year test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and tips from popular culture—happy planner, happy color, happy stuff, and all.
If I followed all the advice for how to feel happy, I wanted to know, would it work?
Well, the year is over, and I can say: It did. I made myself happier. And along the way I learned a lot about how to be happier. Here are those lessons.
1. Don’t start with profundities. When I began my Happiness Project, I realized pretty quickly that, rather than jumping in with lengthy daily meditation or answering deep questions of self-identity, I should start with the basics, going to sleep at a decent hour and not letting myself get too hungry. Science backs this up; these two factors have a big impact on happiness.
2.Dolet the sun go down on anger. I had always scrupulously aired every irritation as soon as possible, to make sure I vented all bad feelings before bedtime.
Studies show, however, that the notion of anger catharsis is poppycock. Expressing anger related to minor, fleeting annoyances just amplifies bad feelings, while not expressing anger often allows it to dissipate.
3. Fake it till you feel it. Feelings follow actions. If I’m feeling low, I deliberately act cheery, and I find myself actually feeling happier. If I’m feeling angry at someone, I do something thoughtful for her and my feelings toward her soften. This strategy is uncannily effective.
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4. Realize that anything worth doing is worth doing badly. Challenge and novelty are key elements of happiness.
The brain is stimulated by surprise, and successfully dealing with an unexpected situation gives a powerful sense of satisfaction.
People who do new things―learn a game, travel to unfamiliar places―are happier than people who stick to familiar activities that they already do well. I often remind myself to “Enjoy the fun of failure” and tackle some daunting goal.
5. Don’t treat the blues with a “treat.” Often the things I choose as “treats” aren’t good for me.
The pleasure lasts a minute, but then feelings of guilt and loss of control and other negative consequences deepen the lousiness of the day.
While it’s easy to think, I’ll feel good after I have a few glasses of wine…a pint of ice cream…a cigarette…a new pair of jeans, it’s worth pausing to ask whether this will truly make things better.
6. Buy some happiness. Our basic psychological needs include feeling loved, secure, and good at what we do. You also want to have a sense of control. Money doesn’t automatically fill these requirements, but it sure can help.
I’ve learned to look for ways to spend money to stay in closer contact with my family and friends; to promote my health; to work more efficiently; to eliminate sources of irritation and marital conflict; to support important causes; and to have enlarging experiences.
For example, when my sister got married, I splurged on a better digital camera. It was expensive, but it gave me a lot of happiness.
7. Don’t insist on the best. There are two types of decision makers. Satisficers (yes, satisficers) make a decision once their criteria are met. When they find the hotel or the pasta sauce that has the qualities they want, they’re satisfied. Maximizers want to make the best possible decision.
Even if they see a bicycle or a backpack that meets their requirements, they can’t make a decision until they’ve examined every option. Satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Maximizers expend more time and energy reaching decisions, and they’re often anxious about their choices.
Sometimes good enough is good enough.
8. Exercise to boost energy. I knew, intellectually, that this worked, but how often have I told myself, “I’m just too tired to go to the gym”? Exercise is one of the most dependable mood-boosters. Even a 10-minute walk can brighten my outlook.
9. Stop nagging. I knew my nagging wasn’t working particularly well, but I figured that if I stopped, my husband would never do a thing around the house. Wrong. If anything, more work got done. Plus, I got a surprisingly big happiness boost from quitting nagging.
I hadn’t realized how shrewish and angry I had felt as a result of speaking that.
I replaced nagging with the following persuasive tools: wordless hints (for example, leaving a new lightbulb on the counter); using just one word (saying “Milk!” instead of talking on and on); not insisting that something be done on my schedule; and, most effective of all, doing a task myself. Why did I get to set the assignments?
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10. Take action. Some people assume happiness is mostly a matter of inborn temperament: You’re born an Eeyore or a Tigger, and that’s that.
Although it’s true that genetics play a big role, about 40 percent of your happiness level is within your control. Taking time to reflect, and making conscious steps to make your life happier, really does work.
So use these tips to start your own Happiness Project. I promise it won’t take you a whole year.