Isn’t that what we all want? We want to be happy, secure, and live a good life. Right?
The exact definition of what happiness means is different for all of us but how it’s attained is pretty universal. I use the word attain because happiness isn’t something that just happens. It’s something you must work towards. Happiness isn’t our default setting, it’s a switch that must be activated and to take that analogy a little further you must continually recharge it, or you run the risk of running out.Happiness isn't something that just happens, it's something that you must work towards.Click To Tweet
Which brings me to my first principle:
#1 Focus on Fulfillment
Know yourself. Know what makes you happy. That sounds very anticlimactic because some of you reading this already know what makes you happy, but I’ve spoken with many people that don’t know the answer to that question. Or they think they know it, chase happiness, and then realize that when they get to their happy place, they aren’t any happier than they were before.
Self-reflection is key. Think about the last time you were really happy. I’m not talking about the joy you had during your last vacation, but real happiness. The kind of happiness that gets you out of bed and makes you want to sing in the shower. The kind of happiness that allows you only to see the silver lining. I’m talking about the kind of happiness that colors your life in bright hues because you feel fulfilled. That’s the kind of happiness I’m talking about.
That kind of happiness is intentional. It doesn’t just happen; you must continually work towards it. You must focus on its fulfillment and take steps towards it. Don’t worry about the journey toward happiness because the journey itself is where true happiness is born.
So, the first step in focusing on the fulfillment of happiness is to know what brings you that happiness. Become aware of it. But, also become aware of the opposite. If you know what makes you happy, then know what makes you unhappy.
That’s step two, take the steps necessary to remove all of the things in your life that make you unhappy. This will the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do because some of the things that are making you unhappy are things that you want to keep in your life.
Step three: replace unhappy things with happy things. There are many opportunities in your day-to-day-life that bring you happiness. Knowing what makes you happy makes this part much easier. Fill the holes left by the removal of the unhappy things with things that make you happy. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but many times these “things” are people. And if they are, steps two and three still apply.
Be grateful. That’s step four. Savor the moments that bring you happiness. Slow down and enjoy the moment. Be thankful for it and make each of those moments last.
#2 Stop the “If This Then That” Charade
Stop settling. Stop patting yourself on the back and telling yourself that things are good enough. Stop accepting the consolation prize and awarding yourself a participation trophy. You’re worth so much more than that. You’re worth your dreams.
Many times we get stuck in the “if this then that” charade and talk ourselves out of achieving our dreams. What does that look like? It looks like this:
- If only my boss realized my value then I’d get paid what I’m worth.
- If I get that car, then I’ll be happy.
- If my spouse would just understand me then I’d be more inclined to work hard.
Stop the charade. Stop telling yourself that if something else happens then you’ll be able to achieve your goals. Be here. Be now. Don’t focus on the things outside of your control. Instead, focus inward and take the steps necessary to complete whatever it is that needs completing. Remove your biggest obstacle from your that. That obstacle? It’s you and your own self-limiting beliefs.
#3 Help Others – Be More So That You Can Do More
There is nothing more satisfying than helping another. By making significance a habit and helping others to find their own happiness you bring a feeling of fulfillment and happiness to your own life that can’t be found any other way.
Make it your goal to be more so that you can do more. Reach out to people in need, I assure you that by helping another person it doesn’t take away from what you have gained, quite the opposite, it adds to it.
The best way to achieve true, lifelong happiness is to find it for yourself and then helping others to find theirs. Be the light the world needs you to be. Show people the way by lighting the path, help them to chase away the darkness by directing your light towards them.
Learn to love the journey. Be intentional with what you want out of life. Don’t allow it to happen to you. Instead, force your life to be what you want it to be.
I think that too many times we allow life to push us forward. If you don’t learn to dig in and redirect it the way you want to go then you will be swept away and who knows where, or even if, you will come up for air.
I’ve said this already but I think it’s important enough to say again, be intentional. Life is what you make out of it, so start creating a life that brings you happiness!